It is the eve before the new year, and we have not posted for a LONG time... so we thought we'd do a quick recap of some of the adventures we've had so far during our vacation. We arrived safely in Joliet on December 19th, even though our clutch went out in Arkansas! God took good care of us, and He gave Matt wisdom on how to drive the Neon well without having a clutch. He also provided us with green lights and yield signs, instead of stop signs, when we got off of the highway to make Matt's life easier. Having our faith stretched was a great way to start our trip!
We spent one night in Joliet, then went to Elgin to visit the Rugh family. We stayed one night in Elgin, then went back to Joliet for a few days. There was a snow day where Mom-n-Dad-Ackerman and Matt & I made this:
This is a picture Char took. I borrowed it because all of my snowman pictures need to get developed. I used my Canon 35 mm for our snowball fight pictures (where Dan, if you ask him, will say that I have the WORST aim ever) and snowman-building pictures. He has snow cheekbones and a knob nose of snow. He's got a very cute smile, too!
Because of schedules, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve morning... SO on the ACKERMANS' Christmas Eve (the day before the ACTUAL Christmas Eve), we watched The Nativity before we went to bed. Actually... the PARENTS went to bed, and we "kids" stayed up and talked for a little while, planning breakfast for the next day.
In the morning we woke up and began making breakfast for the parent Ackermans. We made scambled eggs with veggies and sausage in it and pancakes.
(The pancakes Chris was making)
(This is why I usually wear make-up.)
Then we went into Mom-n-Dad-Ackerman's bedroom to wake them up for Christmas. Dad-Ackerman was already in the shower, even though Mom-Ackerman told him to wait. (I guess we took to0 long making breakfast!) :)
After breakfast, we went into the kitchen and lit the advent candles. Once they were lit, Matt read the Christmas story from the Bible.
After reading, we shared presents and laughs with each other. One of the biggest surprises was a unicycle for Matt from Anji and Chris! More pic's of that later! Here are some of us that morning. I tried to weed through the pictures for you.
(Matt lighting the advent candles)
(No, Anji's not on fire... she's talking to Matt and the candles are close by.)
(Anji and Mom-Ackerman)
(Dad-Ackerman and Chris smiling with their Rambo Ribbons on their heads.)
(Pretty Christmas House)
(Lights at night)
(Pretty Christmas House)
(Pretty Christmas Tree)
(Dad-Ackerman and Matt)
(Lights at night)
After our Christmas morning, which was really Christmas Eve remember, we had an awesome Christmas Taco lunch.
In the afternoon, Matt and I drove to Elgin because we were going to play at the Christmas Eve service. We played "Still, Still, Still," Matt on guitar, Sarah and Jessica on Clarinet and me on the cello. The service started at 6PM, and at 6 my A string snapped. My brand new A string that I had put on my cello the night before. FORTUNATELY I had my bad one in my purse, so I had to quickly replace it and tune the cello as closely to the right pitch as I could without other instruments to tune to. The song went well, and my cello was surprisingly more in tune than I'd expected.
The Ackerman family came out (minus Anji who had previous plans to be at a different candle light service), and we had dinner with them after the service. We said goodbye to them, and headed over the my sister Sarah's house to visit and play a couple games.
Here are some pictures taken at Sarah and Jeff's house on Christmas Eve.
(Molly and Sarah in front of their pretty tree --- note that I'm wearing Jeff's pajama pants because my pants were SOAKED from the deep snow.)
(Jeff with the notebook that started a very interesting game of... well... I don't know the name of it. It's like Pictionary and telephone mixed together.)
(Matt and Jeff. Do you see the presents on the floor? "Santa" -- Daddy-- came by with two bags filled with awesome things for us. We were sipping eggnog and opening these crazy gifts from them before our game. One thing Santa brought was a draft-blocker for the door. It was a Christmas village that you stick in front of the door, so the cold air doesn't come in. Creative, huh? We also got candy, coloring books, sparkling crayons and more! Matt's favorite was the box of GUMMY lifesavers.)
(They are so cute, huh?)
After having a fun time at their house, we headed over to Jessica and Ben's to sleep. We stayed up while the stockings were getting stuffed with toothbrushes, kazoos and other fun things, talking and laughing with Jessica and Ben until Ben turned in. I was looking forward to seeing how the girls would react Christmas morning, and I had so much fun taking photos of them opening their stockings and presents. Jessica made a big breakfast while the family watched White Christmas. Here are some photos from Christmas morning at my sister Jessica's house.
(Good morning, Audrey!)
(The girls are going through their stockings.)
(Mom's preoccupied... Perfect time to grab at that piece of candy in her bowl!)
(Dad and Audrey)
(Evie bartering for a piece of candy. "I'll trade you this orange for your piece of candy!")
(Evie is so excited to see what her mom opens.)
(I think Evie just opened a gift from Eloise, and Mom is explaining the stamps to Evie.)
(Walkie Talkies from the night before!)
(Dad's turn to open a present.)
(Audrey's fun with ribbon)
(Eloise sporting her new guitar watch)
(... And her new guitar!--- or ukulele)
(Tuning Evie's ukulele)
(This room has experienced some Christmas fun!)
(Matt blowing up balloon rockets that he got in his stocking)
(A final note on an upside-down recorder.)
I know there were a lot of pictures there, but I wanted to share some of the fun that we had, and I probably only chose about 1/4 of the pictures I took. Those girls are fun to watch.
Christmas night we went over to my mom's house for the gift exchange and some great snacks. That'll be our next post, though!
Until then... Happy New Year!