We kicked off the holiday season with A Swinford Family Christmas on the 13th of December at Cindy and Warren's. Cindy spent the morning in the kitchen preparing one of her amazing meals and Alan entertained one and all with his version of OTB Horse Racing utilizing digital recordings of previously run races and the old box of poker chips from the closet. Grandma Nancy did not disappoint the son-in-laws as she cheered on her horses by slapping her hip and punching the air with her fist. Before the evening concluded Claire, Alix, Olivia and Sydni were wearing their new pajamas and Grandma Nancy was learning the Cupid Shuffle. I think that the traditions of the Swinford Family Christmases is that there are no classic traditions. We make up new ways to celebrate every year. Hmmmmm, what will next year's celebration include? We know that certainly all other families must be envious.
On Christmas Eve, the Metzger Family Christmases have however, been the same since Dale and Kristin were in footed pajamas. Each December 24 celebration began with Mike, Alan, Stan and their familes all together in the same pew at St. Charles for mass and was followed by dinner and presents at Grandma and Grandpa's. But this year brought an emotional need for something different for all of us. The dining room was warmed by the fireplace at our house as Mike and Trish and Grandma Evie joined us for a huge traditional meal. Soon following dinner, Nick and Kristin and Grandma and Grandpa Swinford arrived for dessert. With our tummies full, we all settled into the living room to play games. You know those "get your partner to guess a word" games. Our family loves those games. With Mike wishing he had his reading glasses and the Grandma's forgetting the rules from one turn to the next, we laughed about growing up and growing older. At 11:30 we all headed off to mass at St. Charles and sat together again. In a different pew, without all of us there, with tears amidst familiar hymns and lots of hugging. It was a wonderful evening and maybe the beginning of new traditions.
Christmas morning Alan and I woke up early, threw the luggage in the car, placed our Santa hats on our heads and headed to the airport for a trip to Dallas. By 3:00 we were at Dale and Yvette's and Kristin and Nick soon followed. We spent a week TOGETHER with our kids... doing whatever they wanted whenever they wanted which was exactly what we wanted for Christmas.
We got to meet Izzy, Dale and Yvette's golden retriever who I think might be the smartest dog I have ever met. It was so much fun to be greeted by her wagging tail each morning at the bottom of the stairs. She's a great walking companion anytime of any day. We took a trip to the dog park, a restaurant or two, the movie and the JFK museum. We drove around and oohed and aahed at Christmas lights. But mostly, we learned new games and played old games and gathered around wonderful meals together. Dale and Nick sharpened their driving skills until the wee hours of many mornings playing Grand-Prix-something-or-other in front of the tv. The girls swapped ideas about home decor, careers, recipes, and their favorite topic since they met... baby names. It's just a topic...don't get excited! The week ended too soon and we flew back to Illinois with Nick and Kristin on New Year's Day.
We used to tease Dale and Kristin that they should choose their spouses carefully as they were also selecting siblings for one another. We think they took it to heart and chose perfectly! We so enjoy spending time together with all four of them. We're just really glad that they don't mind the old folks hanging around.