Saturday, January 30, 2016


Time at home this Christmas was wonderful.

I was able to be with family - the entire family - for a total of 5 days.

We made the most of it, emailing a schedule of events before my parents' and my arrival.  Which means that even though my parents and I landed late Saturday night, we got together Sunday afternoon for game day snacks to watch the Steelers play.  No time to lose!  Grandma brought a cake so that we could celebrate my birthday all together, as well.  After a year and a half of separation, it was great to be reunited...and pick up right where we left off.

Amy is halfway along in her pregnancy and boys will still be boys.  My brother threw grapes to each other to see who could catch the most in his mouth.  Incredible.  But it's things like these that make me smile and know that I'm home.  Things like playing ping pong in the basement, listening to music turned up too loud, and just eating dinner together warms my heart.

The next night, we got together again for pizza from our favorite restaurant and to watch a Christmas movie!  After much debate, we settled on "It's a Wonderful Life!"  Thanks to the unusually warm weather, my brothers and I went for a hike with Jacob and Amy's dog Annie Wednesday afternoon.  The woods' crisp air, smell of pine trees, fallen leaves, bubbling creek, yellow was all so good for my soul.  The rest of the family met up to go bowling that night and we met back at Jacob and Amy's for hot chocolate and games.  Even though we are all grown and living in different places, it is easy to have late night chats among siblings.  I am so grateful for each of our own experiences and how we can still share life and joke together.

On Christmas Eve, we celebrated Christmas with a huge ham dinner with some of my favorites!  Sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, crescent rolls, cranberry sauce...mmm!  And of course, pie for dessert!  What a treat.  We shared gifts around the Christmas tree and cleaned up for the candlelight service at church.  It was our last night all together for at least a few months.  I cannot describe to you how full my heart was to be with family again.

And on January 8th, my parents and I packed up to board another plane, on our way to Niamey.  Until we met again!

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