Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I hope you all had a terrific Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We have been extremely busy around here, but having a great holiday season nonetheless.

Christmas Eve we went to the service at our church. It was beautiful and Ella even sat through it all. That was very impressive for a 1 year old! I think the music is what kept her quiet…as you all know, she loves her mui. After the service our friends and neighbors, the Dunaway’s, came over for dinner. No, I didn’t make a turkey with all the trimmings, we had chicken. Right before bed we did the traditional Alexander gift opening. Everyone gets to open one gift and every year it’s the same thing…a new pair of pajamas. This way you always have something new to sleep in on Christmas Eve. Joe got new pajama bottoms, I got a new sleep shirt (that I picked out myself so of course I love it) and Ella got flannel Dora the Explorer pajamas. She held them up to her face and said “soft.”

Christmas morning was a lot of fun. Ella doesn’t really grasp the concept of Santa yet, all she knew was that she came downstairs and saw Elmo! What more could a little girl ask for? In fact, her Christmas was full of Elmo. Santa left an Elmo couch and two Elmo videos in her stocking. Mom and dad gave her an Elmo doll and an Elmo cell phone. Joe’s favorite gift was probably his new 2-way radios for hunting that Ella gave him. My favorite gift is the new digital camera that Joe gave me! Our old camera was on its last leg and was using batteries like they were nothing. I was so excited!

Just after we opened gifts, we started packing up to head out to Colorado. We left Christmas afternoon and arrived Christmas evening. We got to Denver that night and met up with Joe’s sisters Jenny, Maureen, Katie and Tricia, and his brother Billy and all of their families. We had so much fun at the hotel and during dinner. The next morning we all woke up bright and early (mainly because we were all on east coast time) and headed out for Grand Lake, CO which is a beautiful mountain community. There we met up with Sue and her husband, Brian, Janet (the mom of the bunch) and soon Joe’s sister Ellen and her family joined us.

The Murray’s are such a great family, but when we all get together things are a bit chaotic, to say the least. With Janet, 8 kids, 7 spouses and 10 grandkids, that makes for a whopping 26 people. That’s a lot of people in one house (we slept in 2 houses but got together for most dinners). I think Ella was pretty overwhelmed at first, but she soon adjusted and even started saying some people’s names. She especially liked Grammy and would call for her constantly.

The week was so much fun. Joe got to go ice fishing, skiing, ride a snowmobile and play football in the snow (which of course caked ice on his jeans because he wouldn’t wear snow pants…something about not being able to move enough for football…it’s all about the sports). I went to the Grand Lake Holiday Melodrama, and we all went on a horse drawn sleigh ride (which Ella fell asleep during). Ella wasn’t really sure what to think of the snow. She did learn the word “cold” while we were there. And she HATED her snow suit and coat. She would cry and wiggle every time we put it on her. The only thing she didn’t seem to mind, and actually enjoyed, was her hat.

I can’t mention a Murray get-together without mentioning the food. Janet is an incredible cook, and she didn’t disappoint this week. The only problem is that Ella learned how good chocolate chip cookies are and she stopped eating her cheerios in lieu of Grammy’s pumpkin bread. Ella would look at me with those blue eyes and say, “cookie.” As a mom and fellow cookie lover, how can I deny her the joy of the chocolate chip cookie…especially Grammy’s chocolate chip cookies? So I would get her a small piece, but no, Ella wanted a whole cookie…and she always finished it. The only thing that made me feel better was that Ella’s cousin, Edie, ate a little container of cream cheese for breakfast one morning. At least my kid isn’t alone.

We got home on New Years Day and I’ve been running around frantically cleaning and doing laundry ever since. I think I almost have things under control. Joe has been back on the campaign trail walking through neighborhoods and meeting people. I have uploaded a few more pictures in the December folder, and added our Colorado pictures in the Christmas folder. I was still learning how to use my new camera, but I can already tell that the pictures are much higher quality.

I would like to add just a little note asking you all for prayer for some people I know, and some people I don’t. Due to the rough economy, the ADA had to lay off over 60 people. Luckily I still have my job, but my heart goes out to all the people who are out there looking for a new job.

Murray Christmas and Happy New Year!

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