Spent Christmas w/ the family and it was good. We got in late Christmas Eve, so getting up for 7:30 mass the next morning was tough, but it was worth it. I joined Mom (organist), K and her family (3 of them playing brass for prelude carols, one son singing bass) to provide the music and it was great. Best of all was closing with Joy to the World. Mom always - always - modulates to a higher key for the last verse, which I absolutely love because it adds to the joyfulness of the music. I'd been looking forward to it, and was already happy to be singing with family. K's voice & mine blend well together anyway ("that genetic thing", as another sister quipped), and her son, well, same genetic compatibility, which added to it. By the time we got to Joy to the World and that long-awaited final verse, I was singing away with tears running down my face - glorious!
The rest of Christmas Day was a bit crazed, partly because I still had to wrap all the presents we'd mailed ahead to avoid the baggage fee for the extra suitcase they'd've needed. H and her family arrived for the weekend that day, and the boys were SO full of energy after being cooped up in the car. And of course there was all the cooking and last-minute prep that needed doing for dinner for 26, since there's only so much you can do ahead. But it was fun, everyone was healthy, my nieces' nightgowns were big hits (though the younger one's was so big it dragged on the floor), and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Friday was only slightly less quiet, partly because we were having dinner at Mom & Dad's again, this time including J's in-laws, who got into town that day. Dinner was mostly leftovers, which was just fine - I happen to love left-over turkey and the carbs that usually accompany it.
I also managed to squeeze in a visit with a friend I've known since grade school, the Chief & I treated ourselves to a coupla goodies at Williams-Sonoma, and we even got a little quiet time with my aunt & uncle (who were putting us up in their guest room) despite spending a LOT of time at Mom & Dad's cooking & cleaning up afterwards. Our last day, though, as I was helping Mom assemble dinner, she commented that she'd miss her "kitchen buddy" when we left. I gotta admit, it was fun sharing a kitchen with her.
The only down side was the "plague" - my oldest niece was the first one to come down with a virulent stomach virus that also attacked both her brothers and one of my brothers-in-law, and which hit the Chief the night before we were supposed to come home. Fortunately, it didn't hit him very hard - he was able to get a halfway decent night's sleep, and it abated enough that he was able to get through the flight home without incident. (Thank God it was a non-stop!) He then went to bed almost as soon as we got home - slept nearly 6 hours over the course of the afternoon and evening.
He also came home with a cold, which I'm now getting. Bleah! I've already sent our regrets to the hosts of the New Year's Eve parties we had planned to attend, and it looks like our weekend at the cabin will be spent blowing noses, coughing, and dining on chicken soup. Good thing we have plenty of nice, cozy throws out there, as well as a decent stash of firewood