Christmas Eve we went to church for a service and the Lord's Supper. Afterward we ate at the Macaroni Grill and hurried home to get the kids in bed. Christmas morning everyone got up at 6 to open presents (Briggs- a PSP and some Star Wars Legos and Max- a baseball machine and the tiny green "Cars" tractor he has been wanting for months) and to have a french toast breakfast that Briggs had declared was a tradition. After that we drove to Dothan. After Christmas with my parents (Briggs- a bicycle and Max a charger for a Leapster) we went to my grandmother's house where we ate dinner and the boys got even more presents (Briggs- PSP games and Max- a Mickey Mouse Train and a case and games for a Leapster). The funny thing is, Max never actually got a Leapster (well, until the day after Christmas)! Mom accidentally bought the charger instead of the Leapster! He was so funny walking around with all the accessories looking very confused. He was really fine and had fun playing with all of his cousins: riding piggy back with Jessica and Samantha and playing with Hudson and Eli. Granny's house was filled with children laughing and playing for hours. It reminded me of when we were little, playing with our cousins at her house at Christmas.
This year, Mom and Dad got a new, enormous-hang-on-the-wall-TV. Last year, their TV was having problems and the screen blinked on and off every few seconds. Well, this year the TV is great, but because we had to do some rearranging of furniture to accommodate it, the cable could not be accessed and we could only get one over-the-air HD channel. So, for the entire week if we wanted to watch TV, we were at the mercy of whatever came on ABC.
Max also got a sleeping bag and a little tent from Mom and Dad. All the boys loved playing in the tent and even sleeping in it; Briggs and Max slept in it almost every night and Briggs and Hudson slept in it together one night.
All week Rod has been in constant contact with the weather channel to plan a perfect camping trip on the Brown's 140 acres for him and Briggs. They had to keep rescheduling because of the cold temperatures until finally they settled on a warmer night, but with a chance of rain. Yesterday we watched as Rod set up the tent by the pond and chopped firewood to build a fire. Just as we had all made s'mores, it began raining and eventually put out the fire. They decided to brave the weather and camp out anyway. About midnight Rod woke up and realized his feet and head were getting wet. He would have bailed, but Briggs was warm, dry, and snoring (or as Briggs put it, "I was a log"). So he fixed the leaky places and toughed it out until morning when Briggs woke up and was completely confused as to where he was. He woke up with a funny look on his face and asked "where are we...the back yard?" After getting up and looking at the pretty sunrise over the pond, Briggs asked what was a redundant question for him, "Monet could paint this couldn't he Dad?" It was a pretty sight. They walked back to Uncle Scott and Aunt Sue's house about 7 and Rod was grateful to sleep a few extra hours in a soft, warm, dry bed.
At lunch, we met everyone at Huggin' Molly's in Abbeville for our annual family lunch. We all had a great time eating, talking, laughing, and watching the kids run around (we had a private room). After eating too many cheesy fried biscuits, French onion soup, burgers, sweet potato fries, chocolate malts, and caramel cappuccinos, we headed back to prepare for the New Year's festivities. We watched a great firework show and rang in the new year from the other side of consciousness, we were just too tired to stay awake!