Monday, December 28, 2009

It's a Wrap!

The sun is shining outside, but the chill in the air is like a 2x4 to the head reminding us all it's winter. As December draws to a close, I'm thinking ahead, as many are, to the year 2010.

Christmas was a mixed bag for the Falk family this year. As excited as we were to begin celebrating the holidays (the anticipation beginning on November 1, since Halloween was over), the stomach flu germs invaded our home, requiring that we juggle our plans for celebration. With four of the five family members having had the flu over with by the evening of December 23, we felt certain that better things were coming with the holidays. And we were right. And although I did get a bit ill yesterday, little could dampen our enjoyment of the holidays as they finally arrived.

Christmas Eve was a quiet affair for the family with the kids retiring for the evening by 7:30 (their choice) to allow Santa ample time to make his visit. Nestled in their beds, dreaming of wondrous things, Santa did indeed arrive, bringing many things the kids looked forward to for some time. For Jarod, there was an ipod he had been wanting. Natalie found a large fire station with truck, furniture and fire fighters under the tree, much to her delight. And Maria found American Girl Kit Kittredge, with her dog, Grace, waiting patiently for her under the tree. And for the entire Falk family, it was a Wii Christmas. Each child received a Wii game, Mom opened the Wii Fit Plus, and Dad opened the Wii Sports Resort with the appropriate accessories. Santa was very, very kind to bless our family with so many goodies!

Christmas Day we spent traveling to Fort Atkinson to meet with the rest of the Falk and Sanders families. We enjoyed some treats, but mostly the chance for quiet conversation with family we rarely get the chance to see. Natalie decided to make her own snow in the basement, and so she took the ash bucket from next to the fireplace and proceeded to spread them out over the entire basement. Aside from the 30 minutes it took to clean that up, the visit was a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

On the 26th, it was a Super Duper Mueller Family Christmas Day--two parties at once! Chris was working in Sheboygan that day, but caught up with us at mom and dad's. We began in Chilton at the community center with the extended Mueller family Christmas. Of course we sang our dinner blessing songs (to the tune of Edel Weiss) and Happy Birthday to Jesus, as is Mueller family tradition. After a wonderful meal (complete with Grandma's poppy seed birthday cake for Jesus), we spent time visitng with family. I headed home with enough time to give the kids some quiet time at home before the next hurrah. Around 5 p.m., we left for Mom and Dad's house and caught up again with our family. No Mueller family Christmas is complete without pizza, of which there was plenty, and we also enjoyed grasshoppers. After a flurry of gift opening, hugs and swoons of delight, kids retired to the basement for videos while the adults played a family card game favorite, golf.

Sunday dawned cold and bright, and left Chris with a problem. A sore knee from the day before began swelling immensely, forcing him to call in sick (especially since he couldn't stand in the shower). Jarod and Maria had spent the night at grandma and Papa's house, so Natalie and I took Chris to urgent care where we were told he has a massive cyst in his knee. He will need an ultrasound this week to confirm this, and then eventually a visit to an orthopoedic surgeon for treatment. A brace and meds are helping in the meantime.

We joined the family out at mom and dad's again, playing games and relaxing until early afternoon when Mom and Dad treated the entire family to movies at the cinema. Many of us watched Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakuel, while the rest caught The Blind Side. Jarod and Maria had seen a movie in the theater once before, but for Natalie, this was a first. She was a very good girl and seemed only mildly disappointed when Theodore didn't reply to her as she cried out, waving frantically, "Hi Theodore! Hi! It's me, Natalie!" Popcorn certainly made her smile, too!

Although my upset stomach canceled our plans for a final Christmas party with dear friends from work, the holiday season showcased how much love and joy the season can bring. Thanks to all of our family and friends who shared in this beautiful season--you are, by far, the greatest gifts our family has known.

God bless you all in the coming year!

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