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Christmas Times

So I am not going to attempt to keep this blog chronological at this point.  I’m just posting old photos in whatever order I want…so here is Christmas 2009.  We went to Illinois this year.  In the name of marital fairness, Mike and I alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.  I made out this year with Christmas, so we packed up the Exploradora with the pups, the crate, our luggage, and gifts for the four hour trip.  My mom’s house is home base.  This was the first year in my thirty years of life that my mom’s parents did not host Christmas Eve.  Instead, we went to church and then back to my mom’s for appetizers.  We bailed early and went out to my dad’s parents’ home for our second Christmas Eve party.  Christmas day was back at my mom’s for my step-dad’s family and then after they all left, we had Christmas with my brother and sister.  Finally, on Sunday, we had Christmas with my dad.  It’s a whirlwind of hugs, kisses, wrapping paper, running kids, and cookie devouring.  The joys of a very blended family:) 

We left our little decorated home for Illinois.  Here’s a picture of Where’s Waldo Neko

No gifts under our little tree:(

Mom and David bought Neko and Dora matching reindeer flashing headbands.  Clearly they were thrilled.

Lily Bean on Christmas Day at my mom’s. She and Alyssa got matching PJs.

This picture cracks me up.  Lily has drawn all over herself in a happy frenzy and Alyssa is miserable because Lily is drawing on her table!

A big part of the clan out for Mexican. My Uncle Mike was in a serious car accident in October.  This is his first time eating out since the accident.  It was certainly a time for celebration:) I’ll also point out that all the Mikes are present.  From left to right back row: Alyssa, me, Mike W., Kristy, shorty-butt Angela, David, mom, Tristen, Ronnie, Lily, Mike C., Mike S. Front row: Paige, Mike W., Cindy, and Tori.

Family Reunion in the deep woods of Arkansas

This past August, Mike and I made the six hour trek to Wayland Springs, Arkansas.  This has been the site for my mom’s family reunion since I was four.  The reunion is held every other year, and this was the first one I had attended since 2003.  I had never gone with Mike and I flooded him with my memories of the camp from years past as he drove.  I also tried to convince him that he had to go snipe hunting.  He wasn’t buying it.  My mom has three brothers and one sister.  Two brothers didn’t make it, but most of my cousins did.  This reunion is actually my grandmother’s reunion, the Robins Reunion.  So we get to see her brothers and sisters and all of her cousins as well.  It’s a pretty big event.  The best part is that we stay in these stone cabins.  The stone is unique to Arkansas, or at least I think it is.  The houses, churches, gas stations, restaurants, etc. are all built with the stone and so are the cabins.  We all sleep on cots.  My mom always goes down early and cleans out all the cabins for our side of the family and sets off the bug bombs.  Bugs in Arkansas are scarier than bugs in Missouri.  

The camp is called Wayland Springs because at the bottom of the hill from the cabins, there is a natural spring.  It’s beautiful down there and weddings are sometimes held in the clearing by the spring with wooden pews and all.  One of my grandma’s cousins brought a photo album with pictures from the first reunion forward.  I poured over the books remembering.  I have very fond memories of the camp and I’m thrilled that I was able to capture pictures of my nieces and nephews enjoying their first Robins Reunion.

Walking down to the springs

Lily’s daddy is a Cardinals fan…

This is the clearing by the spring.  I really wish the lighting would have been better, but the sun was just a little too far behind the trees to really show off the beauty of this place.  

This is the biggest walking stick I have ever seen.  It was hanging out above the door to the women’s shower room.  The colors are amazing. I told you the bugs are scary! 

Alyssa getting ready to go swimming! 

This is Shaun. He’s my cousin’s son and had a birthday while we were there.  He also sounds like a little man.  His voice is deeper than that of most grown men.  

I love this picture. I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because of my hipster cousin, Tyler, who wears jeans that I can’t fit my ankle through, or maybe it’s my aunt Cindy’s small smile, or the fact that all three of them are sitting on a swing together.  In fact, we’re all sitting on swings in a big circle under a pavilion.  It’s the perfect family gathering.  

These pictures are pretty much straight off my camera.  I don’t have photoshop, or any photo editing program.  Maybe if I get better at this whole picture taking thing, I can convince Mike that it’s a good investment:)