a page dedicated to the ghost of Christmas Past...
Saturday the 25th. Today was without a doubt the best Christmas ever. Benjamin ended up in bed with us around 1:30am. Then Jackson came upstairs and hopped in the bed too around 2:00am. That meant we all got to wake up together on Christmas morning to discover all the magical things Santa had done while we were sleeping. Jackson found that the cookies, cake and milk were almost all gone. The Santa towel he left on the hearth had big sooty boot prints on it and only a couple of half eaten carrots were left on the sidewalk. Jackson went to the giant Robin buddy first, one of the surprise gifts, and gave it a big hug. He loved and appreciated each and every gift so much, four is a wonderful age. He is very proud of his blue Gameboy SP and can't believe Santa gave him a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game to go with the Sonic game. We asked him if he was big enough for that present and he said "Well, Santa picks who gets all that stuff, so it's really up to him." I guess that answered that question. We were not sure what Ben would do this Christmas and were happy that he went right to his toys and started playing with them, especially the foam Sesame Street blocks. The only bump in our otherwise perfect morning was that when Jackson put his lollipop back in his stocking (he wanted to leave it exactly the way it was and not empty it until last, he was really in a sweet mood) and it accidentally pulled the big heavy stocking holder off the mantel and smashed his poor cold bare piggy against the hearth. I'm really surprised it didn't break his toe. He cried, and I would have too, but pulled out of it pretty quickly when we told him he could give us his gifts. He was very happy about the gifts mom and dad were getting. And through the wonder of the Internet, Grandma Sue got to watch all of it, from the kids walking into the living room to the last pieces of wrapping paper hitting the ground. We had a live webcam setup for her to view and enjoyed getting to share our fun morning with her. Of course I'm still stoked about getting my new kayak paddle (Thanks Amy!).
The boys just had to pick which presents to take with them and it was off to Colonial Heights and Grandma Sue's house. The trip went by fast due to the light holiday traffic and we made it in under four hours. The rest of the day was spent visiting and playing with all of the nieces and nephews.
Christmas Eve evening was spent at Hama's house celebrating Christmas with the Heath family. The head count was thirty-seven, that's a house full. Thanks to everyone that got Jackson and Benjamin presents, they enjoyed all of them very much. And thanks to Benjamin's second cousin Kelsey for doing such a good job keeping up with him all night. No moss will ever grow under Ben's feet. We made one stop on the way home to tell Mo Merry Christmas and before rushing back to Mount Airy to get ready for Santa. Jackson put out his cookies, a glass of milk, a note, and carrots for the reindeer (Ben fell asleep on the way home). Jackson also laid a towel out over the hearth for Santa to wipe his feet on (he's a pretty neat kid). All that left was the annual reading of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and it was time to get nestled in for a long winter's nap.
We kicked off our Christmas family celebrations on the 23rd with a dinner at our house with the immediate Heath family. My little sister Melanie's family, my parents, and my big sister Deana, with fiancé Martin, all came to the house for a very nice Christmas dinner and present exchange. The boys were very excited about their gifts, especially Jackson. He is having a so much fun with Christmas this year.
Click here to see all the Christmas Card Photos we received this year.
Jackson was happy that Santa brought everything on his list, plus some things he didn't ask for. His big gift was the Mountain Action Command Center. He also got the Leap Frog Globe he wanted, along with Major Powers, Superman, Wonder Woman, a viewfinder, and the surprise hit - a tube of sharks and whales. Benjamin enjoyed his first Christmas too, especially his Santa balloon. Once the wrapping paper stopped flying, the boys, still in their PJs, went on a two hundred and fifty mile trip over the hills and through the woods to Grandma Sue's house in Colonial Heights, Virginia. The Mills family then got together for another nice supper and more present swapping. The Bat Cave from Grandma was a huge hit with Jackson.
Christmas Eve at Hama's house. Jackson took a few of Hama's pickles home with him to leave out for Santa again this year. When Jackson tells Santa that he is going to leave him pickles, Santa tells him the same thing every year, he appreciates the variety.
We exchanged gifts with the Heaths and Beasleys in Claudville on the 20th.
Christmas started this year in Mount Airy and ended at Grandma Sue's house in Colonial Heights. The Aquatic Rescue Command Center was the big gift, but Jackson got everything he asked Santa for, including a little plunger, Mr. Potato Head, Wendy Waters, Arial Flyer, and Jake Justice on a motorcycle. The afternoon was spent with family at Grandma's house.
Jackson awoke on Christmas Morning at Grandma Sue's house in Colonial Heights and found himself a little overwhelmed by all the presents. After opening only a few, he said he wanted to go home. So we let him open presents when he felt like it, which meant that he was still opening presents that night. I can't remember everything Jackson got from Santa, but some of the things are a Thomas Track, a Harley-Davidson, table and chairs, Little People Discovery City, a Bear In The Big Blue House movie. Papa and Mo gave Jackson his four wheeler.
Jackson spent his first Christmas morning at Grandma Sue's in Colonial Heights. He loved everything about it.
Santa brought Jackson a fire engine, Let's Pretend Elmo, a Jack-In-The-Box, a Hokie Bird, Stacking Trucks, Peter Puppy, books, boxer shorts, a stacker, Mickey Mouse, and a bathtub duckie.
This was the first Christmas that I didn't get to celebrate with all of my grandparents. Papa James was greatly missed, he was so much fun at Christmas and really enjoyed the family getting together on Christmas Eve. And while something was missing from the holidays in '99, we also had a lot to look forward to because Amy was pregnant with Jackson. We drove to Colonial Heights on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas morning with Grandma Sue and then celebrated with the Mills family later in the day.
Our first Christmas as a married couple and the first on Bluff Street. We had to leave early for Colonial Heights on Christmas Eve because of an ice storm and missed getting together with the Heath family at Hama's house. Papa James was in the Stuart hospital, so we took him a small Christmas tree with lights for his room on our way. The ice storm was terrible and I'm surprised we made it. The drive on 460 across Virginia was terrible and when we got there the power was off all over town. Grandma Sue joined us in invading Amy's brother Alan's house that night. Getting to see our nephew Jimmy find his present's Christmas morning was a lot of fun. He was so happy that he kissed each toy. We have fond memories from the Christmas of '98 because they are the only ones that include cooking on a gas grill in the snow and going to sleep listening to the rumble of a gas generator.
Amy and I spent Christmas Eve apart, but Christmas Day together. It was our only Christmas as fiancé/fiancée. I spent Christmas Eve in Claudville with the Heath family and then Christmas morning with Mom, Dad, and my sisters. After exchanging presents we had lunch with Nannie, Papa Welbert, Dianna and Ronald. I then drove to Colonial Heights to spend the rest of the day with Amy. Amy spent Christmas morning with her mom. They then both made the rounds visiting all the nieces and nephews.
In 1990 I was twenty-one, working fulltime, living at home, and in between semesters at Patrick Henry Community College. Mom and Dad were still Mom and Dad, not Mo and Papa. And the highlight of the day was giving gifts to Papa Welbert and Nannie. The family got together at our house in '90 to exchange gifts.
In 1987 I was as an eighteen year old freshman at Virginia Tech home for the holidays. In the 80's we rotated spending Christmas day at either our house, Nannie's house, or my Aunt Dianna's house in Pilot Mountain. In '87 we were at our house in Claudville. Besides the family, we often had friends over for lunch. Deana's friend Sharon Smith joined us that year and I think Melanie had a boyfriend with her. My friend Stanley Clement was also at the house that Christmas. The day started with our family opening Santa's presents, then everyone got ready for a big lunch, followed by the exchanging of presents. Sometimes things stretched into dinner, but by the late eighties the kids usually took off to meet friends
Christmas number three for me, I was two and a half.
My second Christmas, I was eighteen months old.