The morning of Christmas Eve, Jane and Cam had a field trip planned. Heidi's Farmstand, our favorite fresh vegetable, fruit and baked goods store was only open one more day before closing until May of 2019, their typical cycle due to harvesting. We've been frequenting the Farmstand for 9 years and Ms. Pat has been working there even longer. We had to wait for Cam to be out of school, since she only works in the mornings, to plan our visit. Ms. Pat has saved our Christmas cards year after year and always tells Cam he is an inspiration! She even treated our 11-year-old to a freshly baked donut of his choice. What a great way to start the day.
Oma and Opa arrived in the afternoon and we all made our way to Thornapple Covenant Church for the traditional Christmas Eve service at 4pm. The familiar carols brought to life by live instruments and all of us singing was Cam's favorite. We enjoyed our annual Raisch family homemade chicken noodle soup and bread for dinner afterwards.
After sharing fruit and Christmas cookies, we settled into the living room to chat. These four sisters have been a part of our lives since before Cam was born. Even though two are now in college, seeing them all together feels extra special.
The next morning, Christmas Day, we relaxed and eased into the revealing of stockings and unwrapping presents. A few notable surprises for Cam from Oma and Opa- a heated mattress pad for our son's bed and over-sized wooden dominoes. Family gifts included an air fryer, sound bar for the tv, a cordless vacuum, Cricut crafting machine, cordless glue gun and portable printer.
Well before Christmas, Auntie Karen saw a commercial for the new adaptive controller from Microsoft for the Xbox One and told us she wanted to give it to Cam. The gift is priceless because it allows our son to be independent, make choices and have control over the buttons!
Oma, Jane and Cam headed out to see the ballpark lights the next evening. As you drive through, the displays are beautifully arranged. Cam's favorite was the manger scene and there were too many arrangements set up to count them all. The entire drive only takes about 15 minutes but the sparkling assortment was well worth the price of admission.
Three days after the holiday, we welcomed aunts, uncles and cousins into our home for the annual Jellema Family Holiday Party. Typically, we engage in sledding fun and some outdoor activities. However, the green grass can still be seen in our yard, so an indoor snowball fight downstairs (with fluffy fake orbs) had to suffice.
After sharing a buffet meal and conveniently, while all of the younger cousins were downstairs, jingle bells were heard and Santa Claus arrived at our home with a bag filled with two presents each per kid. Watching the wide-eyed children squeal with excitement is a tradition that's been going on in this extended family for almost 40 years.
Oma and Opa helped us all week, keeping things tidy, making store runs, and most importantly, hanging out with Cam.
The gifts given and received between us range from the most useful to creative and just plain fun.
We are thankful for them all and most thankful for the people who give of themselves every day in our lives by their constant support, heartfelt kindness and true thoughtfulness.
Brody, Cam's best buddy from school, requested a playdate with Cam on Sunday afternoon. Due to the difficulty of having Cam's powerchair enter other's homes, this was a rare request. To say Cam was excited was a bit of an understatement!
"Mom, this is the first time a school friend has asked just me to come over. It is so special!"