A tradition can begin when we least expect it. The best traditions can be the ones that change and grow right along with us.
The week started off with a Christmas gift from the Raisch fam😀 Monday night, Cam and his mom were treated to movie tickets and popcorn for Frozen 2. We were seated with the girls and Patti and we all agreed it was a good show!
Tuesday was Christmas Eve and we made last minute preparations for our family. Oma and Opa arrived around lunchtime with a car full of delicious cookies and presents. Next up for arrival, cousin David Jellema, in Michigan for Christmas for the first time ever!
Everyone settled in quickly and we were off to church for the early 4p service. Cam loves hearing the live band and traditional carols. David is a professional musician so it was a treat for him as well. After an hour of fellowship, we all headed to the Raisch home for our traditional Christmas Eve meal of delicious homemade chicken noodle soup and bread. Holiday cookies and the scrumptious caramel corn from Mr. Steve rounded out our dessert. We played a new game called "Fishbowl" which essentially combines three games together- catch phrase, taboo and charades. The crew assembled around the dinner table couldn't help but laugh and smile when we all attempted to have our teams guess the word or phrase written down.
With our bellies full, we headed back home where David treated us to a mini concert on his recorder. To Cam's utter delight, David can play music by ear and once a song is requested as long as he knows the tune, the melodic sounds begin.
The next morning, Cam slept a little later than usual and insisted that everyone have breakfast together. As we waited for Oma and Opa and David, we prepared a tasty meal. After Cam's grandparents headed up the stairs, we soon heard a trumpet playing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" from the stairwell. What an amazing start to Christmas morning. Jane was a bit too sleepy to realize she should have been recording...
After breakfast and a bit of present opening, we bid David farewell as he headed off to see more family.
Each year, we all seem to have a favorite gifts to give and ones we receive. Cam only requested one gift- a hug boat like he has at school for sitting in and stretching. But Chris and Jane knew he needed a new iPad for his daily homework. Because it was a total surprise, it was so satisfying to see Cam open it and realize what it was. As a family, we also have tickets to go see our local Grand Rapids Griffins ice hockey team in February. Oma and Opa always find us all perfect gifts and a s'mores checkers game will be a new family favorite.
Later that day, Cam's parents enjoyed a rare nap while their son was occupied by his grandparents.
Thursday was our day to prepare for the next holiday event- the extended family Christmas party.
On Friday afternoon, we welcomed more than 40 family members including Aunts, Uncles and many cousins. We feasted on a potluck supper and endless Christmas cookies.
Santa makes a special scheduled appearance and the younger family members are all squealing when he arrives. Cam is actually one of the loudest in the bunch super excited to see Mr. Claus. This family tradition has been in existence for more than 50 years!
We were also able to spend some quality time with one of our youngest family members, James. James and Cam are first cousins and James' mom, Steffanie is Jane's niece. This little guy seemed enthralled listening to David play and giggled at the clic reader glasses his Great Aunt Jane was wearing.👓
As we said our goodbyes and thanks to Oma and Opa on Saturday, we realized once again, how much they do and assist with during the active holiday time. As Oma told us, it was busy but relaxing and nothing was rushed. This is always our goal.
We were blessed by so many this Christmas season. We also know what a blessing it is to be able to give and receive, not just physical gifts, but the present of each other's company.
He sees many of his cousin only a handful of times each year.
Jane asked him who he was most excited to see at the big family party.
"Did one of my cousins ask you that question?"
Jane indicated that no one had asked specifically, she was just asking.
"Oh, ok. Then I am very excited to see James!"