Sunday, December 24, 2023

Family Festivities - Week of Dec. 18th

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” ~Clarence, It’s a Wonderful Life 

For the first time in Cameron's 16 years, we would welcome both grandmothers for the Christmas holiday!
Grandma Sue and cousin Jalayna arrived Monday evening from Arizona.  We were so excited to have them with us for an extended timeframe.  The first activity began Wednesday for the cousins.  Layna accompanied Cameron and his dad to the power soccer practice.  Afterwards, they all enjoyed a pizza party with the entire group.

On Thursday, Jane helped prepare her son and niece for cookie decorating, complete with three frosting colors, sparkles and sprinkles.  The kitchen looked very festive upon completion and the taste-testers declared their Christmas cookies most delicious!

That evening, Grandma Sue, Jane, Cam and Layna headed to the Christmas Lite Show set up in the ballpark parking lot. 
William (Bill) Schrader is a hero- an American hero after his service to the country, and a hero to the thousands of children who come to experience his bright vision of Christmas each year. After completing a successful military career, returning to West Michigan as a wounded war veteran, he began lighting the way to creating a West Michigan Christmas Tradition. Bill and his family spent the days leading up to Christmas each year driving through West Michigan 
neighborhoods that were elaborately decked in lights. These memories were so cherished by both Bill and his wife, as well as their 3 children. 
One night, sitting around a campfire, Bill shared these memories with family friends who held the same passion for Christmas and family fun. The next day, Bill went to the LMCU Ballpark office and asked to lease the parking lot so that he could bring this fun attraction to West Michigan. 
In the last 25 years, the Christmas Lite Show team of mostly Veterans has grown from 5 to over 30. It has also grown from generators, gas cans, and mile-long extension cords to transformers, power boxes, and 100% LEDs, and from 1 semi trailer full of lights to 8! Today, the Christmas Lite Show is a family business, known as the largest light show display in West Michigan. Bill’s team of family and friends work hard year-round to bring new and exciting displays and experiences every year during the 40-night season. The Christmas Lite Show has become a Christmas tradition for over 50,000 visitors each year. The spirit of Christmas, to Bill and the team, is about spreading joy and good fortune to our community. They carry out this spirit by supporting and donating to local organizations like the Grand Rapids Veterans Home. 

Friday was filled with togetherness, games and general silliness.  It was Cam's last half day of school before beginning his official winter break.  Layna and Chris ran down the driveway to meet Cameron and then they all proceeded to race up to the house.
Cam and his cousin, Layna, love choosing different activities that everyone can take part in.  Guesstures became a favorite game.

On Saturday, Jane made her way to Grand Haven to pick up Oma and Opa.  The mild weather made for an easy trip.  Our flank steak dinner that evening was a hit.  It was hard to believe that Christmas Eve was already here on Sunday.  
We made our way to the church service at 4pm at Thornapple Covenant.  We sat with our dear friends, the Raisch fam.
Silent Night and Go Tell It on the Mountain were the last two hymns.  LED lights were passed out to everyone to bring light from the church into your home.  It was a powerful message.
Upon arrival back at the house, we prepared our meal of seven fishes.  We welcomed cousins Max and Coco and the kiddos shortly after.  They brought perch from Old Channel Inn and the largest container of tartar sauce we had ever seen!  It was such a special evening with all of the cousins playing together, grandparents watching over everyone and feasting on all of the different types of fish.  Before Chris and Jane headed to bed, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care and we all settled in for a good night's rest!  

Camology Quotes:
Cam likes to provide his point of view. After discussing a family matter, Cam indicated a way to deal with something and stated, 
"It may give her a different perspective."

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