Jesse and the kids have today off from school, the last of their Thanksgiving break. But I had to keep my usual schedule, so when I came home from work this morning, I decided to compromise between sleeping and spending time with them. I went to bed very slightly later than normal and set my alarm for 1:00, instead of 3:30. At 12:30 a sudden clatter outside my bedroom door awoke me, and then I heard this small, mournful Tobin voice say, “Oh! I have too many stuff, and I only have two hands!” For some reason, it swelled my heart so that I eagerly turned off my alarm and almost leaped out of bed with joy to join my family. The kids had been charged with the task of picking up this morning, so that we can get our Christmas things down from the attic. Catching Tobin saying something so earnestly and sweetly funny, when he doesn’t know anyone has overheard, is a rarity, as he is such a ham.

It was really wonderful to have been able to join Dad, Mom, Elsie, Elaina, Liesl, Luke, Isaac, Hannah and my littlest, still-on-the-inside niece for a decent bit of time over the weekend. Hannah looks so prettily pregnant now, and we got to spend time truly talking and getting to know each other, which was so meaningful to us both. Jesse and I also had a nice walk with Dad & Mom, discussing and pondering together. I also had a couple sweet snatches of time talking with just Mom. Catching up briefly with Isaac, Luke, and Liesl about jobs, upcoming Nicaragua plans, and college, etc. was so very nice to get in-person. To witness and experience everyone being themselves – Luke arranging things for a Christmas tree to fit into Mom & Dad’s living room, Liesl and Luke taking E&E to a 3-hour-long play rehearsal, Hannah making clay dollhouse food with and without the kids, Isaac and Liesl playing wildly with the kids, Luke also playing with the kids, Luke and Liesl spending time on college work and applications, Dad and Isaac building a beautiful frame to house the new monitor they bought for displaying the rotating family photos, Mom making paper crafts with N&T and showing them how to feed the rabbits, and of course many, many other things.

I love when the entire family is together, and have come to feel a want of the rest of you all when there are “just” 12 of us. 🙂 But, I also cherish times when there are these smaller family groupings, as it is far easier to be intimate. So, I am very thankful for the time that was had, and look forward to maybe seeing everyone briefly around Christmas, and more definitely and hopefully everyone in August.

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