As a school teacher’s family, we always look forward to Christmas break and the time we have together as a family. This year, Andy and I have remarked several times that we didn’t know all Christmas break would hold before it began. I’m sharing this all as an honest glimpse behind the scenes of life in our house this Christmas!
Our December started with us hosting the St. Paul’s faculty party of which we had a great time with Andy’s fellow teachers and their spouses. It was nice to have our house clean and decorated by the 14th too so we could maintain it through Christmas! (Sometimes it really is good to have the motivation of company to get to all the chores you don’t do as often as you should. Please tell me I’m not alone in this!)
The night before the faculty party, we took our first trip to the ER when Lily dislocated our elbow while playing with her siblings. Thankfully, it was an easy fix and we were quickly home with a happy and healthy little girl again. (The doctor showed me how to fix nursemaid’s elbow if it ever happens again but I pray I don’t ever have to use that knowledge!)
We had decided months ago that we would not drive to Texas to see my family this Christmas since we just saw them all at Thanksgiving in St. Louis. We stayed home in Indiana for all the various Whirrett Christmas celebrations.
We celebrated with Andy’s mom’s family and Andy’s dad’s family. Plus, we were able to spend Christmas Eve with 2 of Andy’s 3 siblings at his parents house. We spent the day together, opening presents and simply enjoying the day.
The highlight of Christmas Eve? Nathan sang in the children’s service at St. Paul’s Lutheran for the first time. All the school children (K-8) participate in this beautiful hymn service. Nathan was SO excited to sing from the balcony and told me several times, “This is going to be the best Christmas ever!” I pray he always maintains that love of celebrating Jesus’ birth!
On Christmas morning, the children slept until almost 7 before we opened presents together. We enjoy having that time together as a family to open presents and play before Christmas morning church. We came home from church, looking forward to spending the day at our house with Andy’s brother and his wife, and Andy’s dad (since his mom was working at the hospital).
We had just walked in the door from church when Andy got a phone call that his friend and fellow coach of 15 years had suddenly died, just minutes before on Christmas morning. This obviously changed our Christmas and the rest of our break. Andy spent several hours on Christmas contacting parents of all their junior high basketball players so the boys could hear the news from him before they heard (or saw) it anyplace else. We were able to enjoy several hours of board games with Chris in Jessica later in the day, and are thankful they were there to help distract us and play with the kids on this emotional Christmas.
We already had two weddings on our calendar for Christmas break (two of Andy’s fellow teachers) but now we added a visitation and a funeral. Since Andy was so close to Jerry and his family, he spent a lot of time over there and helping with communication as only he could. Jerry’s goals for his basketball teams have always been “God first. Family next. School third. Basketball fourth.” Pastor shared this well, in his hope-filled funeral message, reminding us of the resurrection hope we have as Christmas Christians. The church was full of basketball players and families, and truly a testimony to Jerry’s impact on so many young men. Andy will forever miss coaching with his dear friend, and this has changed the remainder of this season as well seasons to come.
As if that weren’t enough, I managed to sprain my ankle on the way into Jerry’s funeral, so ended up missing the New Year’s Eve wedding as I spent a rough 24 hours, unable to get around much of all. I had never sprained my ankle before, but spraining your ankle when you are pregnant with already relaxed ligaments? Not fun at all. Thankfully, it healed quickly within a couple days and again, I am so thankful it wasn’t worse!
We claimed January 1st and 2nd as family days, as our Christmas break continued to hurry by. I had free tickets for all of us plus free popcorn and drinks (thanks to Coke Rewards and a Juicy Juice sweepstakes) for us to enjoy seeing Frozen 2 together. The kids were so excited – even Lily who loves Elsa!
We also had to take my van into the shop but did some after Christmas clearance shopping and scored some great deals at 90% off! I do love Christmas shopping when the bargains are so great! I had used up all my Christmas paper so it was finally time to buy some new paper this year, after years of not buying any. We also stocked up on tins at Hobby Lobby, fun little surprises and gifts for the kids at Target and more wrapping paper at Walmart.
The kids managed to sleep in for several days of Christmas break and it was amazing to sleep past 7 (a couple mornings) with all 3 kids! We stayed in pajamas and played Legos and started organizing some of the new toys.
Even though the break wasn’t quite as relaxing as we expected, it still turned out to be a good break. It was a memorable Christmas for sure, but we give thanks for the hope we have as Christians – because of the manager and empty tomb.
How was YOUR Christmas break?