Well, Christmas was wonderful. As I mentioned, Tiff, Little Jonny and I drove up to Eugene, Oregon to spend the holiday with her family. While her brother Steven is still out on his mission in Indiana, her other five brothers were there as was her grandma. Her oldest brother Michael was there with his wife Rosy and his three little girls, and her brother David was there with his wife Jenny (who is expecting in June). All in all it was a rather crowded, happy, relaxing, and exhausting experience.
We did all sorts of fun stuff like carolling and “pixying” (where you take a gift to someone’s house, knock, and try to get out of there before they can see who left it). Tiff’s brothers are all very musically talented (particularly at singing and piano playing), and so the family was asked to sing a choir piece at church on Christmas. We did “Away in a Manger” with a solo part by my five-year old niece Naomi and by Tiff’s 23 year old brother James. I learned how to play Pinochle, managed to play lots of pool, as well as Apples to Apples and Pit. I was introduced to a really cool card game called Fluxx (imagine Calvinball in card form), which is now on my party-games-to-get list right after Munchkin.
One of the nicest surprises was that I got to talk on the phone briefly with my little sister who is also out on a mission (in the hillbilly part of North Carolina). Missionaries only get to call home on Christmas and Mother’s Day, and it’s usually just to their parent’s home, but Julia got permission to call me too since I wasn’t with my family this Christmas. We were out seeing her off on her mission when Tiff’s water broke and little Jonny was born, so I’m looking forward to introducing Jonny to her when she gets home this summer.
I particularly enjoyed spending time with Michael’s family, because his wife is half Filipina (from Cagayan de Oro, down in Mindinao in case you’re curious), and I don’t get too many chances to speak Tagalog to anyone these days. Michael works for the State Department working in embassies around the world. They just got back from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and will be heading to Cuba of all places later on this fall (after getting some training and then some vacation time). That’ll be kinda weird I can imagine, but they’ll probably be just fine.
We also caught a showing of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. I was actually quite impressed with the movie. If you aren’t some knee-jerk militant agnostic, you’ll probably enjoy it quite a bit. The acting was surprisingly good, the cast well picked, the music captivating, they followed the book remarkably well (only two or three major digressions and all of them were within the spirit of the book’s intent–none of the Jurassic Parkish deciding to have major characters who died in the book not die in the movie and visa versa crap), the battle scenes were quite intense for a PG movie, and all in all I think they did a wondeful job. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Chronicles of Narnia, and I was glad that the director seemed to do Lewis’s work as much (or more) justice as the Lord of the Rings movies. This is one I’d definitely recommend to just about anyone.
In addition to the fun I also managed to take a pretty nice little spill the night before we came home. I was walking with Tiff carrying Jonny back to the house we were staying at the night before we headed back to Santa Clara, when I tripped over a flower pot that I didn’t see because Jonny was blocking my view (and because I am a certified klutz). I kept Jonny from getting hurt in the fall, and was probably pretty lucky that all I got was a slightly skinned knee and a lovely bruise on one shin. Just glad that Murphy wasn’t in a particularly malicious mood that night.
The drive home was pretty uneventful. Oregon is beautiful this time of year. Too bad there’s nowhere good to build rockets…Little Jonny decided to do a little decorating of the car about halfway home, but that’s just part of life. We pulled in last night around 11:30pm, and I was back to work this morning.
Anyhow, this is a rather long and rambly post, but I figured I ought to say something. We forgot our camera or I’d be dazzling you with pictures of our cute little squirt and his cousins. Maybe I’ll remember next time.