I can't remember the last time my family opened our Christmas presents on Christmas. Between new husbands, new babies, new jobs and new cities, flexibility has become as much of a tradition as anything else.
There's something sweet about delaying the gifts - it makes Christmas a little slower, more easily focusing on family and love and Jesus. So this year, that was our plan: Christmas on the 28.
However, as well-layed a plan as the Bibers like to make, execution was just beyond our reach.
Duke, Sam, Ash&fam and I were to arrive in Indiana before Christmas - and this part happened. We arrived in shifts the week prior, went to church on Christmas Eve, and had an amazing Christmas day with our extended family. It was so, so great spending time with them. I wish we all lived in the same place!
Sam, Joe, Duke and Nick
We tricked Sam into thinking a donation was made in his name to the National Cat Society in lieu of gifts. :)
Now, after Christmas was when things went slightly awry.
We started the wake up shift at 3:30 a.m. on the 26 to make our way to the airport, all nine of us in tow (McAllister style), where we'd hop on a flight to Houston, via Dallas. We then planned to spend the night with Court&co on Wednesday. We were going to leave the kiddos at home with a babysitter and go to dinner in Houston just the grown ups. Reservations and all!
On the 27, we planned to drive to the beach with Court and her kids, our niner now growing to a full brood of 13. Our dreams were dancing not with sugar plums, but instead long walks on the beach, sand bocce and salty hair. Finally on Friday, Ryan would join us at the beach, and we'd open all of our presents Saturday morning.
That was the plan.
However, when we woke up Wednesday, we learned our flight had been delayed an hour and a big storm was on its way. We weren't too worried, because we were still supposed to get out before the storm. We'd probably miss our connection in Dallas, so we booked an extra set of rental cars there, in case we needed to drive to Houston. We boarded by 7:30 a.m., the crew de-iced the plane, and we even moved on the runway a little bit.
Sadly though, just a few minutes before I thought we were really getting out - phones powered down, cabin lights dimmed and seat belts fastened - the pilot came on apologizing. He couldn't take off in these conditions, and all of the flights out of Indy were cancelled. They could get us out Friday or Saturday, but not Wednesday or Thursday.
Our spirits were slightly dampened.
However, we didn't have much time to stay dampened. There was work to be done.
Many a hours on the phone with the airlines later, as well as four cancelled rental cars, a cancelled hotel, a cancelled beach house, and nine refunded plane tickets, we replanned the week entirely and found ourselves here, today, in Indiana, with Court, Lily, Finn and Crosby en route to see us. I wish dearly that Ryan could come, too, but he has to work through the weekend.
Since we'd shipped all of our gifts to Houston so we wouldn't have to travel with them, Court is literally Courty Claus, with a stroller and six rolling suitcases in lieu of a sled.
I am so very excited to see them (major understatement!), and feel so fortunate they were able to get flights to Indy. I cannot wait to give them the biggest hugs ever when they get here. There might even be some tears.
And - although I'm much more of a beach girl than anything else - we've had a lot of fun in Indy. After a long day yesterday, we had some wine, a good dinner and family game night. Today, we played in the snow with Griff, which he loved, and might even bust out our sleds tonight.
When it's all said and done, if I'm going to have a change of plans, there's certainly no one else I'd rather do it with.
I hope you all had a great Christmas!