While the snowstorm had passed, we did have a white Christmas this year. There was still a lot of snow on the ground when Robert woke up to see what was under the tree on Christmas morning. He did not seem disappointed (as well he shouldn't).
He got lots of Hot Wheels track from Santa Claus, cool art supplies from Grandmartha, drums from Auntie Janek a great book, Paddle-to-the-Sea, from Auntie Laurel and lots of other things. Of course, that meant he also got boxes -- always fun.
|The unwrapping frenzy was not too frenetic this year; we were all pretty well behaved. (I think the best present -- I'm biased, of course -- was the framing job Sarah arranged for my Dad's navy cap.) After changing out of pajamas and packing up the car, we headed to Lake Norman, NC where Susan and Loren cooked up a very nice rental for all the Clarks and Williamses. Robert brought several of his more packable presents, including his Twister game (in our Lake Norman rules, every third spin is a nose spin, but you can let your knees touch when your nose is down on a color).|
|While it was cold, it was not as cold as DC or Boone, and being on a lake, we spent some time in the paddle-boat and kayaks which came with the house. And we brought our canoe to play with as well.|
|Of course, with this bunch, the meals were very tasty; we passed around the role of chef and everyone helped out in the kitchen before and after the meals.|
|There were some cousins Robert (and his parents) hadn't met before: Peter turned 8 while he was there, John was Robert's age and Paul was 3. The 4 younger boys formed a very amiable pack. And the pack liked their popsicles.|
|After the popsicles, there as a commotion in the master bathroom. It turned out to be the pack enjoying the jacuzzi.|
|With the young kids well outnumbered and the older kids helping out, there was plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings. It really was a lovely place; and pretty quiet this time of year. We saw some fishermen, but not too many other folks on the lake.|
|We did another round of present opening -- a little more frenetic this time, with so many more folks involved. Then we had plenty of time to play with the new toys.|
|In the afternoon, the pack was boiled in the hot tub (thank you Maddie for being the life guard).|
|Imagine this group as a baseball diamond; starting at third base and heading to second: Kate, Paula, Oscar, Steve, Chuck, and Paul on Loren's shoulders. Continuing to first base: Helen (with Aaron in front of her), David and Maddie. From third base to home plate: Sally (between Kate and Paula), John, Kathy and Peter in Kathy's lap. Lois is sitting as the pitcher with Sarah W. behind her and Sam on the third base side. On the first base side of Lois the pitcher is Susan with Robert in her lap and Nat. Sarah Z. is between first base and home plate and Mathew is on home.|
|We had a huge bonfire after the older boys, Sam, Oscar and Nat led a firewood gathering party to collect a good pile of downed wood. It turns out, you can get a bonfire hot enough to melt glass -- in case that ever comes up.|
|Just as folks arrived over a couple days, folks left over a couple days and the pack broke up. Robert took advantage of having his grand-mom being available to him to read him a book (one of his Christmas presents). We all enjoyed more relaxing and hanging out.|
Finally it was time to turn the house over to the cleaning crew before the next round of guests arrived. We gathered for a smaller group photo on the dock. From left to right: Steve, Susan, Sally, Loren, Aaron Helen, Chuck, Sarah W., David, Sarah Z. and Robert.
And in the front row: Rabies, so named by Steve after reading his dog tag. Rabies followed Kate and Kathy back from their jog and decided to stay. When Paula called the number on the tag to try to track down his owner she discovered he'd been picked up a couple months earlier by someone who worked at the local animal hospital -- they had two dogs and a 6 month baby already and were looking to find him a permanent home. Maddie's dad said "No!" (they already have 4 animals), Loren said, "What???" but eventually he and Susan buckled to the pressure from Kate and Sally. So Ray Bees headed to Atlanta and his new home -- our own little Christmas Story.