Ringing in 2016 with more Christmas! :)

We rang in 2016 with friends in Memphis. And I took exactly zero photos. But it was still a great night! Our final hours of 2015 included a fun dinner with Rachel & her family as well as a party at a friends’ house. We managed to stay up into the wee hours of the night (1am for this old soul) to properly ring in the new year. And next thing we knew, 2016 had arrived and we were off on the road again to visit Christopher’s parents!

oh christmas tree

We swap off the holidays every year so since we had Thanksgiving with Christopher’s parents this year, that meant Christmas with mine. (And next year will be Thanksgiving with my fam & Christmas with his). But since Christmas is a big deal to both of our families we always try to make a point to see both families around Christmas even if it’s not on actual Christmas day. Since the week before Christmas we were busy cruisin’, we decided to use New Year’s weekend as our time with Christopher’s parents. Which is really just a wordy, over-explaining way of saying, “we celebrated Christmas with Christopher’s parents this weekend!” Ha!

opening gifts

So of course there were presents to be opened! My mother-in-law gives some of the best reactions. It’s such fun to see her get excited over gifts. 🙂

making art collage

My father-in-law’s dementia continues to progress, so we did some research and came up with some fun ideas of things we can do together as a family. Since Tony (my father-in-law) still loves crafty things, we brought clay (check out Christopher’s “clay man” up there!), a spirograph (which honestly Christopher & I probably had more fun with than anyone, ha!), and paints. The paints were Tony’s favorite and we loved watching him have fun. Really the whole time was wonderful. Sometimes it can be difficult for my father-in-law to communicate, but during this time he really lit up and chatted with us more than he has in a long time. Like I always say when I share about him, we are thankful for the good moments. 🙂

playing basketball

Speaking of good moments… one afternoon while we were there Tony and Christopher shot hoops together. For those who don’t know, my husband loves basketball. And that love started when he was still a kid because his dad taught him the sport and played it with him. So these little moments are especially precious to us now.

starry nights color corrected

One evening over the weekend, we went to see the lights at a local park. My favorites were definitely the stars suspended in the trees. It reminded me of the “Looking through your eyes” song from Quest for Camelot. Anyone, anyone? I haven’t seen the movie in at least 15 years and yet I still remember all the lyrics to the songs because I played the soundtrack on repeat as a young teen. But I’m veering off topic here…

the fam

We had a lovely Christmas together! As always, I am continually amazed by my mother-in-law’s strength and kindness. And I am grateful for the good moments with my father-in-law. 🙂

Did you stay up to ring in 2016? 

How do you work out seeing family during the holidays? 

Did you ever have a Spirograph? Christopher and I couldn’t stop playing with it, ha!

If you’ve had experience with someone suffering from dementia, I’d love to hear any ideas you have for things we can do together as a family. 

Love Rach

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18 responses to “Ringing in 2016 with more Christmas! :)

  1. Happy New Year, Rach!!!! Reading this post made me soooo happy and teary all at the same time! The picture of Christopher and his dad shooting hoops really got me! ❤ I'm so glad that you guys got to spend some special time with them and that you all work so hard to get through to Tony! I'm sure it means the WORLD to him.

    My Mom's old spirograph has provided us with MUCH entertainment over the years. I think SHE enjoys it more than anyone else!

    • It really was so special for them to be able to shoot hoops together again. 🙂

      And girl, those spirographs are so fun! We didn’t have one growing up, but my grandparents did and I LOVED playing with it when I visited them. Definitely brought back lots of good memories. 🙂

  2. I barely made it till Midnight! It sounds like you have your FIL some really amazing gifts!

  3. It is so sweet to see pictures of you guys doing crafts with your father-in-law! It looks like it was a really nice weekend. I only realized later that we didn’t take any pictures at dinner! Oh well… Jake wasn’t in a very photographic mood anyways, haha. 😉

  4. That looks like such a special time. I love the picture of Christopher and his dad shooting hoops… so sweet! We usually do Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine. But like you, we usually see them both sometime around each holiday. Happy New Year!

  5. It sounds like you guys are so sweet to your father in law! Those memories will be so special. We do the holidays in a similar fashion! Just switch off every year with thanksgiving and Christmas. My husband’s family lives in a different state however and so we can’t see both families for each holiday unfortunatley.

    • I understand that! Both of our families live in different states than we do, but at least his family is only 2 hours away. And mine travels through our city all the time. So it makes it easier to see our parents around the holidays. And it definitely makes sense to do the switch off with Thanksgiving and Christmas! We’ve really liked how it has worked out for us over the years. 🙂

  6. Memories to treasure! Crafting is such a good idea. I’m glad his father enjoyed it. And that is so special that they got to shoot some hoops.

  7. I just love when people are so happy and react dramatically (in a good, fun way!!) to gifts! It makes the whole experience 10x more fun and exciting! I’m so glad you were able to spend time with your in-laws and connect more with Christopher’s dad–such a good idea to craft with him! (Jimmy was just telling me how badly he wants to use a Spirograph again, haha!) Those good moments will be things you’ll remember forever. Also, I like your idea of swapping spending time with your family/his family for different holidays. Jimmy and I are struggling with deciding which holidays to spend with which family members, etc., so this is a good idea for us to think about!!

    P.S. Your in-laws’ dog is SO cute!

    • It is really hard to decide who to spend holidays with, but you and Jimmy will do a great job deciding!

      And girl, yes! I love big reactions to gifts! My mother-in-law is great at it! And my nieces and nephews are too which I love. My mom and sisters really get emotional over sentimental gifts which I really love. And then there’s my dad… stoic. Always stoic, ha!

      Oh my goodness, you guys totally need a spirograph! We had way too much fun with that thing! We didn’t have one growing up, but my grandparents did and it was one of my favorite things to do when we would visit them. 🙂

  8. I honestly got teary-eyed at the picture of Christopher shooting hoops with his dad, because I know how much that meant to him. Dementia is such a tragic, difficult thing. I love that you all focus so much on the precious moments together and that you were able to do some crafts to make new memories even now.
    Nate and I are blessed in that our families live local. But at the same time, it still makes for VERY busy holidays. 😉 On Thanksgiving, we do lunch at my parent’s and then supper at Nate’s parents (which made for one exhausted little Brady). Then on Christmas, we do Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family, Christmas morning with my immediate family, and Christmas Day afternoon with Nate’s family. There is also usually a Christmas party or two thrown in as well.
    Busy, busy, busy!! But a lovely busy at the same time. 🙂
    Still, Nate and I do throw around the possibility of swapping holidays sometimes, especially with Brady being so little.

    • Wow, that does sound like it makes for a lot of go-go-go at the holidays! But I do love that you guys get to see both families on both holidays! That’s awesome! Several of our friends here in Memphis have a similar situation to you guys (both families living in the area) and they have talked about the pros and cons of having so much family around. I’d love to have more family closer by, but I’m grateful that we’re able to travel to see family since we don’t live close to them. And while some of our family lives across the planet, a lot of them live within an 8 hour drive. Which is really helpful when it comes to visiting. 🙂

      I know you understand so much of the bittersweet that comes from loving someone who suffers from dementia. Thanks for being such a support to me, friend! 🙂

  9. this made my heart smile but was bittersweet. i’m glad y’all had a good day with him. i know those moments are treasured so.

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