Of course being a major day for us, our first in Minnesota there are lots of pictures to share… so enjoy a glimpse at our celebrations here in the USA!
NOTE THERE IS A PICTURE ENTRY THAT GOES WITH THIS ONE WITH THE REST OF THE PICTURES!
Has officially come and gone and was, I figure, a success… the kids are well toyed, family has been celebrated with by the end of the week we will be back to the Reinsch-Johnson normal!
Let’s start with the Mandyke side of the family (Ken’s mom) and Christmas Eve… A rather traditional Ukrainian dinner with perogies, potato soup and gunk (no one seems to remember the “real” name for that one) oh and OUR traditional Chocolate Candy Cane cake only made into cupcakes and iced with cream cheese icing instead of cool whip.
Ken’s uncle Paul, aunt Colleen and cousins Melissa and T.J. all came for supper and visiting… and presents for the kids! The twins each got their own ant farm, I am not sure who is more excited… them or Ken!!! Emanuel got a bowling set and Miss Trinity a drawing one with those dry erase crayons. When we first purchased that product over a year ago in Canada I was unimpressed… they were REALLY hard to erase… now over a year later they are much better. Though you do still need to work a little at the erasing.
Echo got a bag full of BALLS! Which of course created the catalyst for a massive ball explosion. There was also a SILLY STRING WAR! Do you know, I have never seen silly string in person before? Just on tv… it is much less… wet than I expected. The guys went all out on that one… but I think Nana won with her sneak attack on T.J.
There was lots of visiting and reminiscing. T.J. is in grade 8 and on the VARSITY wrestling team (I am told this is a big accomplishment), I do believe tentative plans were being made for some of the family to go see some of his competitions. I know our nephew Zachary has just started wrestling so I am sure he would enjoy and probably learn something from going to some of the events.
Trinity and Emanuel went out and spread their reindeer food before dinner. (Remember their making it HERE?)
After saying good bye to family it was time to get in the Christmas pj’s and get those Santa cookies and milk out and ready. Though I am kicking myself, I forgot all about setting up our Advent set (the Little People one)… When we were digging out the table decorations and such Nana found a special plate and mug for Santa so we had a great set up with all the stockings in a row. Of course we had our yearly complaining by Ken about how PLAIN his stocking is. I really need to sit down and find a suitable stocking pattern and get one done up for him as well!
With our Canadian Christmas set up in the basement – gifts mailed in from friends and family, the presents from Ken and myself to the kids and the Santa gifts WE had a hand in and of course the ones to each other we were rather good to go. There were packages from Canada, Texas AND South Carolina under there, quite the full and pretty tree!
While not a special day for the kids… but for Ken, very much so. With the cabbage rolls created the day before it was time to move onto potato soup and “gunk”… another Johnson family tradition. There are so many special things Ken has talked about EVERY year and things we truly could not recreate without the presence of his parents. It has been over a decade since Ken has last gotten to have Christmas with his parents, instead he has spent it with us and my family. Special, but definitely NOT the same.
We have two days of family coming up… Christmas Eve will be spent with Ken’s mom’s brother and his family (they have two kids) here at the house with Christmas Eve dinner – the potato soup, cabbage rolls and gunk… we have not seen them since moving here as Ken’s uncle has been a little under the weather. Then on Christmas Day we have Ken’s brother and his family AND Ken’s dad’s sister and HER family. (Jim, Judy and kids) I think dinner will be ham! YUM!
The kids have expressed a little bit of sadness over missing some of the traditions and people we have left behind but we are so thankful to get to have these chances in Minnesota to really get to know and BE with the family from Ken’s side. We have been so lucky to be able to come here and live with Ken’s parents and take the time to find a real and stable life here in the USA. There is still lots to be done and hurdles to be jumped but we are starting to have a home again and that is a very precious gift.
The day before the day before Christmas has been a quiet one for the kids out of necessity. School stuff is put away, cleaning is being done… and most importantly to the kids — cookies are iced!! Butter icing on sugar cookies with sprinkles and M&M’s… though it was bemoaned that they are NOT the same as Smarties (Canadian, not those candy things).
In the meantime Ken and his mom had some bonding time on the iPads with a “jelly game.” It is looking like AFTER the new year these comfortable moments are going to be less often… at least during the week… for KEN… but I can’t say anything until January has begun so check back on that one!!
We sent most of the kids outside to play a bit in the afternoon but really I don’t think anyone is too motivated to do much more than wait for the Christmas festivities to begin, though the twins and I did vacuum the basement and tidy up toys and excess things that were out and in the way.
We ended the night with POLISH sausage (yum) and then some traditional Christmas movies for the kids (thanks again Sharon) and we are READY for Christmas Eve!