Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

Hey, guys!  Hope everyone had a good Christmas!
Ours was pretty good!  Mostly...

This was, of course, Raylan's first Christmas.  At a little over 8 months, he's a little young to understand what the holiday is all about, but the family sure got excited about having Raylan in attendance.  And you know what Raylan is not too young to appreciate?  Attention!!  He loves it!!
He loves smiles and laughs and play time.
He is also learning to love a variety of toys, and since some of those showed up this holiday season, he was excited about that.

As to the less fun part of our Christmas adventure, Raylan got sick starting Monday night the week of Christmas.  He got a fever, which the doctor determined was from another ear infection.  He got antibiotics, but they took a couple of days to work.  On Christmas Eve we found ourselves hustling across town to make it to the doctor's office (our second trip of the week) before they closed for the Christmas holiday.
We'd had grand plans to attend Christmas Eve church with my family and then host them over at our house for snacks and drinks afterward, but instead we ended up hunkered down at home by ourselves, letting Raylan rest and recover.  My family really helped us out, though.  Thanks to Jamie and Ryan for taking over the Christmas Eve hosting duties at the last minute, and thanks to my dad and Dick (Jamie's dad) for bringing us a couple of plates of food over at our house on Christmas Eve.
Interesting to note that somewhere in there Raylan learned to crawl on all fours instead of just dragging himself around the house.  Sickness or not, he suddenly picked up a lot of speed...

Christmas Day went a little better.  Raylan's fever had dropped, and he was in a much better mood.
We got up and had a nice time eating breakfast and opening some presents at our house before heading over to my folks' place in the afternoon. 

(This is amazing!!  We should do this every day!)

My Mom and Dad did a really nice job of hosting a very nice Christmas Day get together.  They made a dinner with both turkey (for sure) and prime rib (I think), and lots of other food and goodies.
We opened more presents, and we had a good time hanging out and catching up with people.  In attendance were Mom, Dad, Ryan, Jamie, Dick, Susan, Ciara, Uncle Donald, and family friend, Juan Diaz.  Amy and I, grateful to be out of our own house after being a little housebound with a sick kiddo all week, hung out a little while after everyone else had left just to quietly decompress and talk with Mom and Dad (Raylan was asleep by that point).

(Dad, I still live with you and Mom, though, right?)

(official "Raylan's first Christmas" family photo)

(a mysterious, beautiful woman in Christmas socks,
entertaining some baby) 

(whole lotta Christmas)

(Susan shows Raylan how to open your mouth really wide)

(Raylan gets some aunt and uncle time)

(Back Row:  Me and Ryan
Middle Row:  Dad, Mom, Amy with Raylan, Ciara, and Susan
Front Row: Dick and Uncle Donald
Picture taken by Juan Diaz)

On the Saturday after Christmas Mom and Dad were good enough to come down to our house in the afternoon for a little while and watch Raylan.  Amy and I went to the gym, ran to Target to do a few errands, and ate some Thai food.  It was nice to get out and about a bit.  We really appreciated the time off.
On Sunday I went to the grocery store and ran a couple of errands.  In the evening we had Leslie (one of the women who works at Raylan's daycare) come babysit, and we went to see the new Star Wars movie (i.e., Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens).  I really enjoyed the movie.  Amy less so.
Her main complaint, which has validity, was that there were too many plotlines and scenes in the movie that were extremely derivative of episodes 4 through 6 (spoilers-the orphan in a desert, the hunted droid carrying crucial data, the crazy bar scene, the father confronting his son on a catwalk bridge, the threat and vulnerability of a new Death Star, etc. End spoilers).
Personally, although I could see her point, I saw a lot of the things that she saw as repetitive as expanding on themes from those prior movies.  Undoubtedly, though, Abrams cashed in quite a few nostalgia chips to make this film.  In order to have successful follow up movies, he's going to have to find a way to wander into more dangerous territory- more creative and farther afield of the earlier films.
All in all, though, I thought the characters and dialogue were so much better than in episodes 1 through 3 that I could pretty much overlook the repetition of plot points.  The prequels, after all, had a markedly different plot structure than the original movies- and they sucked.
This movie put some joy and some fun back into Star Wars, and I think that's what everyone was desperate for.  I really enjoyed it.

(Amy with the Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader from Aliens
in the lobby of the Slaughter Lane Alamo Drafthouse)
And that was pretty much our Christmas holiday.
Hope everyone had a nice one!
Cheers!  Be safe out there as we approach New Year's!!

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