Alan got home on Dec. 15th after having served an honorable, 2 year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the Pocatello, Idaho mission. We are very proud of him and his accomplishment. He has definitely grown up, while still maintaining his "uniqueness". It was mainly just family at the airport, along with Alycia Fike, due to an unexpected change in arrival times. The kids and Vanessa made signs and they were adorable. Surprisingly all of the kids seem to just love him on the spot, especially Phebe. It was surprising given their ages, I only expected Victor and maybe Naomi to actually have a memory of him, the others were too young. Alan had only seen Phebe once, the day she was born, at the hospital on the way to the airport. He is still the zombie obsessed, gamer, Swedish fish loving, pyromaniac we all love.
Christmas was a busy time with all the family. Christmas Eve was celebrated at the in-laws, after a wonderful dinner, and a funny attempt to have the kids act out the Christmas story. Joseph(Mark) pushed one of the shepherds out of the stable, Lyssa had a meltdown and wanted nothing to do with it, Seth wandered around, and Ari stood on the stool as the angel arms spread with a wonderful look at me thing going on. Kira was the only normal one. After the opening of stockings and some excellent gifts( a new scentsy burner, gift cards for Home depot, baby cakes maker,ammo,etc), Ethan and Anthony surprised us with fireworks in the backyard.
Sara and gang are still living with us, so we did Christmas morning with them. I made up a sausage egg casserole the night before so all we had to do was pop it in the oven. Ethan surprised me immensely this year with getting us all fishing poles and camping gear. He went all out with a new tent, dishes, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, etc. We had been talking about doing a fishing trip up to Erie for Father's Day and doing the Palmyra pageant in July and doing camping for all of it. But we have no camping gear whatsoever. I am really psyched to use it this summer. He also promised a getaway weekend just for the two of us. I not sure when that will happen with the baby due in May. We are hoping for a dry weekend in April and will probably just go to Moraine. Ethan had gotten his present back on Black Friday, with a gun store having a sale. The kids got miscellaneous toys and such from us. Overall, I thought Christmas went off without a hitch and am very pleased with the results.
We got ready for church and went. That was a bit of a disaster for the kids. It was only 1 hour Sacrament, but Lyssa started it off by scratching a scab on her face which wouldn't stop bleeding, so Ethan took her out, and Mark wouldn't and I mean wouldn't stop talking. Had I had duct tape, it would have been used.
After saying goodbyes to people we headed over to my Mom's house and proceeded with my family's Christmas. First we made up Chinese food, Nessa did Shrimp fried rice, I did Sweet and Sour Chicken, and I don't know who did the egg drop soup, but it was delicious and I hope this becomes a tradition for us. Mom and Aunt Shiela had been sewing up a storm for all the grand kids. All the boys got new sleeping bags, which have hippos on them, I will post pictures later, something that she had made for us kids when we were younger. I don't remember what happened to mine, I probably wore it out. Victor's was a dark blue with a red hippo, Caleb's was Green with a light blue? hippo, and Mark's was red with black and blue hippo with insect prints. They were adorable and a hit with the boys. The girls got quillows, a blanket that folds into a pillow. Lyssa hasn't quite figured out how to fold the blanket back up, but she still loves hers. Ethan got a framed picture of The Signs of the Times of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is his favorite picture of Christ and we have been on the hunt for one for our home. It is the same picture as the mural in the Washington D.C. Temple after you have walked through the Annex. I received another storage bin and a promise for a maternity clothes shopping trip from Mom. Nessa and Ethan gave us a cast iron frying pan, something I had been wanting.
Christmas still was going, after we left Mom's as we headed back to the Fike's for dinner with Gma and Gpa Fike. We hadn't gone to their house the previous night so they brought gifts down with them. Lyssa got a new doll, the boys got Steeler apparel, which they have worn today for the game, and I received a more cooking gear, stuff that I could use for camping. We had a great time visiting everyone and celebrating, but by this time the kids had had it, and were being extremely cranky, so we went home and went to bed.
Other news for this week was an ultrasound of the baby. I love getting ultrasounds, it just cool being able to see the baby. It is a boy this time! I was very surprised by that announcement. This pregnancy mimicked Lyssa's not Mark's, and I had always thought I would end up with one boy, two girls. Do not think that I am disappointed, I am actually very excited. I don't think I could handle two girls being as girly as Lyssa is. However, the main reason I chose to find out the sex of the baby was because it was a boy, I need to go shopping for the boy stuff. I had given most of the younger stuff away to Aubby for Seth, and gave most of the older stuff away just last August, while cleaning out the attic. I also purposely got some very specific pictures so Ethan could guess the result when I got home. Every one's reaction has been funny to watch when they realize it is a boy. The only person who really guessed it was a boy, was Alan. He did an "I told you so" dance in response. Baby boy is doing well and everything looks pretty good. Now we just need to come up with a name. We had a girl's name picked out, Emily, but agreeing upon Mark's name last time was pulling teeth for us. Who knows what will happen this time. I really don't like going through baby name books because they have way too many names to go through. Baby Boy is due May 19.