It is days like this you can’t help but wonder if climate change is a good thing. I’m sitting on our back porch, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, at 10:39 AM on December 27 and feeling completely comfortable. It feels like a May morning. Hell, it wasn’t that much warmer than this around sunrise in Hawaii. We will obviously pay for this at some point. Tomorrow we are supposed to have heavy rain all day and a slow decline until a low in the teens Monday morning. But this is a hell of a way to close out 2021 and we’re going to do our best to enjoy it.

We had a standard, big, crazy Christmas with most of S’s family. Eight of the nine kids are in town and 14 of the 16 grandkids.

Christmas Eve everyone who was in town gathered at the sister-in-law’s who lives in our old neighborhood for dinner and family time.

Christmas morning we realized this might be the first, but second at most, time that our girls have ever opened gifts without us having guests. There were no grandparents, aunts, or uncles staying with us Christmas Eve, so we had a quiet present time to ourselves.

S has loosened up from her Three Gifts for Christmas rule and the girls all got four gifts! They long ago wisened up to this process and only ask for 4–5 things, so they pretty much get what they ask for and know what’s coming. Highlights were all three girls getting new ski pants. M and L got new Nikes. C got some kind of magic hair dryer/hair straightener and a kit to make her own faux-acrylic nails.

Most of the local family joined us for our traditional Christmas brunch. I spent a couple hours on Friday knocking together my usual casseroles and we picked up the must-have Honey Baked ham earlier in the week. A few hours after brunch we busted out the dessert bar and most folks cleared out around 5:00.

S was off to the airport a couple hours later to pick up her sister and family who flew in from Denver. Those four are staying with us through Wednesday.

Their son turned 12 yesterday, so we took most of the family to a bounce place. It was pretty funny seeing our group of kids that range from 17 to almost-two all bouncing together. L enjoyed trying to dunk on the various basketball hoops. M and C did some cool obstacle course that was 15 feet above the ground and required them to be harnessed-up and connected to a safety line.

After everyone was back to our house for pizza, dessert, and some games.

Today M and her five-year-old cousin from Boston are getting their ears pierced together. These are M’s second piercings – one of her other gifts – but little L’s first and she is super excited.

I guess it’s been the standard, pretty good Christmas. Folks are getting along. Kids are behaved. For the first time in three years I’m not having some weird health issue over the holidays (knock on wood). The weather, which has hit 60 multiple times in the past week, is just a huge bonus.