After our Christmas Part 1 in Northern KY, Drew, Theo and I headed further down the state to Owensboro, arriving at his parent’s house around dinner time. The last time we’d seen their new dog Smokey was at Drew’s grandparent’s lake house, and I was quite surprised to see he hadn’t grown at all. Now that we have Theo and he’s getting bigger and bigger every day, I apparently think all dogs will continue to get bigger. But nope, Smokey is going to stay fun-sized!
On Thursday we met Jim for lunch at Old Hickory BBQ, an institution in Owensboro. Now I can say I’ve gone to both of the famous BBQ joints! After lunch Drew, April and I headed over to the local museum for the holiday tree exhibit. That night we met Mike (Drew’s best man in the wedding) and his wife Donna for dinner at Cheddar’s and had a lot of fun catching up with them. The week before, while we were in Fort Mitchell, Drew got a call from Mike that he and Donna were expecting a baby. Congrats, you two, you are going to make wonderful parents!
Friday Drew and I spent the afternoon making several batches of cookies. That night we also cooked dinner for the four of us, as well as a family friend from church. It was great finally meeting Phyllis since we’d heard a lot about her and she wasn’t able to attend the wedding. After dinner, Drew and I headed to the Atwell’s house, our homemade cookies in hand. A childhood friend of Drew’s, Josh Yeckering, was their son and had passed away during the summer. I’d heard so much about Josh since he went on several family vacations with the Hawkins, and was like a second son to April and Jim. I imagine every day without their son around is immeasurably difficult, and I’m sure the holidays aren’t much better. I can tell they take pride in knowing that Josh is smiling down on us all from heaven.
Saturday we drove to Louisville for a Christmas lunch and get-together with the rest of the family. It was great to see Bethany and Andrew, another newlywed couple in the family, who were married just a month after us. We could all tell is was going to be a day of fun chaos though, as there were 5 dogs in tow, the majority of them merely puppies. After a great lunch prepared by Nanny and Grandaddy, we headed into the den to exchange presents. It reminded me a lot of the way we do things at Aunt Dawn’s house, shooting wrapper paper into a giant trash bag and “oohing” and “aahing” over what everyone received. There was a huge dessert table set up in the front room that I made several trips to throughout the rest of the day. Venita, Bethany and Tiffany had spent an entire day in the kichen baking everything from oreo truffles (my new favorite!) to buckeyes. I was so excited to see my infamous Reese’s-stuffed cookies had made their way onto the spread as well-all three of them had just raved about them. Toward the end of the afternoon we all gathered on the couches, chairs (and even the floor) and settled in with stuffed bellies to watch Bryan’s latest film project. It was the first time I’d seen any of his work and I can say without a doubt that he’s going to be making films out in L.A. before we know it!
I attended a late night Christmas Eve church service for the first time that night; Mom, Dad and I usually attended the earlier one since we’d all be fast asleep by midnight. It was exciting leaving the church as the bells chimed to welcome Christmas Day. Even though we didn’t get much sleep, we awoke that morning pretty early and began opening some of the gifts. After attending the morning church service, we headed back to the house for a delicious breakfast of April’s egg and sausage casserole, and the German apple streudel Dad had gotten for us. We’d been having those for Christmas breakfast for as long as I can remember so it was great to be able to share one of our special holiday traditions with Drew’s family.
I was so excited to watch Drew open his Christmas presents from me. I’d ordered him a Kindle Fire right after Thanksgiving and every time I heard him talk about how he loved playing with his coworker’s, I had to fight to keep from spilling the beans. Drew was very thoughtful with the gifts he gave me: an hour massage (something I always talk about wanting but would never go out and buy for myself), the Hunger Games trilogy, and a J. Crew necklace that he’d actually seen on one of my Pinterest boards. Christmas Day and our visit to Owensboro wrapped up with a delicious dinner of grilled pork chops, cheesy mashed potatoes, vegetables and coconut pie. It was the perfect ending to another blessed, magical Christmas. Like the time we had in Fort Mitchell with my parents, our stay in Owensboro was great. April and Jim, thank you for everything you did for us, from the lunches out to all the gifts; we are so fortunate to be able to celebrate the way we do. Also, we can’t wait to hear how the Magic Bullet works out!