Thursday, January 12, 2012

Although this post is overall pretty happy, I have a sad thing to report.  The historic bottling plant in Dublin, Texas will no longer be producing "Dublin" Dr. Pepper (made with real cane sugar)--or any Dr Pepper at all.  It is a part of John's life that will now be in the past, as he and his friends used to enjoy finding old bottles and getting them filled with Dr. Pepper's original formula.

So here's a brief photo tribute to the Dublin Bottling Plant:
Cases of empty bottles, waiting to be filled.

At the Dublin Bottling Co., you can get either a Frosty Pepper or DP served hot, which was surprisingly good!

Rob joined us on our last trip to the plant.  It was bittersweet, but mostly sweet.

On to Christmas!  Here's Amadeus enjoying his Christmas present:  a real dog bed!

We celebrated Christmas Day in MO this year, and all the family descended on Mom and Dad's house for appx. a week.  Here's a picture of how calm things look at the beginning of the holiday.  Don't Jerilyn and Jackson look cool, collected, relaxed?  
Don't worry, by the end of the week, children will be abandoned in hallways, dogs will be masquerading as pillows, and exhaustion will have struck us all.  Bring it on!

To start out the festivities Steph arranged a ginger-house decorating party.  It brought out cheesy smiles and creativity, neither one of which lurk far below the surface in our family.    Here are the houses, like little canvases waiting to be filled.

The troops at work.

The camaraderie level is high.

The attention to detail. . .meticulous.

The discipline. . .uh. . .lacking.

But the finished result was electrifying!

After such hard work, some R and R was necessary.  New Apple Shuffles were (almost) standard issue.

After decorating houses, time for the gift exchange!  Some of us were so excited, we had to bust out our disco moves.

But some of us decided to play it a little tougher.  After all, you  must look intimidating when modeling your school's hoodie.

The day after Christmas, we were excited to celebrate with Ginny and Gary as they tied the knot, aided by an assortment of beautiful junior bridesmaids and flower girls.
And congratulations, other happy couple, for looking so stylish and coordinated!
Congratulations, happy couple!  (That beautiful cake was made by Steph.)
After the wedding, back up to the villa for some cousin time.  The rest of our CA family came in, but as you can see, their youngest member declined to have her photograph taken.

Jackson enjoyed perching on high places.
And Natalie enjoyed intellectual conversation with, well, whoever it was that she was talking to.

On Thursday, many of us trekked up to our local Amish settlement to get some homespun groceries.
Katie had a great time looking through all the goodies, some of them very, very tempting.

After the grocery store, we toured a wood shop that also had some charming little cabins outside to play grown-up in.  Ty does such a good job playing grown-up.  
And Adirondack chairs to climb on.

But as might be expected, things started to get a little frenetic toward the end of the week.
It's not that children were misplaced, exactly.  More like observed from a distance.
Bedding ran short.  Dogs jumped in to help. 
But as always, peace descended in the form of sleep.  Granted, for Ryan and Joy's children, this is an under-appreciated commodity.

I had an epiphany that week.  Our family has been having hard times, but as day after day of family togetherness passed, it settled into my soul that we are so, so blessed.