Several of our navy friends tell me how much they enjoy their own traditions, staying home and watching their kids toddle down their own stairs to find their gifts under the tree. Out of necessity, we’ve tried that a couple of times. For a second, it was nice. Then we start to wonder where the chaos is. It’s not as much fun if there aren’t cousins to show and share your gifts with. For us, traveling at Christmas has become our tradition. I hope my girls remember this when they are older and have kids of their own!

This year, we almost waited until after Christmas morning to make the trek. I’m so glad we didn’t. We asked the girls what they wanted to do. Our traditional KY/IL Christmas day it was. I wonder if we will ever get to a point where they will want to be here with their friends but I really think they will always prefer this crazy chaos.

We get up at Grandma’s and rush downstairs to see what Santa left. Arleigh got her Nano, Hanan got her DS and Bria got her Jesus bobble head. That’s right, I said it. Mr. Robert has a Jesus Bobble head in his office. I mentioned to Santa that Bria was obsessed with it. She even learned to say “Jesus” pretty early because of it. Santa thought it was so cute, he got her one of her very own. She loves Jesus!

Santa gifts went by pretty quickly this year since the girls asked for things that nearly broke Santa’s bank. They didn’t get much. Then we opened gifts from us. They got their traditional books that make for easy packing and some new clothes that will work for their cheerleading practices. Then we rush to get ready and pack up the van to get to IL. The bags were packed the night before so it wasn’t so bad.

Next on the agenda is big old country breakfast. We have country ham, red eye gravy, country gravy, biscuits, eggs, bacon, fruit salad, you name it, Grandma fixes it for what seems like about 50 people but I honestly have never stopped to count. I cracked up when I saw what Grandpa decided to use to mix the eggs. Grandma cooked up about 12 dozen. It was yummy. Then we open gifts with the Kendalls. The girls got their American girl dolls and all was right with the world. Which reminds me, thanks Aunt Carolyn. The wardrobe for those little bitty shoes and clothes is so nice. We haven’t lost anything yet!

As soon as the paper hits the floor we hug everyone, say thanks and rush out the door. The girls and I usually take a cat nap as we drive up to Tamms, IL to have Christmas with the Stiffs. It takes about an hour and a half from Mom’s. We’re ready to go when we get there.

We drove straight to the family gathering at Ray’s Aunt Glenda’s house. It was so nice to see everyone. Nana grabbed Bria when we walked in the door. I got to chat with a few people and then the presents started flying. Of course we are always excited to see Grandma Stiff. The girls got to see Baby Sam but they were most excited about playing with Chloe. Chloe is 4 days older than Arleigh. They stuck together like peas in a pod. Before long, all three girls were ready for Christmas Bingo. We played in the back room. I gave Ray the camera. Bria was making the rounds with Nana. I got a nice visit with Glenda while the girls racked up on candy and Hannah Montana wallets.

After a couple of hours, it was time to open presents at Nana and Papa’s house. Off we went. I’ll have to post that tomorrow. I’m just now realizing how long Christmas day is for us. It’s no wonder we get bored when we stay home.