"Texas Sized" doesn't mean the quantity or even quality of the gifts given or received but the amount of family we had with us during the holidays.
To start things off we had Jon visit us for a week before Christmas. The reason why Jake and Emma look so sad in this picture is because they missed a whole day with Jon as he forgot which day his flight was on and didn't realize it until he received a call from Krista who was waiting to pick him up at the airport. All was not lost as Jon was able to reschedule his flight for the next day and we had an enjoyable week with him. It was great showing him around the Dallas area, eating some of the great food in the "Restaurant Capital" of Texas and seeing some wonderful Christmas light displays in the area (http://www.friscochristmas.com/ http://www.friscosquare.com/fair). It was also nice just to hang out with him and talk about family, friends and the many wonderful times we have had together. After a week with him he had to leave to see Mike's family.
The next week we had Krista's oldest brother Jim, his wife Rachel and their two kids Madison and Ethan come visit for a couple of weeks. Jim is just finishing his medical training so we took him and his family all around the North Dallas area hoping to persuade them to settle here. Jake and Emma had a great time playing with Madison and Ethan while we entertained their parents. Shorty after they arrived Krista's brother Mike called and surprised us with the news that he, his wife Melanie and their 7 month old daughter Zoe would be flying in from North Carolina to visit for Christmas.
With all of them and Krista's mom and Blake coming from Houston to visit we had a house full of family, friends and chaos. Luckily between our house and her dad's house we were able to juggle all of the family that came to town. It was wonderful having Jon and Krista's family here for the holidays, and Santa was good to us this year, but the best part of the whole holiday season was the afternoon of Christmas day. We have a tradition of visiting rest homes and other places on Christmas day where people aren't able to spend the day with family and friends. We go sing Christmas carols to them, spend some time with them and get to know them. We always take our Polaroid camera with us and leave them with pictures of the time we spent together. It was touching to see Jacob overcome his initial fear of meeting new and different people and become excited about helping others feel better. It was also heartwarming to see tears of joy as one elderly lady held her arms out wanting just a hug and the soft "thank you" whispered in my ear as I held her in my arms. It as a memory that I will cherish and an opportunity I look forward to each Christmas day.
I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas and a great holiday season.
Jared, Krista, Jacob and Emma