Friday, July 25, 2014

A Country Christmas at the Farm

Christmas in July continues at the farm! We couldn't wait for Conan's first visit to the farm and to meet his Uncle Mark, Aunt Karen and cousin, Sam. He absolutely loved his time here and it's no wonder why - with four cousins to dote on him, a new litter of kittens to play with and farm fun around every corner, he was in baby heaven.

The Clough Men

On Christmas Eve, we attended the Christmas Eve service at the adorable country church Jon's family has been attending for generations. We left before the play began as it was nearing Conan's bedtime, but we were able to sing a few Christmas carols and enjoyed visiting with extended family. 

Christmas Eve
On Christmas morning, we somehow managed to squeeze in the small living room to open presents together, which is similar to a free-for-all; paper flying like crazy, shrills of excitement and sometimes gift tags were completely disregarded. A little bit different from my family's "one at a time" gift opening strategy. 

The Clough Grandkids
After the presents were opened, the grandkids were told to go out to the "new building" to get their presents from Grandma and Grandad. They were so surprised to see that they each had their own desk and rug waiting for them. These aren't just any desk or rug, but beautiful wooden desks made by Uncle Ben (Beckie's brother) and rugs made by Beckie and her dad in the colors of each kid's room. They definitely made this Christmas so very memorable for each of these kids!

The grandkids receiving their gifts

Conan with his cherry wood desk and rug

Conan's rug

Sporting their gifts from Neil - always super practical

Conan's presents

Grandma and Grandad's present

We have been talking about a Clough Christmas at the farm where everyone could be together for over a year now. But, with two brothers in the military, plans always seem to go awry. Neil was deployed to Iraq over Christmas, but thanks to FaceTime, he was still able to take part in the festivities.

Uncle Neil made a photo!

Jon has been talking about wanting a shotgun for ages, and now that we're back in the States, I decided to surprise him at Christmas. Mark helped me out a great deal by doing some research and buying the gun for me so that Jon could have it over Christmas and use it at the farm.

That's one happy face!

Taking the shotgun out for a spin

Christmas Night, we drove across the sound to gather together with the Hobbs (Beckie's side of the family) for dinner. Conan was able to meet even more family and was especially fascinated with his Great Grandaddy Hobbs. 

Conan and Great-Grandaddy Hobbs

Clough Family Photo
The day after Christmas, the women embarked on a shopping trip to the Outer Banks. Surprisingly, this is the closest shopping area to the farm, a mere 45 minutes away. The guys met us there for lunch, and afterward Jon wanted to snap a photo of Conan on the beach. As he has already visited the Pacific Ocean, he wanted Conan to touch the Atlantic so that by his first year, he's touched both oceans. It was drizzling and cold out so I wasn't too enthusiastic about this, but now can see that it's a pretty cool thing to boast.

After an eventful and jam-packed couple of days, we were ready for some down-time at the farm. Conan had so much fun visiting all the farm animals, to include a goat, cows, ducks, kittens and Charlie, the dog. I feel so fortunate that Conan has not one, but two country settings to explore and enjoy during his childhood. A Texas ranch and a North Carolina farm. Lucky boy!

Riding Karen, the goat

Admiring Uncle Mark's ducks

Checking out the cows with Grandaddy

Touring around the farm with Aunt Karen

Conan's first tractor ride with Grandaddy

Petting cows with Dad

What an incredible Christmas vacation in both VA and NC seeing lots of family and making the most of all that the area has to offer. Conan's first Christmas will certainly be a memorable one!

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