Festive Lunch
"Good King Wenceslas"

A Very Kenny Christmas

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My 82-year-old father-in-law is amazing in many ways, but he especially shines at Christmas.

Since my dear mother-in-law Peggy's death from ALS eleven years ago, Kenny hasn't skipped a beat with his holiday celebrations.  Not only does he decorate his house and yard completely with oodles of pretties and lights, he continues to host BY HIMSELF his entire immediate family, which at last count was 49.  And he usually invites a few extras too...this year our Christmas dinner total was 52 people (and that's with 5 missing).

I know it's cliche, but being surrounded by his family is truly ALL Kenny wants for Christmas and I'm so thrilled we were able to make it happen for him this year.  There's nothing that makes him happier than having his tiny house crammed to the gills with the people he loves.

 

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Not only does he fix the entire meal (we all do pitch in some side dishes and desserts...but even without our food contributions he'd have plenty!), but the week before he made homemade black raspberry jelly for gifts for all of us.

During the summer, this crazy old fella spends countless hours wading through briar patches by himself in 90-degree heat picking gallons of wild black raspberries for this very reason.

Like I said...crazy old fella!  But I love him!!!

 

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And as if the gathering itself is not enough, he has very generous monetary gifts for every single one of us!  And weeks before, he had given each of us grandmas money to buy gifts for him to give his 18 great-grandchildren.

It gives Kenny such joy to give...it's why he's still working hard for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, so he has extra money to give all of us.  At 82 years old, we believe him to be the oldest state employee.  Occasionally he'll mention plans to perhaps retire someday, but he'll continue working as long as he is able.

When Kenny stops working, we might as well dig his grave.  That's just who he is.

 

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With so many folks around, it was difficult for me to get many good photos, but that didn't stop me from trying.  Some scenes from our first family Christmas gathering of the season...


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The youngest of the great-grands...I'm partial to the 2 on the left, my Lucy and Abram...

 

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It made us a bit nervous to see the littles playing with Grandpa's lighted Christmas village, but he gave them permission.


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I am happy to report that, although the village was rearranged, no breakage was heard or reported.

Krew and Lucy and a couple of other cousins sure did enjoy playing with them, though!

 

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Our 7-month-old grandson Daniel was the youngest Gray this year.

 

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Daniel with a couple of his cousins, Hayden and Dean...

 


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Dean with his aunt Paige...and photo bomb by Kyler....

 


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A great time for cousins who are rarely together to catch up on each other's lives.


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Kamaron and his two kiddos Krew and Juni...

 

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...catching up with cousin Sydney.

 


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Lucy loved wearing her Christmas dress....and occasionally would just have to give it a twirl or two.

 


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Hayden and Dean had to leave early, but here are the rest of Kenny's youngest great-grandchildren all in a photo together...ages 10 and under.  What a darling bunch of cousins!

 

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And then...the presents!  The older kids passed them out....

 


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Foster is the only grandchild still in school...so he still gets gifts from everyone.  


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Impatiently awaiting the go-ahead from Grandpa to rip into those gifts...

 

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And...GO!


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I was taking a photo of Lucy getting her Rapunzel dress...I don't know how the PlayStation NBA2K19 game jumped into my photo!  But Karter and Kaden were excited to get it and must have tossed it at just the right moment!


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Kassie and Kelsey are all about the LOL stuff this year.  This Gramaw has a hard time keeping up with the popular toy trends...

 

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Juni loved her purple jumprope!

 


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Some of the other cousins got scooters...

 


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IU candy-stripe tear-aways for Karter and Kaden!  My little Hoosiers!!!

 

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Daniel was ready for his nap, despite the chaos...

 


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Two crazy Gray boys....these two always find the fun!


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A dinosaur for Abram...

 


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Grandpa Kenny's elves really hit it out-of-the-park with the Rapunzel outfit.  Lucy was in princess heaven!!!

 

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Abram was tickled with his outfit too...I think he's the character Dash from the Incredibles.


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Two happy costumed siblings....those are genuine smiles!


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Oh goodness...melt Gramaw's heart, Dash!

 


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Apparently the LOL ball is filled with all kinds of tiny goodies...


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Morgan and his parent Greg and Paula found a quiet corner away from the madness...

 


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The "old" guard...those remaining from the original ten (5 sisters and their husbands).  So glad Kim's aunts and uncle could join us, as we don't see them often.

 

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Kenny shared our photo book from our September Africa trip...

 


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...and Daniel finally gave in to his much-needed afternoon nap.

 


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Krew tried out his new pogo-type toy...


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...but it's hard to beat some of the OLD classic toys Kenny still has.

 


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A great day all around, and I'm pretty sure he had to have collapsed with exhaustion soon after we left.

So very grateful for my "other" family...

...and our very Kenny Christmas.

 

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