I fell asleep very quickly after we got back to the Mercer house last night, but I didn’t sleep very well at all.  Bruce kept whining to be let out of the bedroom.  I finally took him downstairs around 1:00 to let him outside to pee.  I heard a game being played in Michael’s room when I went back upstairs, so I watching him play the new Zelda game for the Wii for a few minutes and helped him figure out a couple puzzles on it then went back to bed.  Bruce whined the entire night and kept wanting to go outside the room.  The reason I didn’t just let him go is that I was afraid he’d go bother Amanda’s parents or pee on something.  I didn’t sleep well, and when I got up I was sore.  I thought it was just that the mattress we slept on isn’t nearly as good as the one at home, but Amanda postulated that it was from strenuous playing of the Wii, which was a good theory, backed up by the fact that Barry later mentioned being a little sore from it too.

Phil fixed pancakes for breakfast then we all headed off to Clayton.  Or some little town near Clayton.  Wherever it is that Karen’s cousin Terry and her family live.  The trip went by pretty quickly thanks to Michael bringing his laptop for us to watch Elf on.

Just like every year, Amanda’s mom’s entire extended family was at the house.  The house hosting the get-together rotates.  This is Terry and Kyle’s first year in this home, since they moved back from Texas this past year.  Amanda, Michael and I started out mostly hanging around with Hannah and Kirsten Frazelle, so I pointed out what a clique we were, associating with each other the way we were.  Their cousin, Caroline, entered into the mix.  A few other cousins played guitar and some of the younger boys played football outside.  They got really dirty in all the clay back there.

We exchanged secret Santa gifts.  I got a $30 gift certificate from Kyle.  It came in a really cool little wooden gift box, which I was just as excited about as I was the gift card.  Seriously, it’s a cool little box.  I might paint it and keep it for something.

Lunch was good- all kinds of food and excellent desserts.  Pierre Faucher (Amanda’s mom’s aunts husband) and I took some group pictures of the family as people started leaving.
We ended up leaving around 4:30.  Since we rode with the Mercers we had to go back by their house to get our car.  On the trip back to Richlands we watched a few episodes from the first season of How I Met Your Mother.  (I never did get another gift to throw Amanda off.)  Once in Richlands Amanda and I grabbed our stuff and left.  It was already after dark and we had some windy back-country roads to take to get home.

Once in Wilmington we unloaded our stuff then I headed out to get a few things to make Xbox Live work on my new Xbox 360.  Amanda watched an episode of that Sweet 16 show on MTV while I hooked up everything.  Really that’s a terrible show.  It points out but glorifies shallow, self-centered, wastes of space.  Anywho, she went to bed after that and I worked on setting up my online account.  Once I did I played Gears of War, which Michael eventually joined.  We played a few games against some people who knew each other and played together often.  They won a couple but then we beat them a few times.

Now it’s time for bed.  I’ve only got a three-day work week, which is kind of nice.  This weekend we’re heading to Rougemont to see my family.  We’ll be able to give Jackson his birthday and Christmas presents (I plan on doing his birthday stuff Saturday and his Christmas stuff Sunday).  My cousin Jeff Cherryholmes will be there with his girls, too, so it’ll be nice to see them.  My sister Erin will be in town (although she’s coming down to Wilmington on Thursday anyway) and I told Adam that everyone will be there, so he might skip his stop in Charlotte (to see Renee’s family) and come on to the Rouge.  I’m looking forward to seeing everybody.

Zach Dotsey