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We have a common joke in our family about “family time.” It stared when we got “in-laws” blended in–two daughters-in-law and one son-in-law. They would get their heads together at family dinners, holidays, and family vacations and tease about too much “family time.”  When we plan our calendars of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and vacations, they laughingly say, “AGGGHHH! Too much family time!”

It’s okay that they joke about it. I know in truth that they love our family time. If it were up to me, we would have at least one day a week of a special time to eat, talk, laugh and get together. I love having the kids around and don’t mind the mess, clutter and cooking that comes with it. I miss horribly that Billy, Jill, Sierra and Parker are  living in Florida now and can’t make the monthly (or bi-monthly events). It seems there is always a dinner to celebrate someone’s arrival, departure, birthday or holiday.

This weekend our son-in-law, Steve’s son, Andrew,  was visiting so we had everyone together for Sunday dinner. My mom and Andrew made nine around the dinner table, crowded but cozy for fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, corn and rolls. Then afterward a retreat to the living room to watch a movie, football and chatting. Dessert was chocolate zucchini cake–yummy!  When everyone finally left around 5ish, I was tired, but my heart was happy.

Family is so special to me. I love having my mom live in the area, after 25 years when she lived in Florida. I love having our son and daughter-in-law as part of us; no longer outsiders, they belong as much as our kids belong. I love the chatter, playful bickering, loving atmosphere. I love the fact that any of them can curl up on the couch or chair with a quilt and take a nap, comfortable enough in our home to know this is their home as well.

One of my favorite memories was at the end of our family vacation last year on Dale Hollow Lake; Steve, Andrew, and I were on the deck and Andrew put his arm around my shoulder. “This was one of my favorite vacations,” he said, “I love being part of this family.”  Steve jokingly said, “No! Don’t say it! You’ll get sucked into the Stirnkorb family!”  But Andrew smiled and said, “I want to be sucked in! I love being part of this group.”

That was one of the nicest compliments we could have been given.  I love our family!

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