Jennifer Lasenyik of Woodstock said she and her boys, Ethan, 9, and Zachary, 5, spent the weekend in Marietta performing in the Young Actors Playhouse rendition of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!” with shows Friday, Saturday and today.
The Lasenyiks also plan to see “A Christmas Carol” at Elm Street Cultural Arts Center in downtown Woodstock on Christmas Eve.
Sgt. Lasenyik, a U.S. Air Force reservist stationed out of Savannah, is spending his first Christmas away from home throughout his entire 14 years in the military. Jennifer Lasenyik said she’s counting down the days — there are 70 —until he returns home from Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.
“It’s just not the same this year,” Jennifer Lasenyik said. “But this year is the first year I’ve said I’m just going to stay in town and enjoy it with my boys.”
Traditionally, the Lasenyiks wrap presents and watch “White Christmas.”
“This year, they’re all wrapped and ready to go so we can go see ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Elm Street,” she said.
Christmas Day, Sgt. Lasenyik’s father, Brian Lasenyik of Dallas, will come to Woodstock and visit instead of their normal trip to McDonough to see Jennifer’s parents.
“We have a tradition where we always go eat Chinese soup Christmas Day,” Jennifer said. “We’ll go down to McDonough the day after Christmas and enjoy the day … I’m looking forward to not rushing around.”
But Christmas for the Lasenyiks already came early.
Ethan, a fourth-grade student at Carmel Elementary School, got a surprise from his father last Wednesday while performing a live reading of “It’s A Wonderful Life” on WATC 57 Atlanta Live.
The local television station played a video of greetings from soldiers overseas that included a message from Sgt. Lasenyik.
“It was really shocking to see him on the TV,” Ethan said, adding his father wished him good luck on his performance.
Jennifer Lasenyik said Ethan, who wants to be an actor when he grows up, fulfilled his dream of being on television and also got a chance to see his father, who has been deployed since August.
“It was an awesome experience,” she said.
The Lasenyiks met at Truett McConnell College in Cleveland, where they both earned a degree in vocal performance.
Since then, the family has been active in local theater, with Ethan performing in at least 10 shows since age 7. He and his brother, Zachary, a kindergartner, also play baseball at Hobgood Park, on top of Ethan’s piano lessons and Zac’s basketball practice.
Jennifer Lasenyik, an employee at Sprint for 11 years, said she likes keeping busy.
“I just don’t want to sit at home and be idle,” she said. “I’d rather stay busy. And I’ve gotten so much help — our friends and neighbors are so amazing at offering to help. It really has worked out great.”