Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Part 1

    Christmas was a special, extra large family gathering this year.  Relatives drove in from Wisconsin and North Carolina, as well as from the upstate.  My sister's family (Wisconsin), spent several days with us and my brother's family (North Carolina) spent the night Christmas Eve.  My stepbrother's family drove in from the upstate and my dad and stepmom brought a friend.  We were grateful that my mother, who is currently fighting breast cancer, was also able to attend with my stepdad.  She restarted chemo treatments the day after Christmas after it had been interrupted by a post-surgical infection.  This was also the first time I was able to see my new niece (now nine months old). The total head count was twenty-five and I am grateful for my church's willingness to loan me tables, chairs, a high chair and exer-saucer for the week long festivities.  Below are some pictures with comments about the preparation.  Parts 2 and 3 are some post holiday tips/traditions we recommend and enjoy each year.

                      My beautiful sister, Elizabeth and one of her daughters, Addison (Addy).

       My mom, the trooper, holding her newest grandchild, my sister's other daughter, Skylar.  My stepfather, Norm is behind her and my nephew, Robert is behind him.

                                 The best gifts ever - my kids with their cousin, Addy.

                                                              The whole gang

                                    The cousins having a Nerf gun fight in the yard.

                                                        The living room tree

My stepbrother's daughter, Savannah (front left), and my brother's sister-in-law, Angela (behind her), have practically grown up together with my children.

                                              My stepmom, Shirley, joins them.

                                                   Getting ready to eat in our den.
I wanted to focus most of my Christmas money on gifts so the budget for any new table decor was tight.  The girls (and Harrison too!) made the candy cane striped table runners from some material a friend had given us and I purchased the votive centerpieces from the Habitat for Humanity Restore at $1.50 each.  The sparkly holly between them was purchased 50% off from Big Lots.  My biggest investment were the gold plastic tablecloths and napkins from a party store at $1.99 each!  The girls also made a matching striped table covering for our drink table.

My brother's wife, Regina is holding our new niece, Skylar.  On the left of Regina is her sister, Angela. Behind them is my stepbrother, Chris.  Sitting with his daughter, Clarissa on his lap, is my brother, Kristian.  On Regina's right is my sister's daughter (and Skylar's sister) Addison.  My dad is in the red shirt and Chris' wife, Ann, is peeking from behind my dad.

                                   Getting excited (uh, especially my nephew, Miguel)!

                                              Praise the Lord for exer-saucers!

The menfolk gather round to fry the turkey.  My son, Harrison, is in the front with my husband, Scott. My two brothers, Chris and Kris, are in the back.

                                            Chowing down between my parents.

                                             Two peas in a pod: Addy and Clarissa.

After returning from a lovely Christmas Eve church service, the girls sing for us.  Addy, already in her jammies, shyly joins the big girls.  Sammy is holding the "keyboard" on Angela's phone.

                                              Getting ready to open the presents!

My stepbrother, Chris, made ALL the desserts.  There will be fighting around the almond cheesecake!

Tables are cleared as all begin to get ready for bed. That is my brother-in-law Brad (married to my sister, Beth) with their daughter Addy.

                                       Early the next morning, the fun begins again!

My brother, his wife Regina, and daughter, Clarissa are still a wee bit tired the next morning. That is what he gets for starting a Nerf gun fight on the staircase with ALL the boys at eleven o'clock at night!  Although HE may be tired, his two boys are probably still running around my house....

When He ascended on high
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.
Ephesians 4:8


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