Christmas Wrap-Up

I didn't intend to take a week vacation from just kinda happened.  I'm back now, though, with so much to catch you up on.  This holiday season has been one of the best and while now, after the fact, I'm kinda sad I don't have many pictures to show for it, I'm glad that during the moment I put my camera down and just enjoyed being there.  Of course, it helped that I completely forgot to take my camera with me on several occasions, but even when I did have it, I didn't take many pictures. So much has happened since I last really blogged.  We hosted friends for dinner and sang carols together.  We spent as much time as possible with family, from the tiniest nephew all the way up to our grandparents.  We had tickle fights, painted fingernails, and decorated gingerbread houses.  There were gifts given and gifts received.  Presents were stolen (but only when playing Dirty Santa) and stockings were filled.  We attended church services and took a flight out of town.  Books were read, puzzles were put together, and new video games were played.  A baby was born and we traveled to see said baby.  We snuck in some woodworking and furniture painting.  We attended a New Year's Eve party and counted down at 12.  Kisses were given and resolutions made.  And today, after having eaten our black-eyed peas and cabbage, we're primed and ready for a good year.  We are grateful for a fresh start in 2012 after being reinvigorated from the celebration of our savior's birth.

Basically, the last two weeks have been so, so good.

I'll just touch on the things I have photos for.  My pictures will be unedited - straight out of the camera - because I'm typing this on my brand new laptop and photoshop hasn't been installed yet.  I am in love with my new laptop even though Doc broke our "no secret gifts" rule by purchasing it.  I'm not holding much of a grudge, though, since it's much fancier than my old one...

Since we traveled at Thanksgiving to see our "country cousins," that meant they came here for Christmas.  I can't even tell you how much fun it is to have us all packed into one house.  It's loud and chaotic and I love it.  (But it's also nice when we go home and things are quiet.)  Roany, the shy cowgirl, let me paint her fingernails.  We bonded over my Slick Slate nail polish and by the time she left, we were good friends.  She even spoke to me and gave me a hug!

Roany was gentle with Baby Ramer.  She petted him very carefully.

See these two blurs?  That's Bren and Parker.  They spent a good portion of the evening jumping on their Mimi's couch.

This year, my mom bought a cute little gingerbread house kit.  The house is actually plastic so all you have to do is assemble it, add some icing, and it's ready to decorate.  Then you can just wash it off and use it over and over again.  She nominated me to help the kids decorate it and while I really enjoyed it, I think next year I will add the icing before calling them all to the table.  It was stressful doing it with so many little people watching and begging to add candy!

They were thrilled when we finally let them go at it.  I really think this may have been one of my favorite moments of Christmas and am glad we'll have this new tradition.  Do you know, this was my first time to ever decorate a gingerbread house?!

They worked so diligently - all seven of them.  All the chaos and yelling was was dead silent while they worked on their house.

Sometimes they got busted for eating the decorations.

So many little hands, still decorating...

They were so proud of their hard work!

Hee hee...I think this is funny.  There were several of us standing in a row taking pictures, so when it was my turn, I raised my hand so they'd all look at me.  This is what I got in return...

(Carter's and Parker's hands are raised too, but they got cut off.  Crap.)

They did a pretty good job of making a mess!  I think Henry the dog probably found lots of dropped candy on the ground.  My mom managed to get the table cleaned up and the house became our centerpiece.

Ramer didn't get to play with all the candy, but I still managed to catch him smiling at his mama.

These two monkeys think they are the funniest people in the world.  And when one gets going, the other joins in and it just gets LOUD!

Earlier in the week, my mom went to the Dollar Store and found some festive glasses for all the kids.  There was an attempt at a group picture but mine didn't turn out.

The next night - Christmas Eve - I tried again for some star photos.  I'm not sure why it looks like one of the points got cut off on the stars.

Sweet siblings.

My oldest brother's family.

Mine and Doc's annual Christmas tree pic.

And then Parker ran into the room wearing a new shark hat and shark mittens, so we had to pretend to be sharks for the camera.

Ramer's mom put him (in his carrier) down on the floor and Jett and Bren sat down and sang Away In A Manger to him.  It was probably one of the sweetest things I've ever seen.

Before we could open presents, we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and made sure we all knew why we celebrate Christmas.

Every year, my dad gets me a new hat for Christmas.  It's his thing.  Here is this year's hat.  Pretty cute, I think!

My Christmas Eve pictures end there.  I did catch this shot of my dad the next day, in between celebrations.  Can you say exhausted?  Even the dogs needed a nap!

Our kids didn't make it to our house until late in the day on Christmas.  I took a picture of each of them while they opened their stockings and that was it!  Sad, right?  I guess I was too busy playing Elf and passing out their gifts to take pictures.

Unfortunately, that's as much of a photo wrapup I can do.  I forgot to take my picture to Indiana with us and I didn't take it to our New Year's Eve party either.  I suppose those memories will just have to live on in my head.

I won't wait a week before coming back, I promise.  I've got lots more non-Christmas related things to share!