It has been such a wonderful holiday you'll have to bear with me as I get it all down on virtual "paper" because there has been quite a lot going on around here!
It took a few days but my parents and brothers and wives and nephew all arrived and we were a household of 13(point 3) in time for Christmas. The first few days were a slew of shopping for Christmas presents and groceries. The amount of food that has gone through this house in the past 10 days is staggering! One night as we sat down for dinner Megan looked at me and said "It's nice to have a family here!"
Liam is the girls only cousin on our side of the family and the girls just loved him! He's the same size and a little heavier than Abby but a few months younger so not quite talking as much. It didn't matter. He could really get his point across! It didn't take long for Abby to decide that she needed to tell him what to do just like Megan tells her. So the days were peppered with "Liam, where are you?" and "Liam, that's my milk!"
On Christmas Eve we had our first family activity together -- decorating gingerbread houses. We had a great time! The girls both ate more than they decorated of course but they actually both helped.
Megan did actually pipe some some icing but was really good with the small candies. Abby actually placed some of the chocolate rocks on the "porch" until she realized that they were chocolate and not candy. Then that was the end of that!
Jeff and James and my parents teamed up on a house that ended up . . . quite interesting. The process was quite entertaining itself.
Danny, Denise, and Liam of course had to go all artsy on us! Danny was a little disappointed that we weren't building Frank Llloyd Wright gingerbread house but hey, when you're baking four of them, they're just going to be 4 walls and a roof!
Trust me, this looks a lot better than it did. But it was dubbed the house on fire.
Mark and Adrienne also got fancy-schmancy -- that's what you get when you marry a cake decorator I suppose!
Abby loves Grandpa! Last night when we went to dinner Jeff asked to carry her into the restaurant and she loudly said "no!" so I asked her if James could take her. Another "no". Then she said, "I want grandpa." And go to him she did.
The finished products! They all turned out great especially since Megan and Abby ate half of our decorating items . . .
So Christmas morning was an explosion of presents because we hadn't put any out at all and then had presents for 13 people! I was so excited to see the look on Megan's face when she woke up the next morning and found that Santa had come. Well, turns out she already had the no sleep bug. At about 2:00 a.m. my brother comes in my room to tell me Megan needs to use the potty. That makes no sense because Megan is sleeping in our room. Turns out she has been up and looking at presents for about a half hour and he let her! What a great uncle. Grrrrr.
Abby really loved the musical cards from Grandma Whittacre. Sorry Grandma, I had to take it away from her after the 5th time!
Megan and her twirly Minnie from her stocking. I was a mean mom and took all the candy out of their stockings before they saw them. But we had church later in the day and both girls were getting sick. The last thing they needed was to gorge on candy in the morning! I don't think they noticed though!
Megan's favorite by far was her dance clothes. She has worn them every day since Christmas and can't wait to start her lessons next week. She is SOOOOOOOO excited!
Abby liked all the boxes! And she got a Lightening McQueen plush that was the cause of frequent battles between her and Liam.
I tried to get things for the girls this year that they could do rather than just play with and it seems to have worked. Chopper MADE me a quilt rack for my wall quilts (I loved that man), got me some little sewing and quilting things, and then a prenatal massage (have I told you I love that man?). I gave him a dutch oven, dress shirt, and a new computer game.
In our family we also have gag gifts -- some that come around every year and some that just happened -- like these:
Jeff asked my parents for green slip-on shoes. ?????? Mom found him a pair of Converse but we thought it would be funny to wrap up a pair of elf shoes instead. It really was actually!
Megan showing me a dance move.
The girls both loved the Mr. Potato Head playdough set from Aunt Krista.
Since Christmas we've been out to see some of the sights of Dallas but I keep forgetting my camera! Oh well. We did take some family photos though which actually turned out really well.
Always some funny and some serious. But this is the whole clan: mom and dad, me, Chopper and the girls, Mark and Adrienne, Danny, Denise, and Liam, Jeff, and James. It'll be fun to the see the other women and babies that come into our lives.
I am incredibly grateful for a family that can share close quarters for 2 weeks and love it. Part of why we haven't done a lot is because we sit around and talk and eat and play games. What a wonderful gift to be able to spend that kind of time with your family as you all get into adulthood. I really feel blessed.
I also got a great present in that I haven't thrown up in 5 days!!! Perhaps my icky days are coming to an end. I'm 12 weeks today so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Our family also starts the new year with new challenges already, or at least I do. Right before Christmas I was called to be the new Relief Society President. I still get a little teary eyed just saying that because of the magnitude of that calling. But I am grateful to have amazing women in my presidency and look forward to a stretching experience.
I don't know that I'll post again until the new year so Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you had a wonderful, joy-filled holiday filled with presence of family (whether they could be there or not) and the love of our Savior!