After we got there, we were very excited to see family members that we haven't seen in quite a while. And of course we were happy that Marc's parents had also come to join us. Then everyone started to arrive for the party. There were door prizes, and I won one - yippee! Then the youngest princess won one - Double yippee! I am sure that set of triple retractable box cutters she won will be great additions to her toy chest... JUST KIDDING!! We did NOT let her have them. We did the old "Hey, pass this down..." game to amuse ourselves and see how far the ball of wadded up paper would go around the circle. I think this was the third annual time to play. It didn't get very far, but Brandy NOW knows, and next year we expect her FULL participation.
As the party was winding down, I tried to corral all of the cousins for the annual after the Christmas party cousin picture. And it was no easy task, I'll tell ya! But, one day...they will all thank me! And who knew that J. was jealous that in the past we only held the younger cousins...and because we aim to please, we allowed him his moment in the spotlight.
Lyd and I also attempted to try something new this year. An adaptation from one of our newest adictions, Pinterest. All they had to do was hold their paper. Not too much to ask right? Apparently it was...
That night we exchanged Christmas presents with my brother and his family, along with Marc's parents, and my nephews and niece-in-law (and my great nephew!!). Did I mention that I am going to be a Great Aunt? I am, and I am very excited! My wonderful Mother-in-Love gave everyone Amazing Grace t-shirts in honor of her great niece who is battling Leukemia. We all put them on (for some of us, it was a tighter squeeze than others, right Joey?) and took a picture to show our love and support for Grace.
Every morning after some of us were already awake, others of us were serenaded awake by the beautiful sounds of the...fire alarm. Fire alarm!?! Yes, the fire alarm. But never fear, there was no fire, it just meant that breakfast was done.
Throughout the day, we visited and watched, as the workers working on the new addition to the living quarters worked...or didn't work (if they were painters that is). We showed our love for one another by teasing the nephews about their girlfriends, or their girlfriend's knicknames. And that, my friends, ended up being a knee slapper every time. We played games (abiscus, gray nostril) and won (fought over) cool prizes, some fished (or tried to), some hunted (or slept in the deer stand), some napped, and we all took pictures. We introduced each other to new games...like Sudoku (The kitchen table will never be the same), Angry Birds (Unca Ricky, why are you angry?), Where's My Water (heaven forbid we move to the next level without ALL of our ducks in a row!), and iAssociate (there's nothing like two educated educators being shown up by a five year old - hot dog - need I say more?) Sometimes it takes an innocent child to see the obvious.
We were there for the inaugural fire in the new fireplace. And...we were there for the inaugural smoking out the living room when the flue partially closed, and then completely closed as we tried to completely open it. Again the beautiful strains of the smoke alarm filled the air. It's good that thing is not directly connected to the fire department.
Each night we all stopped to gaze at the huge oak tree which is now beautifully lit. Thanks to UncaRicky (for having the electrician put the lighting in it).
We can't forget the photo shoots by the pond (You're taking too many pictures! Why aren't you taking more pictures?). And "throwing" the youngest princess in the pond (Lyd and I work great together. Please feel free to call us with all of your creative picture needs). The youngest princess catching a fish with the help of the oldest nephew, and the young prince's sermon at the pond. And of course the impromptu dance party, to Mandisa's Shackles, in the closet. Yep. In the closet. You just had to be there.
And who knows maybe one day I will grow up to be a fantastic writer like my big brother, who has become quite proficient at writing letters these days. Seriously, I love them...please keep them coming.
And before I'm done, I must give a huge THANK YOU to my wonderful niece, who not only gave Marc and I one of the most thoughtful gifts we have ever received, but also GAVE me her IPad camera connection kit, because she saw how much I loved it! She is absolutely the greatest niece...EVER!
The last morning, we woke up and the place was hopping like never before, this time including the painters, thanks to UncaRicky's motivational skills. They got so busy we had to vacate the premises. Nothing says "y'all come back now" like a picnic breakfast in the garage, in the cold weather. At least we were able to huddle round the heater.
Making memories. It's what being with family during the holidays is all about. And as you can see, we made our fair share of them this year. And I don't know about you, but I can't wait until next year.
And, I am oh, so thankful, that there were hired people to do the paint job this time around...
Because last time...well, you just had to be there.