I finally got all the gifts wrapped in time. Barely. It was close. Usually I am done way ahead of time, but this year was scary. I was too busy and unorganized. But I made it. I love wrapping paper. I have so much of it, but yet every year I buy more. It's like a disease. This year was the brown-paper-packages-tied-up-with-string year. Ah. Pretty paper.
I've always wanted to make cool snowflakes and I never have succeeded. Finally I googled it and discovered that it's all in the folding. I may be the only one in the universe who didn't know that key fact and have always folded mine in half and then half again, cut a few shapes, opened it up and was left with a snowflake that a 2yr old could reproduce perfectly. So once I figured out the folding, (I would give you a tutorial but I don't want to go drag the camera out and take pictures and then download the pics and all that... so here's an existing tutorial if you're interested. Although it fails to mention that you have to cut off the excess at the top, once you make your little triangle.) Anyway. The kids and I sat down and made some before Christmas and it was a delightful experience. And I can finally cut cool snowflakes. Yes. If you notice, the one on the top has an M cut out of the bottom, an O in the middle and another M on the top (it's cut off but it's there). So it's the MOM snowflake...and I didn't even try. Awesome eh? So cool.
A few days before Christmas, we decided we were going to surprise our families for Christmas. We had previously told everyone we weren't coming and so no one was expecting us. Christmas Eve, we loaded in the car and headed out, trying to time our arrival during my grandma's big Christmas Eve party that we haven't been to in years. We got into town a little early and drove around town, calling my mom for a recipe and nonchalantly asking if they were at the party yet to make sure everyone was there and ready for our big entrance. On the way up the steps, my heart was pounding so hard, I thought it would jump right out of my chest. But we gathered together, took one last breath, opened the door and walked in with huge smiles on our faces. My family couldn't have been in a better location and everyone screamed and yelled. My mom started to cry and it was so terribly awesome. My aunt hugged me until I couldn't breathe, my brother was grinning so hard, I thought his face would split, and my sister said it was just like in the movies. It was definitely a super magical part of our Christmas this year. On Christmas day, we hid in my in-laws basement in the dark while they were out visiting family and jumped out as they walked in (it was a tad difficult to keep Q quiet). It was just as fun. My father-in-law got a little choked up and my mother-in-law just kept laughing and asking how we did it.
At the Christmas Eve party and after our big surprise, we ate dinner, chatted with family and had the annual Talent Show and Nativity. Miss B and Q played shepherds. Q must have had a little stage fright because he just stood there blowing spit bubbles the entire time. I am amazed I got a picture without a spit bubble actually. Mr. C was the handsome Joseph and Dennis was a Wise Man. We couldn't find him and his cousin as we were dressing the kids...and finally found them hiding, saying they didn't want to be in the Nativity. I told them all they had to do was stand there and then they were willing. It was as cute as it always is, with parents snapping pictures like paparazzi and kids wearing ratty towels on their heads, shiny bathrobes, and lots of tinsel.
Christmas morning was crazy, with 7 kids and 7 adults but it was super fun. I only took a handful of pictures and I am really kind of upset about it, but I was just trying to keep up and enjoy it all and so there are zero pictures of Mr. C or Miss B. Other than snippets of their jammies. Oh well. C'est la vie. That's life. At least Q got the slinky, piggy bank and underwear he requested. Dennis received a very fun remote control car that flips and rolls as well as a watch and his very own bottle of Tapatio hot sauce. Mr. C got a stack of new books, some ketchup chips (he's a ketchup fan) and a skateboard...and Miss B got a case for her iPod Touch, summer sausage and the duct tape she's been wanting. They all got more tidbits of the usual socks, pants, shirts, games etc. but those were some of the favorites.
I made my two nephews bow ties.
Santa left Star Wars light saber suckers in the boys' shoes and so Dennis wanted to pose with his. He's supposed to look dangerous but I think he just looks mad/sad/irritated/half-asleep. Love it.
My brother and sister-in-law made homemade marshmallows. They were so delicious. Yum.
We went out to the wilderness one day after Christmas to have a dinner picnic and shoot clay pigeons. It turned out to be a mighty fine surprise-the-family kind of holiday.