Of course I forgot my camera battery; left it charging at home! Ugh! Luckily we had our phones and I'm sure I'll eventually steal some pictures from my parents and siblings. But for now, these will have to do.
My parents put their tree up in the 'Bama room' this year and I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw all the gifts under the tree. Now don't get me wrong, my parents are usually verrry generous (overly generous) when it comes to Christmas, but usually they give us 3-4 gifts each. Well, this looked like much more than that and we were all wondering what was going on... more on that in a later post!
The kids opened their presents first. Mary Ella was gifted with new Pet Shops, a Mrs. Potts tea set, a sleeping bag, a new Magnadoodle, a mini trampoline with a bar, an owl cup and plate... Sam got a Mickey Mouse train set from my sister, a puppy from Ashley and Adam, the new Cookie Monster toy that eats cookies, a set of Mickey Mouse and Sesame Street figurines, and lots of other goodies from my parents.
Mom bought Sam this wooden latch board by Melissa and Doug,
since he has a slight obsession with opening and closing doors. It did not disappoint!
Then we let my parents open their gifts from us. My sister bought Mom these monogrammed rain boots. They look just like my Mom. She decided there would be rain in the forecast no matter what over the next few days. :)
Dad got new shirts, a new life jacket and some fishing stuff.
On Friday night (December 23rd) we all gathered at my grandparents house on the Compound for our annual Christmas celebration. We feasted on our traditional meal of finger foods. Check out the spread:
I told my family it looked like Pinterest had thrown up all over the kitchen! I think we all made at least one thing from Pinterest and literally everything was good. I made a hot bacon swiss dip and a cranberry and dried onion cheeseball spread. We also had shrimp, chicken fingers, poppyseed ham rolls, pork tenderloin, spinach dip, sausage dip, cocktail weenies, pizza puffs, vegetable pizza, and too many desserts to list. I look forward to this meal all year long. I love it because I can keep going back for more and never feel that guilty. :)
Being such a large family, we draw names to keep the presents and spending from getting out of hand. We cram ourselves into my grandparents' living room and somehow we still manage to open one gift at a time and watch each other enjoy their presents. I received a super cute pair of earrings and a gumball-machine looking cookie/candy jar for my kitchen from my aunt Kristi, and my grandmother bought me a wooden frame from my aunt and uncle's frame business. I love it. Sam received a Little People airplane, a tractor and wagon set and a new book. Mary Ella received a fleece blanket that my grandmother made, a ballerina wooden doll magnet toy, another pirate costume (this time it was a dress) and I'm sure there is stuff I'm leaving out. Chad got a new leather portfolio case for his iPad and a new Bama hat and a fleece pullover. We were all happy and thankful for our sweet gifts.
After gifts, we had our 2nd annual 'penny auction.' Everyone brought auction items and placed them on a table in the living room; I was the auctioneer. Grandmother gave us each 2 rolls of pennies ($1.00 total for each person) and we bid on the items that everyone brought... (the items are just little odds and ends; cute note pads, planners, small gadgets, nothing expensive; most from Dollar or thrift stores and then my Grandmother always throws in some antiques which makes it fun!)
Then we went back for more food, of course.
Sweet Gracie enjoyed her first Christmas with the loudest family ever! She was all smiles.
I love my family and feel so blessed to have had another wonderful Christmas with everyone.