Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holiday Happenings

Christmas 2014 is pretty much wrapped up, and oh what a time we have had.

Grandpa Dee's birthday is on December 18, and we usually usher in the Christmas festivities with a birthday cake and candles.

I can only pray that I look this great on my 82nd birthday

Then a few days later we had the Paulson family Christmas family party. The Paulson Christmas, for many years, was a circus- all the kids and grandkids, packed into Grandma Paulson's house for Christmas dinner and presents.  Then, several years ago, that group got too big and unwieldy, so everyone kind of branched off to do their own celebrating.  Then my aunts and uncles missed seeing each other for Christmas, so they started their own private Christmas party- grown ups only.. It used to be that in order to receive an invite to this party, you had to be a child or child-in-law of Don and LaVon Paulson-  Now, that all the grandkids are grown up, the invitation has been extended to the grandchildren of Don and LaVon.  No great grand kids.  What makes this really nice for me is that most of the people at this party are the original cast of my childhood family Christmas parties- aunts, uncles and cousins. No matter how old I get, these faces will always be my first family.

Only this year, since Alisa was in town (YAY) an exception was made to the no-great grandkids rule, and we got to bring her with us.  It was a really nice night of catching up, delicious food, and fighting over presents.

Then, finally, on the 22nd of December, the kids were out of school. We celebrated with a shopping trip to finish up Christmas and a late lunch at In-n-Out.  This was also an auspicious occasion because Olivia stayed home all by herself for the first time.  She had been to a birthday party earlier in the day and had already eaten lunch there. And she had no desire for shopping, so we left her on her own.  And she survived And I survived.  We are entering a new realm of parenthood here.

All that eating and shopping wiped poor old Piper right out.

By Christmas Eve, we were all raring to go again though

 Erwann flew into town on the 23rd.  On Christmas Eve, Mitch had the day off, but Will had to work at five. Boo. So we headed out for an early afternoon Christmas Eve celebration with Grandma and Grandpa at their house.

Now that's a box of chocolates!

When we got home, there were ginger bread men (and women, and snowpeople) to decorate.
This picture makes me so happy.  My kids in the kitchen, being all crafty and happy together.

There was chili and tamales for dinner, new jammies, more presents, a movie, popcorn, and way too many treats.

Here is our family Christmas picture, 2014.  Looking at this picture, with all my kids together makes me realize that this Christmas, we really have it all. Couldn't ask for anything more than to have all these sweet faces together.  Good, good times.

And soon, this little one was heading excitedly off to bed, stocking hung,  and milk and cookies for Santa  left out.

There was a small spat with Duncan about what time in the morning constituted a reasonable time to get up.  He just could not see what was wrong with getting up at three..  Mitch voted vehemently for nine  I said somewhere in the middle would be a good compromise.

Above is the before  picture, shortly after Santa's departure, presents under the tree and stockings filled.  Below is the aftermath.

Christmas morning was simply perfect.  We woke up around seven ( a few of us were up at five, and a few others not til about eight)  to a  beautiful white Christmas, the first real snow we have seen this year.  Everybody was happy with their gifts.  Peace and chaos existed in perfect harmony.  There was a hashbrown casserole and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, followed by lovely naps.

Audrey got a bow and arrow, and we couldn't help but make her pose for a Christmas Story-esque scene involving snow, boots, and shooting out your eye.

And then, as if that was not picture perfect enough, Christmas evening, just when we were getting tired of laying around the house in our new jammies, we got to pack up some presents and head out through the snow to Grandma's house to welcome Mark, Lisa, Tyler, Carla, Rachel and Rebecca to Salt Lake for Christmas.

We had another perfect present opening session, with excited cousins, presents galore for everyone, wrapping paper and bows flying, and lots of Merry and Happy.  We are so glad  these guys would give up their Christmas to come to Utah to be with us.  We never get to see them on holidays, and having them there made everything brighter.

We still have the Metcalf family Christmas party to look forward to tomorrow, as well as a visit to see the lights downtown, and a hopefully a few good times with cousins while they are here.  All too soon, it will back to real life.  Having a few magical days together at the end of a very good year is almost too much good luck to hope for.

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