Finally . . . A Christmas Update & Photo Overload
Okay, it's 12:30 on Thursday night (well, Friday morning actually) and Gary and I just finished watching "The Lake House," a really sweet movie starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves--it was one of my Christmas presents from Gary, so it seemed like a good segue into my Christmas update. lol (I'm also wearing some pajamas that my sister-in-law gave me, enjoying the scent of a gingerbread candle from my Mom, and drinking sweet tea out of a really cool margarita glass from a set that my MIL gave me. So, I'm enjoying A LOT of my gifts right now, it seems!)
I got so many wonderful gifts this Christmas, and I think that our presents to others went over well too. Add to that . . . a ton of really good food, the excitement of little children receiving gifts they love (you should have heard Sydney's squeals!), and special time with family . . . and you have the ingredients for a really good Christmas (and all of that good stuff somehow outmanuevered the short tempers and ill "we're gonna be late" and "didn't you buy those batteries?" attitudes that all of you know--admit it!!--goes on along with any sort of holiday celebrations!).
I just got around today to downloading the TON of pictures that we took at our various Christmas gatherings (it was actually here in the house all along, and not with Gary out in the woods somewhere!) and thought I'd share them with you. Just get ready for major PHOTO overload (sorry... you can skip to the bottom where I feature chocolate in a prominent role, if you'd like to).
Beautiful Christmas trees and festively decorated homes are some of the best sights of Christmas. Here are two from my parents' house . . .
(look at the stream of gifts in front of this one . . .)
And at Gary's parents' house . . .
Our first family gathering was for Christmas Eve brunch with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews. The girls started us off with the traditional reading of the Christmas story from Luke 2 . . .
The boys and Scout listened attentively (well, Scout enjoyed distracting everyone--but she tried, I promise) . . .
We all love the stockings my Mom fills for everyone . . .
And then the unwrapping begins! Delaney with her new sweater (it has a really cool furry collar). She loved this . . .
We got my brother some Texas Longhorns glasses to use during Texas football games (UT-themed items seemed to be a trend. My Dad got a burnt orange jacket, tie, and gloves. lol)
My grandmother from Texas left gifts for all of us--so sweet!!-and two of the sweetest were the handmade Holly Hobby pillows for Scout . . .
My Mother LOVES to receive gifts and gets animated over anything she receives (she definitely understands the JOY of it all) . . .
My Dad, on the other hand, is known for the way he painstakingly opens gifts . . .
This is what he was unwrapping--a framed picture of the five grandkids (taken by Gary on some of their property. They loved this gift. We were so glad!)
After returning home, we did some quick gift unwrapping and casserole-cooking before we headed off to Nannie and Papaw's (Gary's parents) house. This may be my very favorite piture of it all--Sydney parked herself in the chair in front of the gifts. She was ready!
She loved her Dora couch. Her Aunt Angel won "Best Aunt Award" for the night, with all sorts of good gifts for Scout (yep, she's squealing right there!) . . .
Nannie also earned brownie points, with this Orlando Bloom fleece throw for Delaney. She even kissed it! ha! . . .
McKenna and our niece, Lori, enjoyed too much coffee throughout the night . . .
On Christmas morning, the girls slept until 9 (can you believe that??!!) but then excitedly came to wake us up (you don't think we got up any earlier than them, do you?) and tell us what Santa left. ALL kinds of great stuff--portable DVD player, hair dryer and straightener, clothes, movies, books, even a gift card to the mall for McKenna; a Pixter, digital camera, Designers World game, clothes, Hannah Montana CD(oh yeah, we've listened to that a FEW times since then!), and more for Delaney; and the coveted Polly Pockets and Dora cash register for Sydney. Here's the cash register (Gary's already threatened to help the batteries mysteriously "disappear") . . .
Christmas Day lunch was celebrated at Gan Gan's with aunts, uncles, and assorted cousins (Gan Gan is Gary's grandmother). We especially loved seeing our new baby cousin, Zac. Sydney was especially enamored with him . . .
We play Dirty Santa at Gan Gan's (you draw numbers, then one-by-one you can unwrap or steal a gift already unwrappd; it can get sorta ugly, believe me! and I'm still feeling a little bit bitter about that really soft throw I lost!) and Gary's mom had won this umbrella that she really liked. But Scout liked to pretend that it belonged to her . . .
And McKenna had to get ahold of Zac too. Too cute . . .
I didn't mention yet the special gift-giving time that Gary and I share on Christmas Eve. After everyone is tucked sound-and-asleep in their beds, Gary and I have a private time together with a fire burning and a really nice enjoyment of our gifts to each other. We started this traditin when we were dating and it has been a very special tradition ever since. The girls get upset sometimes that they don't get to see our presents to each other, but we always tell them that they'll see them in the morning. They've learned to get over it! lol! As always, Gary got me some good presents. Here's a look at some of them (you see "The Lake House," but can also see a really fun mystery called Motif for Murder--which I've already read!--and a new, big cutter/trimmer for my scrapbooking) . . .
And he got me this . . .
And this . . .
And this . . . (OMG, I know now what all of you ladies have been screaming about! I watched the first seven episodes on Wednesday and the last two yesterday. It is addictive! And now I have to go buy Season 2!) . . .
And while I was reading my book and watching my GA, I was eating a TON of these things. They are my favorite chocolates in the whole wide world and I bet I've eaten 25 of these truffles in the last two days. Heaven help my hips . . .
I was also a good wife and got Gary some really good gifts (I think!) . . . a hunting book by William Faulkner, a couple of movies and CDs, a really nice Alabama pullover, and (major brownie points for me!!!) a digital camcorder. If I can ever pry it out of my hands, I'll learn how to post a video here on my blog. That would be fun!!
I've had a chance to start visiting some of you blogs and see some of the moments from your own festivities and celebrations. So nice to know that there were good times going on all around the world!
Well, I'm off to bed and then it's up-and-at-em tomorrow morning! I'm taking the girls and my niece to the Galleria to go shopping. I've been amazingly skilled at staying inside the house for the last four days, but the girls finally wore me down and I'm venturing out. I really have enjoyed watching bowl games and reading mysteries in my pajamas, but all good things must come to an end . . .
Have a wonderful Friday and an exceptional weekend. I will be back on to wish you all Happy New Year!!
(And sheesh, all of you who stayed around for all of that deserve a Purple Heart or a Blogging Ribbon or something. Thanks guys and gals!!)