Friday, December 29, 2006

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!!)

27 comments:

angel said...

i stayed! i stayed! and i didn't even see the offer of a purple heart till the end! LOL!
i just love all those pictures and those trees are exquisite! you sound like you did a helluva lot of driving to everyone's houses... i reckon you needed a trailer for all those pressies!

adrienne said...

YAY! Glad you had a great Christmas!!!! Gary is a KEEPER! AND YAY!! YOU WILL NOW BE TOTALLY HOOKED ON GA!!! WELCOME TO THE CLUB!! TEE HEE!!!

Anonymous said...

Loved seeing your pictures! What a great Christmas you had! Thanks for sharing all the pics and stories! You are so fun!

aimee (familyhouston.blogspot.com)

Missy's Blog said...

Cheryl ... your family looked like they had such a wonderful Christmas!! The tradition you and Gary share on Christmas Eve is great ... might have to consider sharing in that tradition with my husband beginning next year. Grey's Anatomy is my favorite show on television ... I watch it every week even when it's a re-run!!

Greta said...

OMG OMG i am so glad you are now addicted to Mcdreamy and Mc steamy....OMG.....that is awesome!! love all your presents

Cindy Barb said...

Great pics, wish I could have been at Aunt Clara's with you guys. Looks like you had a great time. By the way, since I am living in the place called OKLAHOMA and an OSU fan decorated my office door,(you can imagine the pain I was in). Can you please tell me why we have an elephant as a mascot and why we are called crimson tide? I feel so stupid not knowing this. But, I will say, I stood proud with my Alabama lights in my office, my Alabama cap, and I wore Alabama colors today anyway. GO TIDE!!!!

Jolene George said...

I'm glad you posted so many pictures. They are all great...it's just like being there. I've only been able to upload 8 pictures max at a time. You have a great family!!!

Ms.L said...

Oh it sounds wonderful and busy!
Thank you for sharing your Christmas with us:)

Miss 1999 said...

Wow!! Ya'll had a wonderful Christmas! Good food, family, and tons of presents! It just doesn't get any better! :0) Best wishes for a safe and Happy New Year! *hugs*

PS: The pics were great, thanks for sharing! :0)

maria said...

I loved your Christmas update and photos! Everything! Wow. I also loved that movie with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves! I love romantic flicks.
All your stuff sounds like super fun! I'll post shortly a quick entry on some of the stuff I got from DH and his family this Christmas. I keep forgetting to blog about that, but your post reminded me of it. Thanks so much for sharing your super cool pictures! I loved every one of them! It's was so worth the wait!
I loved your entire post! What a sweet and romantic tradition you have with your hubby about the gift exchange! How cool is that. Sooo very cool!

Amy Mowbray said...

Wow! What a great Christmas. You could totally do a mini scrapbook on all this. You've got the photos and journaling is complete!

I love your necklace. Lucky girl!

Jenn said...

Looks like you had an incredible time by the looks of all those presents! All of them are wonderful, especially the neclace! Also, hope you enjoy those Grey's Anatomy episodes...my favorite show since I love Dr. McDreamy! I hope to post mine soon. How'd you get all those pics to load? Mine would never let that many in one post..good job!! Hope you have a wonderful New Year!!

Nancy said...

I enjoyed every bid of it and I love your new necklace. Lucky you. You have a lot of great Christmas memories and thanks for sharing them with us. Happy New Year!

~Telah said...

Thanks for sharing Cheryl...I enjoyed reading it.

lusi said...

Wow! What a collection of fun snaps! We saw the Lake House on our trip away back in Sept and it was a special one for us!
Loved the snap of the girls in the Word!
And hey...love your CC video - will be going to sneak that over to my blog too I reckon!
Lots of love and blessings for you and your gorgeous family for a wonderful 2007 walking closely with our beautiful Maker!
Lusi x

Silent One ~D~ said...

what wonderful photos!!!!

looks like everyone had a grand time! Grey's Anatomy is INCREDIBLE! I can't wait for it to start again... along with LOST!
Gary's gifts to you were great! as well as your gifts to him!

Now the clean up begins...LOL

Happy New Year to you Gary and the whole Family! All the best !

Cheryl Wray said...

WOW!! I leave for two days and get all sorts of nice comments!!!
Went down to my parents Friday and Saturday, and just got back home tonight to all of these nice notes from you gals!
Let's see . . .
Angel--yay, for staying! I know it was a long post! The driving's really not all that bad; the furthest are my parents who are just an hour away.
Adrienne--Yep, Gary always gets me good presents! Yep, i'm officially HOOKED on GA!
Aimee--Christmas was fun! I hope yours was great too!
Missy--You definitely should consider that with your hubby! It is such a great way to spend some alone time with each other during the hectic holidays!
Greta-- LOL I've only met McDreamy so far; I don't think McSteamy was in Season 1, so don't really know about him yet! Ha!
Cindy--Yuck!! Living in Oklahoma's not really a good thing anyway--that's coming from a native Texan, of course!! I hated that Bama lost!! (I'll have to email you the elephant story!)

Cheryl Wray said...

Jolene--I always take SO many pictures, then I hate not posting a ton of them! LOL Glad you liked them!
Ms. L--Glad you enjoyed my minute-by-minute post! Hope you had a wonderful holiday too!
1999--Thanks!!! You stay safe tomorrow too! Happy New Year!!
Maria--Ooh, yay! I can't wait to hear about your presents too! It was a good movie!!!
Amy--You bet I'll be scrapbooking some of this! Always do (why else do I take so many pictures? lol)
Jenn--One thing I've figured out is to load all my pics into my post first, then go back and add my words. Otherwise, it takes forever to move the pics where I want them in my story! Yep, lovin GA! I hope I get caught up sometime!
Telah--Glad you liked it!! Hope you had a great Christmas!
Lusi--Thanks for the sweet, sweet comment and wishes for the new year! Love anything by CC!!
D--I guess I'm hoooked on GA now too! (like the rest of America, huh? lol) I also can't wait for Lost and Heroes to come back!!!

Heather said...

No overload here. I loved seeing the pictures! They motivated me to update my blog and get busy with my Christmas pictures! Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas! Love the necklace! You have a great family and your traditions sound wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Great pictures, Cheryl! And I love all of your presents!

--Carol

Lynilu said...

I love the pictures, and, as always, your girls are just beautiful. It sounds like your Christmas was just awesome! Happy New Year to your gang!

It's a FLIP-FLOP World said...

You have never stopped by blog before so it was so nice to have you come!! I loved reading about your great Christmas. You sure had a good one and OH the Lake House!! GREAT MOVIE!! I loved that one!! Come back anytime. Sandy

Mississippi Songbird said...

Cheryl,
This was a lovely Christmas blog. I had wondered about the dirty santa..lol

I'm so glad your had a nice Christmas..
Now..I'm going to try to stick to my New Years Resolutions..
But first, I need to take all this candy to the nursing home or one of my resolutions will be blown right away..lol

~gkw said...

Heather--I can't wait to see your updated blog! Yes, I love the necklace!
Carol--Thanks!
Lynilu--Thanks for the sweet comments! I hope you have a wonderful New Year's too!
Sandy--Hey!! Great to have you visit here too! I will visit you often!
Songbird--LOL about the dirty santa and all that candy! Taking it to the nursing homes is a great idea!!

Cheryl said...

Okay, that totally was NOT me on that last comment. HA!! I was accidentally signed in under my DH's name! Now it's "officially" me!

Cinderella said...

Those trees are beautiful!! So classy!! Those presents are insane!! haha..Can I become a member of your family next year? Do you think your parents would adopt me? hehe

Your Christmas seemed wonderful. There is nothing like being surrounded by the ones you love and getting gifts on top of it!! =)

The pictures are adorable...D's sweater was sooo pretty, I love the color...she is adorable..I think I favor her b/c she reminds me of Punky, shhhh, don't tell her I told you that!!!

Have a wonderful New Year!!! xoxo

Candy said...

WOW! Looks like tons of fun and memories!!! I hope that you have an awesome New Year! And YAHOO, Grey's ROCKS! Can't wait for the new episodes to start up again!