"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


The older the kids get, the less stress holidays bring.  Mostly because instead of being on the to-do list, they can help with the to-do list!  They can do everything from baking to decorating.  We had an extra large group this year, so it was back to the drawing board for set up.  We also got some new furniture, so that required some thought!  Adrienne and I spent an evening moving tables around, bringing square and round card tables up from the basement, and making Target lists of what we needed.  In the end, I was super happy with the Christmas Eve dining room.


We started the afternoon at Covert’s place.  He just can’t get out anymore, so we took the party to him for the afternoon.  We were so lucky to be able to take some outdoor pictures because the weather was unbelievable!







We decided to do our gift opening at Covert’s and got no complaints from the girls!  They were all for doing it first!


We spent a couple hours there, and then said our good byes to head home for phase two of Christmas Eve!



We had my sister and her crew, Anne and Rick, Joni, Dave and baby Paige, and the Winters family join us at home.  We had food, drinks, poppers, and lots of baby lovin’ going on!



I took basically no pictures of this evening, but I enjoyed it immensely. 

Towards the end of the evening, Sof wanted to spread out her reindeer food.  Mark, Sal, and I took her out the front door.  The minute we walked outside we heard some bells jingling.  Turns out Santa was making a visit to the neighbors house across the street.  We watched him walk in their door in disbelief.  We sprinkled the reindeer food super fast and Sof bolted for bed.  It was a little traumatizing, LOL! 



Luckily everyone managed to get in bed and fall asleep so Santa could make his visit. 


Early holiday mornings always leave Adrienne less than enthused.  IMG_3962

She was totally awake after opening this gift though.


It’s a beautiful picture of Mathu.  Back in November when we went to a benefit for Grace Care Center, we purchased this picture.  Adrienne asked right away if we got it, and we said no.  She was disappointed, but played it off.  She had absolutely no idea!  She cried when she opened it Christmas morning, and it remains one her most prized possessions.    

Sof and Lexi had an equally exciting morning.  A gymnastics bar and mats were on their list and Santa delivered. 


This also remains one of the greatest gifts ever.  They spend all of their free time tumbling and flipping.  These items have more than gotten their use. 

We spend a leisurely morning opening gifts and having breakfast with Sal, and then it’s off to Kalamazoo for our next celebration.  The weather continued to be incredible.  Not only did Sof take outside pictures in her knee socks, but all the kids took turns riding Sof’s new electric scooter.  This was such a treat for Michiganders! 



Livy and Lexi did their own shopping and used their own money to buy a present for Grandma Linda.  It was all their idea and doing!

Our gift to Kaitlyn was an outfit that Sof happens to have.  They put on their matching duds right away and headed out to scooter!



How do you end a day full of fun, food, gifts, and family?  With gambling of course.  It’s important part of childhood…isn’t it?


Mark and I took Adrienne, Sof, and Kaitlyn to stay at a hotel.  It’s a new fun tradition we’ve started. 



Quite possibly my favorite part of the whole holiday is waking up on Dec. 26 in the hotel.  We get suits on, head down to the pool, Emily bring Starbucks and the other kids, and we sit enjoying our coffee while the kids swim.  It’s like drinking in the fact that you just made another year of memories and the pressure is gone. 


After our swim we pack up, have lunch with the folks and Grandma, and hit the road.  We have one more party to attend with the Johnsons!  Ami hosted this year and it was an international feast. 


There are two things to be learned from the following pictures…


1. We have too many kids blessings.


2. It’s actually harder to assemble our adults for a picture than our kids. 

Ami was so sweet to host us, and of all things ON Devan’s birthday! 


And so there’s another year in the books.  Another year of babies turning to toddlers, toddlers turning to school age kids, and lots of kids turned teenager in our bunch.  It’s for them that we do it all.  All the running around, the planning, the buying.  We do it with the hope of filling their minds and souls with lots of “remember whens” followed by a belly laugh.   


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