This weekend Jack and I headed out to Chicago for our annual Family Christmas get together with my clan. We had great weather going and coming home. Saturday we woke up to a surprise snow fall...just a few inches to bring on the Christmas mood. The party was being held at my Nephew Bill's new home. It has the perfect floor plan for a gathering of our size. They have the best toy room where most of the little ones spent time enjoying themselves. But before I get into the party mode, I just have to show you the delish surprise I received on Thursday from my friend Darlene...(Grandma Robbins Nest). She sent me a wonderful Danish pastry that she makes for her family. I was blown away that she would think of us and send it all the way from California. Bloggers are just the best people! When I opened the box it smelled so heavenly...like she had just baked it that morning and brought it personally to my home...I'm surprised the mailman didn't eat it! I took it with us to share with my Mom and Sis...they loved it too and were so surprised that she would do this. So here's a pic of Mom and I and Jack too, enjoying this for breakfast. We warmed it up and gobbled it down. Thanks again Darlene! On the way to Chicago Jack gave me my Christmas present early...a new camera! I was so surprised and excited! I really think he was tired of me chattering the whole way..I should say I was complaining about work..and he sprung it on me. So that kept me occupied for a long time. Now I just need to learn how to use it and all the knobs and gizmos...hopefully I'll get better pics soon. These are just a small example and I haven't truly gotten the hang of it yet.
Looks who gets the last piece...I think it was all that was left after we were done!
All gone! It was so yummy! Thanks so much Darlene...you are the best!
After breakfast we did a little running around and gathering all the last minute items for the party. We headed over to Bill's and the fun began! Before all the craziness begins, it's good to get some classic shots..like Jack, Me and Mommo.
Me and my Grandkiddo Sophie...
Me and Mom..
The party started at 3pm with appetizers first...everyone was to bring an appetizer and a dessert. The rest of the meal was taken care of. Here's our son Craig catching up with Jack.
My nephew has a heated garage that connects to the house and it was the perfect place to set up for dinner. My Sister helped to decorate and set up the tables. Nice job Midge! She also made most of the food...maybe all of it...she's incredible.
After dinner there was a visit from a special guest. The kids were so happy to see him!
This was the first time my #2 Son and his family were able to attend this annual get together. They move around the country because of his job and it just worked out great this year that they could be there. The kids enjoyed being with cousins they've only seen a few times and they really loved Santa!
One last group shot with the BIG MAN himself and it was off to the North Pole. My Grandson Taylor realized after Santa went upstairs to leave that this would be the perfect time to see the sleigh. He made a running start to the stairs yelling: "Hey, I want to see the sleigh!"...he was caught mid way up the stairs and told that Santa needed to really be on his way...some things just need to be kept a secret. I love that he believes so completely....just like me.
After Santa left we had the adults get together for the traditional "White Elephant" gift exchange. Every year we gather our "not so great" items we may have hanging around the house, or gifts that were not our favs, or just plain silly things and wrap them up for this fun gifting time. We pull numbers and take a gift in numerical order. If you like a previous gift you can steal it from that person and they have to repick one. I never knew how much bad taste we had in our family until this tradition was started. Here's my daughter-in-law Amy picking out her gift.
Zoom in on that shirt...if you dare.
After all the gifts are opened, fought over, traded...this is what you get.
We had a great time and really enjoyed seeing family again. I have more pics to share and a fun video I was trying to share...it just would not download..but I'll try again and get it on the blog. Now the count down is on to truly finish all the preparation, final shopping, cooking, cleaning...whew..the race is on! But the fun can still continue! I'll be excited to capture every moment with the new camera...and my family will be so happy to keep posing and smiling I'm sure...maybe!