Monday, December 15, 2014

Jingle and Mingle....Arends style!

It's hard to believe this weekend is over and we're back home.  Our family get togethers are always packed with good fun, good food, good people and many memories.   Before we left home, our tree needed to get decorated.  Thanks Addy and Lexi for lending a hand and doing a great job!
TA DA!  With the tree done and our bags packed....along with tons of stuff we  packed in the car...we headed out.  The weather  has been a weird warm.  That's OK with me because it makes the drive much easier and less stressful.  We've  had our fun of "dashing through the snow" in past years...I'll take this warm weather!  We're lucky to have Mom with us.  At 88 she's a marvel!
Isn't she cute?!  This year my niece Katie and  her family were hosting the "Jingle and Mingle" event.  They have a beautiful  home and plenty of room for all.
Pretty huh? Then the family began to appear.  Young and youngers!
My niece Amy and her little boy Parker.  (She's a mom of 3...all 3 and under!)
My brother Rick (with Jack) came from northern Wisconsin...he looks so much like my Dad!
Mom and Katie's Mother-in-law who's holding the youngest member...Amy's little guy Conner (7 months old).  Hmm...Mom the younger and Conner the youngest! Ha!
Of course Santa made an appearance for all the other "youngest" of us! His glasses were steamed up..he's used to the frigid North Pole, not the warmish Chicago.
My niece Katie with her little guy Mason giving Santa his gift of cookies.
It was then time for the adults to have the yearly "White Elephant" gift exchange.  Maybe you call it "Bad Santa" gift exchange.  No matter, it's always a hoot!  Somehow everyone gets that perfect, imperfect present.  Many times the same gifts get re-gifted each year.  Like this one:
These charming Christmoose shorts have made a few appearances on my blog over the years!  Along with the moose made out of socks wreath....enjoy Vicki and and George!
My Sister is eagerly digging into her cleaner and wipes and car freshners...(from yours truly!) She loved it!  It was very fun to see how perfect the gifts were for those who received them this year.  My brother's daughter is getting married next year and she opened the often passed around gift of a fertility goddess...given by my niece know, the one with 3 kids 3 and under! Amy was very happy to get that thing out of her house! I'm sure Betsy will be too! My sister-in-law who hates sock monkeys got the last gift left...a sock monkey mug...go figure!  So what did I get? Well, what every good non-drinking Mormon girl needs:
A bottle of wine and a dish to put cheese was re-gifted immediately! Ha! Time went quickly...dinner was delish and all the goodies were overwhelming...the company was fun and I even got to talk to my brother in Atlanta who couldn't make it out this year.  Hugs were given all around:
And soon it was time to go.  As I looked around the room I realized that all the little ones who used to scamper for Santa and eagerly await his arrival, are now the ones with kiddos who are continuing the tradition.  The younger members are hosting the event instead of Mom or one of us.  We miss those who couldn't make it.  None of my boys could this year but my Granddaughter Driana did..along with her boyfriend.  Makes me feel very old!  I'm grateful for this family and for the love and laughter and good times that have been the constant over the years.  It's good to have the important things stay the same!


Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, dear YaYa! I'm happy to know you're back home and didn't have to plow through snow this year. Your mother always amazes me with how youthful she looks. Not that 88 is old. 88 is practically the new 18! I was shocked when I saw your brother Rick because he does strongly resemble your father. The White Elephant gift exchange is a great idea for large families, especially the re-gifting aspect in which the same goofy gifts turn up every year to trigger gales of laughter. Seeing pictures of you and your loved ones always makes me happy, dear friend. You are fortunate to have such a wonderful family. Enjoy the rest of your week, YaYa!

gin said...

What a blessed jingle and mingle time especially to have your mom heading up her crew. She is surely blessed! Merry Christmas!

betty said...

Such a wonderful celebration! Your mom looks great! I love to read about family traditions like this! I hope it continues on for many more years!!!!


Rick Watson said...

I have to find me a Christmas Moose:)
I miss those Christmas gatherings. My mom's house was always a madhouse on Christmas Eve, but after they passed away Christmas changed for us.
Your post made me smile, and a little sad at the same time.

Susan Anderson said...

What a wonderful family party you have each year, and yes, your mom is adorable. As you well know, mine is adorable, too, but she isn't feeling so well this December. Sadly, she fell while getting out of bed recently and either bruised or cracked her tailbone. She is kinda miserable just now.

Dick had his heart surgery (ablation), and his heart is back in sinus rhythm. He still seems very weak, though, but I've read that it can take three months to entirely heal and it hasn't quite been a month. I wish he had a little more pep, as it is hard for him to manage. Of course, they don't want help…and we try to get down there as often as possible, but they need more. They are stubborn!

Anyway, I wish you and the family a Merry Christmas.


Hilary said...

It's very much what our family Hanukkah parties are like. We call it a tacky exchange and can steal from one another.

Your family is lovely.. and heavy on the female chromosomes! And you and your sister look very much alike.

Julia said...

Thanks for sharing your family gathering with us again this year. It's always a fun post to read.
Wow... those kids are growing.
Your mom is awesome.


Deb Shucka said...

Thank you for sharing this celebration with us. Gorgeous tree. Gorgeous mom. Lots of love and happiness shining through.

Munir said...

Such a nice collection of family pictures. Children and grown ups alike having fun. No wonder you call the gathering Jingle and Mingle.

Sweet Tea said...

I can tell by reading that your heart is full. What a lovely family to be a part of. I think the older we get the more we really enjoy these family Christmas get-togethers. Loved the photos and nice to see your Mom looking so good...We head to Okla this weekend for our family parties. So special!

Kim said...

You sure know how to do the holidays right! Have a Merry Christmas.
P.S. Your Momma looks great