Thursday, January 1, 2009

twas the friday after christmas

Happy New Year everyone!

As I mentioned yesterday, we spent a week or so in CA with Danny's side of the family starting the day after Christmas.  We left early and got there early afternoon so they had plenty of time to get sick of us we still had plenty of Friday to spend with them.  Good thing; they kept us busy the entire time. 

One of the things that we've all had complaints with in the past is that there's too much talk, not enough action when we all get together.  Like, no one can decide what to do--we spend half our time trying to figure out where to eat, what movie to see, what we're doing when, and then dinner ends up happening at 9:30 at night.  This time around, Sharon (Danny's step-mom) made a schedule complete with hour by hour play by play and a chore chart, so the wives not one group of people were left doing the setting up, cooking, and cleaning each meal. It was really helpful!  It was nice knowing exactly when and where we were doing what as well.  You know me.  I like to follow the rules.

Along with new baby JJ that we had not met yet, there were 24 people at this reunion.  That made for some crowded dinners, loud conversations, and really fun times!

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The DS's were a big hit with everyone--Sean was playing on one just about the whole time we were there!  He was also really busy with his camera, which was cool.  Looks like his present will be perfect for him!

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12 adults and 12 kids in attendance--they all got along pretty well, too.  The guys cooked burgers and dogs the first night while the gals worked on making real gingerbread for the gingerbread house making competition extravaganza!

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The kids helped a lot with ours, so it is not cute, I won't mince words.  But it held up pretty well--all the others in the competition broke several times, or caved in.

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My favorite part about it was the snowman and trees we built.

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Danny's brother Brian's roof collapsed so many times, he finally decided to make it a stable and added a manger, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and sheep.  It won the award for most Christmas spirit.

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Danny's sister Heather's was perfect and beautiful.  It won the award for prettiest house.

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Danny's sister Amy's house was cute but would not stay up.  It had curtains and everything.  ;)  Hers won the award for most colorful.

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Ours won for most creative.  I think it was the shrubberies that won us that award.  (how many of you just shrieked in your heads: shrubbery!!  No?  only me?)

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To the left of ours is Danny's brother Mike's house (somehow I didn't get a picture of them.)  Their award was most original or something like that.

The best part of this evening was the competition--it was hilarious!  We all laughed and laughed so much as we were making things and racing against the clock (30 minutes on the dot) and then of course as the houses began suffering earthquakes or sabotage, it got even funnier.

Later, we settled down for some Christmas presents.

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All the kids got one of these really cool pillows.

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One of them had a whole in it within the first 10 minutes.  I sewed it right up.

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Each of the families got an FHE kit that Sharon had made for us.

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I didn't get a good picture at the time (maybe a future blog post?) but it's a large box/filing system full of everything you'd ever need to put on a successful family home evening, complete with dry erase board and markers, the gospel library pictures, a journal to detail what we do all year long, and folders for anything and everything you could think of for storage purposes.  Very cool!

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We got Dan's Dad and Sharon a homemade calendar with fun pictures from the family this past year, along with the handprint quilt frame thing I made all the other grandparents.

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We spent each evening sitting together and as a family having a small devotional of sorts, 2-3 of the missionaries in the family sharing a missionary moment each night.  Among the group, we had missionaries from Ecuador, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Texas, and Puerto Rico.  Lots of great memories shared.  I always feel like such a white girl at these get-togethers.

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We went to bed after midnight each night, I think, so the kids slept hard.

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You know how they love sleeping in the living room.

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Ethan--ever my early riser--up at 6:30 or 7 most days.

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Up tomorrow:  photo shoot!


LIZZEE said...

Looks like a lot of fun

The Bluths said...

It took me a minute to figure out why Cameron's football said Hsooms. Then I realized it was Swoosh upside down.

Anonymous said...

"You must brin me.........ANOTHER Shrubbery!!!!!!!! Ni!"


Modern Princess said...

Sounds like an awesome time! My husband's family is also very much a "sit around and talk for 4 days straight" at reunions. Gets kinda boring for the kids. Fortunately they do have the food pretty much planned (which is make large batches at the first meal and just eat it over and over...) Not the best system, but I only have to bring a few bags of chips and no cooking..yay!

I LOVE the gingerbread house competition btw. Awesome idea!

Dahlene said...

Looks like a fun Christmas with family. We had a blast with ours too.

jinxi~ aka angi said...

I loveeee the shrubs!!! Whats a home without greenery? haha.
Looks like an absolute wonderful time. Your family is beautiful and your extended family as well. Thank you for sharing with all of us!

Lorie said...

What fun! Ni!

OneHappyfamily said...

This is what life is about... Not the gifts you forget about in a few weeks. Time spent is the best gift ever!

OneHappyfamily said...

This is what life is about... Not the gifts you forget about in a few weeks. Time spent is the best gift ever!