Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Brandon, G-pa, G-ma, Me, Kent, and Marissa at Kent's graduation party--12/17/11

Christmas is always such a whirlwind--and begins on Black Friday for our family.  This year we weren't waking up at 3 am to hit the stores; instead, not going to sleep and getting there at 8 pm.  As most of you know, I wasn't too fond of these changes and hope that next year the stores get it right.  Black Friday is the starting gate for Christmas--and I was out to a beautiful lead.  That first weekend the shopping was done, the tree was up, the house was aglow, and cards ready to be mailed.  That's how I roll.

So with such an amazing lead, one would think there'd be no rushing around at the last minute.  Yeah.  Not so much...  On Christmas Eve day, Marissa and I found ourselves running around like crazy people getting all of the last minute gifts, all the items I'd forgotten for our Christmas buffet, and whatever else needed to be done.  With literally minutes to spare before we needed to leave to my sister's boyfriend Kyle's house, we rolled into the driveway.  Rissa jumped into the shower, I started making the veggie/meat tray that I'd forgotten to do earlier, and Kent printed out directions for Brandon--he had to work and would meet us at the party.

Kent, me, my mom, and dad in our ugly sweaters--
Christmas Eve 2011
With the car loaded up--looked as though we'd be moving in--and our ugly Christmas sweaters donning our backs, we drove to Brandon's work.  On the way, I teased Kent about who'd be going into Safeway to deliver the directions.  After all, we did have on these atrocious sweaters on!  Marissa said there was no way she'd be going in!  haha  When we arrived I made my way into the store, where Fuzzy was bagging groceries.  I was turning some serious heads when he noticed me.  "Oh my GOD!  Look at my mom's sweater!"  He gave me a hug, I went over the directions with him, and with a chuckle made my way back to the car.  I love the way he's not embarrassed to just love his mama.

Amanda & Marissa
Driving to Brighton we saw the wild Bison--something I've only seen 3 times now in the million times I've driven by the conservation site.  They were beautiful against the setting sun and the snow covering the field.  Christmas music filled the car--I love the feeling that the season brings about.  It's cozy.

When we arrived at the Dosco's place, new introductions were to be made.  We met his sister, her family, and his mom.  They were all kind and welcoming.  The food my sister and Kyle put together was ridiculous.  Starting with all the apps--from shrimp cocktail to stuffed
 mushrooms, Amanda's now famous Oreo balls to Marissa's 7 layer bars.  There was a ton of food!  By the time dinner arrived--complete with a brisket that spent 16 hours on their grill, asparagus, green bean casserole, homemade mac-n-cheese, and more--there was no room in my belly.  I ate no dinner.  Was too full!

Following dinner, we had the ugly sweater contest.  The winner was hands down--no competition for my father!  His beautifully crafted tinseled cuffs stole the show!  Kent and I wore former "winners" from a party in 2008.  Bran and Roo removed theirs as soon as we arrived and they saw not everyone was part of the contest...  It was fun!

G-pa, Kent, and Fuzz
And then there was the white elephant exchange--with a lot of just nasty, funny gifts.  Kent's took the cake and I ended up with a "pornament"--a new genre of ornament for me!  Good times!

Christmas Eve is a bit different in our home now that Brandon's 17 and Rissa's 15.  Getting them to bed "early" so Santa can arrive just doesn't happen any more.  Kent and I filled the stockings, and hit the hay.  Brandon, Amanda, and Marissa were busy wrapping gifts and just hanging out the way cousins do.  "Make sure you don't stay up too late--gotta work in the morning," I told Fuzz--something I've never had to say before.  He was schedule to work on Christmas morning at 8 am.

Expecting to be awoken at the usual 4 am, I found myself waking up due to the sun shining through our bedroom window.  What the...?  I picked up my phone and discovered it was almost 7 am!  Geeze! I rushed into their bedrooms and woke up the kids--if we didn't open the gifts up now, we'd have to wait until after Bran got home from work...  They flew out of their beds and we all headed down the stairs.  Paper went flying and we had a great morning.  They were both surprised and thankful for all of their gifts--as were Kent and I.  It was wonderful.

Once Fuzz was off to work, the craziness of the morning began.  Michael, Kent's son, would be arriving at 10 am, with the rest of the family coming at 1 pm.  There was a ton to do!  I threw in Christmas Vacation on the DVD for Marissa to watch while enjoying her Cinnabon, and got started.  This Christmas would consist of grazing food--no sit down dinner this year!  I was like the Iron Chef whipping up a spinach artichoke dip (turned out awesome), beer cheese dip (not so great), and a brandy infused chocolate dip (AMAZING!).  There was food everywhere, once again!
Kent and Michael

Me and Joelle in our new
Packer robes!
When the family arrived we ate, played pool, ate, opened presents, ate, had a game of charades (FUN!), ate, watched the Packers game ( A WIN!) and ate some more!  It was a wonderful time.  I'm reminded every year of what a fun family I have.  I love hanging out with these people!  I laugh so much when they are all around.  It's just good times.  Today as I'm taking down all of the lights, the ornaments, and putting away all of the snowmen,  I can't help but smile and wait for next year's celebration.

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