Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is always spent at the lake with Jared's family.



There's always plenty of room for family to visit and the kids to run and play.





We enjoy seeing Jared's Great Grandma Ella, who is 94, and sharp as a tack. She always remembers the kids' birthdays and they remember her because of that!

The kids were super excited to see Grandpa and Grandma but the cousins take the cake when they're around!

We were so happy Brian, Stacy, and the kids came in from South Carolina!















Auntie Janice and Mandy
Janice is famous for dip making among other talents...





Cousin Tina with Nathan, who is only a couple of weeks older than Sullivan. Isn't he a cutie? Look at that blonde mop!







Auntie Suzy's good at keeping babies warm and snuggly.








This lil' dream baby hardly ever cries, already smiles more than the average baby her age, and sleeps through the night at 8 weeks. But who's keeping track of stats? HA!
The first girl addition to the family made by somebody other than myself - "Miss Emma Kate."
I've decided being an Auntie to only one neice is quite dangerous, so I'm hoping someone will help me out of my predicament at some point. It's just way too tempting when there's only one to think of not to just get it for her. She just might end up being one spoiled little neicling!









Christmas Eve Dinner complete with the traditional salmon and sausage.








This is only one of two large tables, and we still have to scatter elsewhere to eat now!











Mandy and Stacy with Sophie














Ethan, Brady and Austin playing checkers.










Jared, Sullivan, and Jenn. Looks like Sully's getting his share!

















Proud Daddy moment...
















The whole kit and caboodle!














Grandpa Chuck reads the Christmas story with Kelsey on his lap.


















Sophie's always taken a liking to Auntie Stacy.


















Alexis held on to Sullivan during the Bible reading and they sat pretty nicely together. Good job Lex!









































Madeline with her prize bag from Uncle Jon and Auntie Michelle. Those glow sticks and planes sure were a big hit!





















Santa and Mrs. Clause!





















Uncle Brian with Sullivan























Sophie falling apart after no nap and lots of sugar well after 8 o' clock! It was all down hill after this! HA!






















Christmas Day

was spent at the lake and we all enjoyed the annual breakfast of scrambled eggs, and Auntie Mary's scrumptous monkey bread.

We played games together, and laughed, and ate food with ridiculous amounts of fat and calories and just had a great time together!

The little kids seemed to entertain themselves with most anything and gave us lots of hammy smiles.




Grandma, Great Grandma, and Auntie Suzy all snuggled up on the couch enjoying a book together.





Another game of Uno Attack for the cousins. It's MN versus SC!


The girls played Yahtzee for the first time. I'm so grateful for family that loves to play with each other including the children. And they know it too!
Too many times I think it's tempting for adults, including myself, to shove children away to play, and then we wonder why they don't want anything to do with us later on in life... Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for alone time occasionally, but it's just nice to know my children are loved and appreciated as real people when around their Great Aunts and Uncles and 2nd cousins...
Who could shove this little ham away?








Rivers Family Christmas

Well, we hunkered down for our own family Christmas Saturday night and exchanged gifts between our immediate family which is always a fun time full of laughs and surprises.

From "Couch Pouches" (which are sorta like Snuggies) one year, to our annual homemade pajamas and books for the kids from Grandma and Grandpa, it's always a great time!


Sophie's bursting with excitement!


Madeline adores her Uncle Brian. Wish we could see him more. He's so good with the kids! Always playing with them and horsing around...
Here's my nephews, Jake and Noah. They are just some of the best boys ever! Aren't they adorable? I'm not sure how much longer I can say that without getting into trouble so I better get out all my mushy comments while I can!





Noah just loved his new "Toy Story" walkie talkies.


Harrison got a plane set from Uncle Brian and Auntie Stacy. He. Hasn't. Put. Them. Down. Good job Auntie Stacy!



Alexis has devoured the books she received and is on to her siblings books now! HA!










Keilah Grace got a new goat clip for her belt loop from Auntie. Anything animal for this gal is a hit!





Brady and Austin both received books and are now going to start the Sugar Creek Gang Series. Good choice Grandma!







Jared and I both received a beautiful family heirloom quilt hanging. I'll post a picture after I hang it. It's so amazing, and I know so much work went into it, and it's just so perfect and personal. My favorite kind of gift ever. I'll save my other gushy comments when I post pictures later!
















Sophie just loves her new princess purse which is just perfect for her since she's so into girly things right now.






Sullivan got a train book. YAY! for cardboard books is all I have to say! HA!









Lexie bought Grandpa and Grandma each a gift with her own money and was so excited to share them with them. She really put alot of thought into what they would really like.










The Infamous Jammies!
Aren't these to die for?
The girls all have cupcake jammies right down to Emma, who has a blanket made out of the same material and the boys ended up with donuts this year! Couldn't you just eat them up they're so cute?


































My little Donut Man. I think he's pulls off pink just fine don't you?
Remember, real men wear pink... even if it's their big sister's princess slippers.
Shhhh!!! Don't tell Sophie!








King of the Mountain


Sunday morning started out with Grandma's Egg Bake which always puts a smile on everyone's face and then we headed off to the chapel where Jared grew up and we were able to see lots of old familiar faces which was a treat.

We really don't go back home that much anymore as it's so hard to pack up 10 people that can't do much for themselves in the packing and unpacking department yet. I hope as they get older, that will get easier so the kids can be around their grandparents more.





The afternoon was filled with visiting with relatives while the children played to their heart's content outside. It was really quite warm - around 20, which is great for this time of year!

They played King of the Mountain which of course, resulted in squabbles and tears, but they always seemed to go back for more! So thanks Grandpa and Uncle Brian for making us our mountain. We sure had loads of fun!





The older 8 children have really graduated to entertaining themselves with little to no intervention which we adults think is fantastic. They all got along so well and played lots of Uno Attack together.





They did a bit of "How to Train Your Dragon" as well. :)

Thanks Tina, for the "divine entertainment" that night!