Sunday, January 1, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

I am painfully aware that I haven't posted here for... a while :) I had high hopes of doing a cute "Merry Christmas!" post on Christmas Day and all that fun stuff, but a relaxing day trumped that.

Then the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day was full of celebrating, relaxing, being away from home, and getting ready for my family's "Christmas" on New Year's Eve.

Here's some quick catch-up.

This picture would've been on my annual "Merry Christmas!" post on Christmas Day:

This picture would've been in my post about our Christmas Day:
Our Christmas Day was preceded by no less than two Christmas Eve services back to back. One at Daniel's parent's church where his family had been asked to sing, and then the one at our church where we had been asked to please be there if we at all could since many of the choir members were going to be out of town that evening. So we hurried and scurried and were able to be at both. We could have gone to our church Christmas Day (it was the service only, no Sunday School), but our general rule of thumb is to STAY HOME on the 25th. Plus after the day before, we were ready to spend some time as a family at home. So that's what we did. It was a wonderful, relaxing day.

Another "rule" for our Christmas Days is to have special munchy foods instead of cooking and baking. This year we added a shrimp ring to our simple menu - yum! Other than that, I had made ahead a quiche for breakfast and made some easy Monkey Bread that morning to go with it. I had also made 3 different pies - each of our "favorites" - Coconut Cream, Peanut Butter and Pumpkin. We also nibbled on a summer sausage with crackers and cheese.

We happily broke our "stay home" rule that evening and went to Daniel's parent's house to enjoy a casual but delicious dinner with his parents, grandma (Susannah's great-grandma), brother and his family. It was also a fun excuse to watch Daniel's Christmas gift, The Jungle Book, that for some reason doesn't play in our cheapy dvd player.

The following Monday was the official "Christmas" with Daniel's family, then it was back to work for Daniel on Tuesday. Tuesday evening we had dinner with his family again before his brother and his family headed back home on Wednesday. It was a fun few days of visiting, being together and some goofing off (that's what brothers do, right?) :)

Thursday Susannah and I ran some errands that included getting a few last-minute food gifts for my side of the family. I also finished cleaning the house for the week. Then Daniel and I packed up everything to head to my parent's for the weekend.

All day Friday I spent getting things (food-related) ready for Saturday for "Christmas" with my family. My oldest sister was able to come and help, and my mom finished doing some cleaning. Earlier in the week different ones of my sisters (who live locally to my parents) had gone up and done some prep-work, too, so it didn't all have to be done at once. Over the years we have discovered that the more detailed and organized the preparations are, the smoother the function goes. With my parents, grandma, siblings, sibling's spouses and the grandkids, it is a total of 26 people (I think...). This year we stream-lined things even better: we pre-cooked the turkey and ham, and picked or sliced them the day before. It was SO nice to be able to have more leisure time to visit Saturday morning instead of spending it bent over the turkey.

Susannah "helped" me a lot on Friday.
One thing she enjoyed doing was unwrapping
63 tea bags to make 8 gallons of tea :)
(I made the tea in 2 gallon batches, so
she didn't unwrap ALL 63 teabags at once.)

The day of our "Christmas" went off without too many hitches. After the noon meal (the big meal for the day) we did gifts. I didn't get a whole lot of pictures (I hope to get some from my sister who was taking several), but here are a few.

Susannah's uncles (my 2 brothers) gave her a grocery basket
of plastic fruit and vegetables. Here she is in her new pink chair
saying "Mmmm!" about the plastic grapes :)

Enjoying her very first lollipop :)

The day was full of food, fun, games and visiting with each other. Susannah had more "junk food" that day than she's probably had in her entire life, but that's what special days are for :)

One cute thing from the day that I want to remember is how Grandpa (my dad) shared his chips with Susannah. He had gotten a bag of potato chips as a gift, and she LOVES chips ("bip!" in her vocabulary). He opened the bag to sample them, and she noticed right away that he was eating "bip!" and went over to investigate. She spent probably 10 minutes at his side helping him taste-test his chips :) I think they both enjoyed it!