Happy “Family” Christmas!

As earlier mentioned, tonight was our Family Christmas.  Most of us live pretty far away from our immediate family (Tim’s family is in Colfax, about 30 minutes away, ours are in Brighton and Riverside, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours away, Jon’s family is in Colorado .. you get it), so it’s always been a comfort and a huge support to have these guys close.  In a way, they really are an extension of our own family, and we love ’em!

So, each year, we get together, and this year we went big!  I even cooked!  Stephanie brought delicious chicken and noodles, and I made cheese soup (because that’s one of two soups that Tim will eat), and some fattening dips.  Andy made Paula Dean’s caramel cheesecake, and Amy and Jon made buttermilk brownies!  It was a feast!

After our feast, we gifted, and it looked like Santa’s toy shop exploded in our living room!  Everyone went all out, and we all made out like bandits!  It’s was great!  Andy 2, Stephanie and I got to the envied “Present B!tches” while we passed out gifts, and we went around to watch, and ohhh and ahhh, over what everyone received.

To top off the night, we went to Jolly Holiday Lights, a light display in Des Moines.  I was thinking “Wizards of Winter”-style lights, to music with a big show.  But I got a lit-up character doing something Christmas’y … and the car was packed with Tim, Zach, Steph, Andy, And 2, Isaac, Carter, and I, and I got stuck between the wailing cries of Isaac, then Carter, and Isaac, and the grand finale of Carter again.   It was not so jolly!

All in all, it was a super-fun night!
Merry Christmas to all!

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Christmas Double Trouble!  Isaac & Carter

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The Gruesome-Two’some tag-teams the cat!  Not fair!

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Settling in for gifting

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“The Present B!tch” passes out gifts

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Carter, Amy and Jon patiently await their presents

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Tim, Carter and Andy.  Don’t let Tim fool you – he loves Isaac and Carter!  Big softy!

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“Present B!tch” number two, Stephanie

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Saving the last “Present B!tch” for last

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Tim and Andy unwrap all the essentials to make lemonade

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Isaac and Carter open their joint gift: a package of bouncy balls!  Gee … thanks … 

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Amy and Jon opening a card game for Game Night

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Stephanie unwraps “Uno Spin!,” from the makers of “Uno Attack Your Face Off!”

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Stephanie was really excited about Uno … but not as excited as Isaac and Carter …

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… but when Carter realized she had to share Uno with Isaac, she was no longer excited!

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Jolly Holiday Lights (downgrade)

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The snowman plugging in the lighting extravangza

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It was a car ride full of this … 

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… and this … 

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… and two very irritated babies!

Party preparation

This evening, we’re having our “Family Christmas,” a gathering of our closest Ankeny-to-Marshalltown friends who are as close as family.  We’re having dinner, opening gifts, and having fun.  

And, of course, Carter had to be ready!  Beauty isn’t easy, you know!

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Cleaning all the germies, juice, and breakfast off!  And being adorable while doing it!

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“Looking this good isn’t easy, you know!”