As delighted as I am to put away the "Christmas clutter" (by the end of the season it really starts to bug me and we like to start the New Year fresh), I'm still feeling a little sad that the holiday season is coming to an end. We had a great one.
On Christmas Eve, Utah Dad cooked our traditional rib roast (we watch for the sales all season to grab a big one at a good price). It was perfect--medium rare and juicy. I added some mashed potatoes, gravy and additional fixings to the dinner. My in-laws stopped by for a couple of hours in the afternoon to eat with us.
After dinner, the kids opened their Christmas jammies. We attempted to do our reenactment of the nativity. I couldn't find most of the costume items we've used in the past. They must be in that box we didn't get out this year. The kids love this but they were also very excited and "being still" did not really happen.
After we read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and sang some hymns, the kids went to bed and Utah Dad and I set up our new TV so that we could watch It's a Wonderful Life together before going to bed.
The boys woke up just after seven and proceeded to wake the girls. They were pleasantly surprised to see that Santa had returned their names to the "nice list" and left them some lovely gifts. He didn't leave Amberly a violin or the game Neal finally decided he wanted on Christmas Eve (we warned him that Santa's sleigh was already loaded) but they still got most of what they requested.
We spent Christmas day in our pajamas playing our new games and watching our new movies. Utah Dad made "Breakfast Dinner" for breakfast. I cut up cheese and summer sausage to eat on crackers for lunch. The entire day was delightful and relaxing.
We loved learning and playing the new games Santa left in Amberly's and Utah Dad's stockings. Sleeping Queens and Loot are both fun, reasonably priced card games from GameWright. I was surprised that even Neal loves to play Sleeping Queens.
My uncle and cousins joined us. We ate delicious soup in bread bowls; visited; played basketball and ran relay races; sang Christmas carols and watched the children perform a talent show of sorts. The kids sang songs, told jokes and danced. My sister captured some wonderful blackmail style video of Neal dancing that could be very valuable during this teenage years.
Sunday morning we gathered in the ward where we grew up and my brother blessed his fourth baby and first daughter. Another brother sang the musical number accompanied by his wife. I didn't get to stay in the meeting for long because Thomas shouted out "I need to throw up". How could I stay? Everyone turned to look. I recognized the fear in their eyes. I took him straight to the restroom. He didn't. I'm pretty sure he just figured out a new way to get out of Sacrament Meeting.
Amberly informed me this weekend that she "needs to grow up on a farm". She had just come in from helping Grandpa feed his horses. My daughters and nieces LOVE horses. So Grandpa arranged to take the girls and some of the boys to his friends' house to see their miniature horses. The horses were so cute and little and gentle and the kids had a great time. The kids got to pet them, feed them, lead them around and even sit on their backs. I think I know what the girls will be asking Santa for next year. The owner invited us back this spring to see the baby miniature horses.
One of my favorite times at my parents' house is when all the kids go to bed and the adults gather in the dining room with treats and games. We visit and eat and have a great time. Sunday night we pulled out my sister's new game--Curses. I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time. My cheeks hurt and my side ached. There are some really funny people in my family.
We stayed up too late. We ate too much food. By the time we left my parents' home yesterday, Utah Dad felt a little like this miniature horse.
We were exhausted and harried by the time we got home last night. But it was worth it because it was so much fun. Bring on New Year's Eve!