Our Christmas Tree with the presents all taken out of the basement where the kids didn't even know they were and placed here, we didn't place anything out until that morning. Couple of things to mention...first Austin walked out and exclaimed much to my dismay and to Joe's excitement that Santa IS real (though she believes he delivers the presents that her family sends her in the mail...hey it's her story and she's sticking to it). And I wouldn't let Joe wrap the presents that were shipped nor did I want the boxes opened before hand. After Christmas and talking with him about this I think I may be the only person that feels this way but, I didn't have Christmas so obviously I never saw a tree with presents under it other than in movies and I also didn't used to get packages in the mail. Except for one...once a year because my Grandma hated the fact that we didn't celebrate holidays she would send my brother and I a box each with crumpled up one dollar bills in it...usually totaling thirty bucks or so. Tadd and I would just light up seeing the box, our names were written on it and we didn't know how you would get a package from Grandma's house to ours but we knew she took time and effort to do so. We would open it and smooth out each dollar bill and count and re-count them all day. (Those people with little kids reading this...trust me, one day your kids will receive this exact same present because I loved it) So I wanted the girls to feel something like I did, the boxes that were shipped from all over the place with their name(s) on it are such a big deal to me maybe I can pass that down to them.
Now fast forward to the afternoon when the rest of the family came over. Here are the boys Joe, Chris and Dane attempting to keep the kids in order without actually sitting with them.
Oh Nate...always a good time. And you can see my very first building in my Christmas Village...oh my goodness I am still so excited. I have always wanted one, thank you so much Marmee and Poppa.
I saved this picture for last, obviously no one is really looking at me so it's not a great portrait...except the sign in the back "Families Are Forever". I couldn't agree with this sign more and I also believe that all families look very different. Take for instance our Christmas this year.
Joe the girls and I. Adam, who Joe grew up with and now lives with us and his girlfriend Heather. My Mom and her husband George with his son Dane. My brother Tadd and his girlfriend (yep Tadd actually uses the "G" word with this one) Carri and her sister Sunni. George's daughter Amanda with her husband Larry their two daughters Liberty and Karson and his daughter Alexis. Amanda's first husband Chris, his wife Heather their daughter Hannah and Amanda and Chris' son Morgan along with Heather's brother Brad. And last but certainly not least Nate who both Adam and Joe grew up with. Not sure if anyone was keeping count or not but that was 23 guests for Christmas...which goes back to the Families are Forever, I actually don't care if you get a divorce and re-marry...I still want to see everyone and once a year I think we can make that happen.