Oh what a day, what a perfect day. Love when that happens! The rain held off and the kids here were even able to go swimming. Unfortunately, Jeni is not in my group photo here because she was setting up the camera. I do hope to get one from the others that were taken and have everyone in the photo. :)
The twins, Jake and Alex, are the new additions to the family and they are absolutely precious and gorgeous. Bill and I met Todd, Tom's brother and his wife, Erika (parents of the gorgeous er..handsome twins!). They have traveling with babies down to a science with pac n plays and portable high chairs, etc. They make it seem flawless, both parents working in tandem to care for the little ones. It was amazing (and tiring) just watching them and the system they have obviously developed for taking care of Jake and Alex. I enjoyed getting to know them so much and hope to see more of them in the future because they don't live too far from our home in NC.
Pam (Tom's sister) came with two of her children, Marc and Leah. The hard part, Seth, their son, is not doing well and so Greg, Pam's husband, stayed home with him while Pam got a bit of time away. It was a much needed respite I am sure. Our prayers and thoughts go out to them as they try to find a treatment for Seth that will work and thathe will get well again. We missed you Greg and Seth.
Jeni and Tom came in Jeni's new car. They are enjoying that car so much. Jeni's car needed so many repairs. She had a hard time giving it up because it was Brian's car but Bill worked out a way to make it easier on her.
Leah kept waiting for Jeni to arrive and Jeni spent time with her and her new Christmas toy (which I've forgotten the name of now but Jeni said it can be called a death trap. LOL That's what I used to call my kids go carts and skate board). It's cute to watch them together and watching Jeni worrying over Leah trying to master her skateboard-type toy. She was getting pretty good on it by the time she left tonight.
Wayne, Yamelis, and GJ were here and we had a little time for one on one talk when everyone left last night. GJ has a good life right now with the military and he does seem more grown up than before he left for basic. He and a girl here are serious and we talked a lot about that. I hope he doesn't get TOO serious yet. Next year I think he will be in NC stationed at Fort Brag. We just have to appreciate the time he is with us because we don't know when he'll be here for Christmas. This was a good year all around though having him home. His mom is just beaming and both are so proud of him.
We had more than enough to eat, OMG, the desserts were incredible. We had good luck cake and Italian Love Cake (recipe given to me by my Italian friend, Jeannette) that everyone got a taste of those so that good luck and love will be coming up in 2009. LOL Now that I think about it most of my recipes come from my friends. I made Jessie's cranberry salad and Fran's make ahead mashed potatoes. One curious little dessert that I enjoyed was mice (yep, not a creature was stirring). They are made with a maraschino cherry for the rump and tail, a candy kiss for the mouth, the whole thing covered in chocolate, and two almonds for ears. They piped on two eyes and a Santa hat and they were so cute and I will just have to make some for myself next year and add them to my cookie tray. Pam brought a dessert to die for, chocolaty and whipped cream. I will get the recipe for sure. Yum.
People were raving about Wayne and Yamelis' ham. It's a black forest ham and it was so good. Even the twins were eating it up!
Jeni and Tom brought two kinds of dressing, one with cranberries and they were yummy. Everything turned out really good. Bill grilled one turkey and deep fried another. I really couldn't tell much difference so opted for the grilled thinking it might be healthier. After finishing dinner I just thought "why bother thinking healthy on a day like today."
Alan and Kay brought an incredible pineapple dish, hot, sweet, that they always serve with ham. It was a big hit and I forgot to ask for that recipe as well. I'm going to have to start a book of recipes like these and everyone will think I'm such a good cook! LOL The only problem, if there was one, is that there was just too much food but that's not really news. We had take-out for anyone that wanted to fix their plates.
We played a game for the gift exchange. The person whose number is called can either choose a new gift to open from the gifts everyone brings or they can "steal" one from anyone who has already opened a gift. The game got lively and was so much fun. Kay heard of a new game for next year where a story is read and you pass the gift to your left every time "left" is mentioned in the story. When the story is over, you get the gift that is with you then. Sounds like fun but this was so much fun this year.
I'm so thankful Jeni and Tom brought these people into our lives. I had such a good feeling at days end. Not only full to the gills with food, but also full of the joy that comes with being surrounded by family. I just wanted it to last forever. Maybe it just will!
Merry Christmas to all of you who read this and may you be blessed in 2009.