‘Twas the night before Christmas on the Wanch.

There were ZERO gifts under the tree at bedtime.
There were ZERO gifts under the tree at bedtime.

My husband and I decided to head down to my parent’s house (nicknamed The Wanch) for Christmas.

POOF - in the middle the night, the pile of presents begins to grow!
POOF – in the middle the night, the pile of presents begins to grow!

My baby sister was coming up from Houston and my four brothers were there,  A drive to Texas to visit Dan’s family is a bit longer and more expensive than a the short trip to my parent’s, we do Christmas in Texas every other year.

Kaylan adding more to the loot.
Kaylan adding more to the loot.

The last two years I felt like Christmas was too big and my family and  I got too many gifts.

Am I weird? Too many gifts???

Santa has been leaving cups of candy for years. Mom did away with the stockings and first we received Santa mugs, but after our mug collection had over taken our glasses, mother turned to cups. I dig the cups! Even as an adult, I still look forward to my cup.
Santa has been leaving cups of candy for years. Mom did away with the stockings and first replaced them with Santa mugs, but after our mug collection had over taken our glasses, mother turned to cups. I dig the cups! Even as an adult, I still look forward to my cup of chocolate. Best breakfast ever.

I don’t know, I just wanted to scale back and focus on the true meaning of the Holiday season.

Even the tree was adorned with gifts.
Even the tree was adorned with gifts.

The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is THE Gift. He gave each one of us a reason to celebrate. We give gifts as a representation of THE Gift.

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Santa Claus, Santa Klaus, St Nick…Saint Nicholas – a follower of Christ – is portrayed as a giver of gifts these days. But be it known, that Santa Claus became a giver of gifts because he was trying to pattern his life after the example of the Savior.

This is the stable, shelter so bare...
This is the stable, shelter so bare…

So, likewise, everyone in my family had the same idea. Everyone wanted to give something to each other.

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After the large dinner that my mother prepared (for over 20 people) and just as folks were ready to eat, my dad announced that one family of five couldn’t make it because the kids were sick.

Dad was watching Miss Congeniality on his laptop and laughing out loud - right outside the kids bedroom. Mom kept reminding him to be quiet. "Don't you wake those kids Peter!!"
Dad was watching Miss Congeniality on his laptop and laughing out loud – right outside the kids bedroom. Mom kept reminding him to be quiet. “Don’t you wake those kids Peter!!” He was still laughing as mom went off to bed.

Mom said, “I didn’t know they were coming.” Dad replied, “I invited them, but forgot to tell you.”

That’s how it rolls in their house…there is ALWAYS room in the Inn.

I spy a bike back there...Dad decided to leave it on the back porch so it would draw out the surprises.
I spy a bike back there…Dad decided to leave it on the back porch so we could draw out the surprises.

When bedtime for the kids came, the space under the tree was barren.

Late into the night we wrapped and talked or watched movies…the older boys set up a game table where the couch usually goes in the family room.

Ooooh, how many did they get apiece? They are counting.
Ooooh, how many did they get apiece? They are counting. He still doesn’t know about the gift waiting on the porch. But after he opens a box with a helmet…he soon discovers the bike.

others made good choices and went to bed early.

I went to bed close to 2am and the boys and Kaylan were still awake.

Baby's first Christmas!
Baby’s first Christmas! My favorite gift this year!

It could have been that sleep deprivation weakens our immune system, but several of the older folks in the house woke up sick.

Every year, without fail, at least one person is sick on Christmas eve/Day and the sickness is shared.

Wiley got a LEGO Millennium Falcon and his daddy Kragle-ized it. Wiley loves airplanes and spaceships!! He lost Han Solo an hour later. I found Han in the washing machine a week later and Daddy Kragled him to the ship.
Wiley got a LEGO Millennium Falcon and his daddy Kragle-ized it. Wiley loves airplanes and spaceships!! He lost Han Solo an hour later. I found Han in the washing machine a week later and Daddy Kragled him to the ship.

I still count my blessings. It wasn’t the flu and our life is very comfortable and prosperous.

Sparkling Cider anyone? That is always a good choice with breakfast!
Sparkling Cider anyone? That is always a good choice with breakfast!

I’m grateful I don’t need Bugatti’s or sail boats to make my life good (although, my husband would like a Bugatti if anyone was curious or feeling generous). I’m so happy to have my children healthy, I’m grateful we are able to pay our bills and that my husband is able to go to school.

Sorry, Wiley, unless you get a sister someday, you wont ever see Barbie's dream house under our family tree.
Sorry, Wiley, unless you get a sister someday, you wont ever see Barbie’s dream house under our family tree.

I don’t know what your Christmas wishes were, but I hope you felt the love and peace that I wish for you and yours!

Christmas Eve: Family Competition And Nativity Re-enactment

My only regret from Christmas Eve was, I should have used my good camera for taking photos instead of my pocket shooter… Oh well, grainy pictures are still pictures.

The adults gather after dinner for "minute to win it" games
The adults gather after dinner for “minute to win it” games

Christmas Eve dinner was held at Uncle Randy and Aunt April’s house, about an hour and a half drive from where we were staying in north Houston.

We arrived a bit late, but just in time for dinner.

Nona and her only grandbaby girl.
Nona and her only grandbaby girl.

They served Yahoo chocolate milk with dinner (among other options, but chocolate milk it was for me) and my day was made!

It wasn’t long after dinner when the “minute to win it” games began and the children dispersed on the property to run off the food.

The Nutcrackers...
The Nutcrackers…

Danny won the challenge of catching a cottonball on his lubed nose – he really is a talent amongst talents. It was a tough crowd.

I happen to be pretty good at blowing a cottonball across the table with a straw into a cup…not as good as PawPaw at throwing marshmellows into a bowl on my partner’s head.

P1000745 (800x533)After battling each other over silly games and collecting our small children, we all headed back inside the house for the Nativity re-enactment.

My part was pretty easy, I was supposed to read along and get the other actors where they needed to be.

My husband is a wise man.
My husband is a wise man.

My mother-in-law was the narrator and as she told the story, each character came on and acted out the part being read.

Every few paragraphs a Christmas song that correlated with the story was sung – that was my favorite part.

hahaha, Uncle Jim is a sheep..
hahaha, Uncle Jim is a sheep..sitting in a chair. The Angel tells the Shepherds of the baby in a manger.

After the Navitiy we gathered in a circle for the Jingle Bell game – we all brought our favorite candy bar and we roll dice looking for doubles – upon seeing double we yell “Merry Christmas” and grab a wrapped candy bar.

My sister-in-law and her baby girl
My sister-in-law and her baby girl

I got one chance at yelling “Merry Christmas” – which I hunted down the wrapping paper in the shape of the candy bar I brought…which I found and took…but it was taken from me. I didn’t win any candy bar from the game.

After after party
After after party

My father-in-law had three boxes of candy and gave me one of his – what a guy!

which I traded for a different candy 🙂

P1000766 (800x533)Afther the Jingle Bell game we openned gifts – My son made out like a bandit – we have been richly blessed.

Christmas Eve was a very enjoyable evening with lovely people.