We had an early Christmas with my extended family at my mother's home. Both of my sisters and their children were able to join us. My brother, newly married and living in Africa, was unable to be here this year. We missed him and his wife.
We started our time together with a bonfire to roast hot dogs for lunch. It was so warm we were able to eat outside on the deck.
Then the children all went on an adventure. My sister, Tracy, prepared a scavenger for the kids. They divided into boys (Jinglebells) and girls (Snowflakes). The oldest children, Devin--22 and my nephew, Josh--23, were the leaders as they had to drive the other children around in separate cars. Their clues had them going to the cemetery to pay their respects to my mamaw who had died 7 years earlier that same day, going to my dad's home for hot chocolate, walking down to the pond where my mom lives, and looking for a book on the bookshelves at mom's house. It was hilarious seeing all the girls hop in their vehicle before reading their clue and then seeing them all hop out for the long trek to the pond. The boys did the same thing when they found their clue which led them to the pond. I wish we had taken pictures of all of that!
All the clues eventually led back to the living room at my mom's house where they drew numbers for gifts. I think they all had a great time and Tracy deserves a big round of applause for providing a fun afternoon for all the cousins! Clap, clap!!
After cleaning up from unwrapping those gifts we finished cooking up our big meal of turkey, dressing, creamed corn, sweet and sour beans, cranberry casserole, rolls and various desserts. My dad and his wife joined us for dinner.
This year for our gift exchange took a variety of our homemade soaps and scrubs to share with my mom, dad and sisters. Mom scoured junk stores and yard sales and purchased many items for a white elephant dirty Santa. Some of the gifts were quite humorous and some were just perfect for the receiver. Jackson got a metal wall decoration that consisted of a coat of arms and two swords. He was in seventh heaven and I have had to listen to the clash of arms for a week! It will be hung up in the boys room where I hope he will admire them without having to make so much noise!! Jordan got a nice camera tri-pod that Devin exchanged with him for a photo album. Aaron received a battery operated car compass that has several other gadgets on it as well as a variety of Thanksgiving doo-dads....one of which is a brass turkey which will be added to my turkey collection. Jackson has dubbed it the Golden Turkey! Jeff received an antique toy tractor. Other items we brought home included a rooster (which looks great on my bar) and terracotta roasting dish which has a 3-D lid of a farm scene.
Here are some pictures from our time at mom's.
Jackson chosing a gift.
My nephew Josh received the snowflake ornament.
My nephew Colby and Aaron have similar taste in clothing. We live four states apart and they buy the same shirt in almost the same color from the same store!
Mom even had a surprise gift of new Wii games. Her house was broken into a few months ago and in addition to her new TV, computer and various bits of jewelry, her Wii controllers and games were taken.
Jackson and Caedmon
Jackson was hot and tired after the scavenger hunt.
What a crowd!
Jackson was lying on the couch with Kaelan and Josh.
Aaron's turn to chose a gift.
Visiting after dinner.
Aaron draws a number for the white elephant gifts.
My niece Haley takes a number from my mom.
Colby and Caedmon
My niece Emily, my dad and his wife with my sister Amy in the back.