Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Eve

We always begin our Christmas Eve with lunch at Uncle Gary's house. Gary is Michael's mom's brother, and he lives in their parents' homeplace (a word I've learned since meeting Michael!). The whole family still comes over to his house to kick off the holidays!

We did a lot of this...well, not we, but they! Lizzie sure can take the big boys! :)
And still more of this....

And then I must have been so distracted by the wrestling matches that I forgot to take pictures of anything else!! We had a great lunch guessed it...lasagna and spaghetti!! I think everyone had the same idea this year! :) It was very good, as usual, and they all enjoyed orange cake afterwards. I say they because I'm still letting the idea of a cake made of oranges grow on me. They all seem to love it. Maybe next year... I opted for the brownie with ice cream and hot chocolate syrup! Yum!

Several of the family members had to work this year, and we missed them, but we'll look forward to seeing them next time!

After Uncle Gary's we head across 101 to my granny & papa's house. The Neals have gathered on Christmas Eve since the beginning of time. Or at least the beginning of my time which is pretty long! Granny has never told us exactly when to come. If asked, she'll tell you to come at "dark-thirty". This year we had bbq which made my night!! We were glad to have Uncle Eddie back this year. He was in Kosovo last year serving a term with the military.

My papa proudly sported his new do-rag. He says he wore it to the gym that morning, but I'm hoping he's kidding. ;) I'm sure he's not though...he wore jams to the ice-cream store when we were little. And not just any jams....they were pretty funky ones. I think I was so embarrassed I passed on ice cream to sit in the car! Just kidding Papa!! :)
Would anyone like dessert?

Papa lights the candles on the "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake.
The kids all help blow them out.

Great Grands 2008, boy have they changed!!
And next year there will be one more on that couch...Baby Yon #2. :)

Interesting fact...the boys are all "J" names - John, Jared, Jake, and Jack. The girls are both "E's" - Edy and Ella. We've told Marcie she must follow suit with the new addition. She's not the best at following orders though. ;)

Edy and Ella Kate - the only girls in the bunch

The girls in 2005 - I know you love the bow. It's actually the same exact bow she's wearing in this year's picture! HA! :) Is it time for presents yet?? The kids are getting antsy.

Finally, time for the grown ups. It couldn't be more highly anticipated!!

It's supposed to be a good old fashioned white elephant gift exchange. Good, clean fun where everyone goes home with a great gift. RIGHT??? Couldn't be more wrong!!

That lasted through the first year - then the nose hair clippers showed up!!! (More on those later...) It was all down hill from there. Now nothing surprises us!

My dad was the lucky recipient of these awesome night vision goggles (which my brother actually tried outside). Funny thing, they very much resemble the real glasses he sported in the 80s (minus the yellow lenses perhaps)!
My sweet baby brother got a lump of coal!

Can't beat a JC bobble head from the Beacon!! One is bad enough....
But when everyone in the family thinks they're a great gift, that's bad!!! Now 3 of the Neal men own one of these. It's bad when they think so alike, that there are multiple JC's under the tree!

Papa & Eddie with their bobble heads

And my prize for the night...THE Mrs. Pitt purse. This one appeared the year Brad & Jennifer were married. It seems to keep reappearing.....

But Michael won perhaps the biggest prize of the night. The Gotcha block.

Accompianied by THE nose hair clippers. These babies have been to Kosovo and back. No one wants to know how many of the proud owners have actually tried them. They're almost like the grand prize these days. And my dear husband has them for the first time. he, he...

Mom must be getting old....maybe now she can see to change the channel!

And, yes, Kelly did get a Chia Pet!

Oh, Marcie, please don't laugh too hard. We'd hate to make a trip to the hospital tonight. You have to hold out until January 14!!
So much fun at Granny & Papa's. Now we'll all go home and tuck our gifts neatly away in our closet, just to pull them out again next year!! :)

Once home, we went to work preparing for Santa. The kids had to sprinkle Jake's reindeer food outside.

Yep, he has a toothpick hanging from his mouth.

Then, they changed into their Christmas pj's from Mimi. Mom & Dad did too, but we forgot to take a picture!
And we had every intention of making cookies for Santa. But time just got away from us this year. We thought Santa might like a nice bowl of popcorn instead - movie butter of course!

The kids wrote their final notes to Santa. Jake's was pretty short until he saw all Ella Kate requested. Then he racked his brain for a few more items to add - he HATES ice skating!! :)

Ella Kate could go on for days with her list!

Then, we all settled in to wait for Christmas Day!

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