Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011 - the 23rd and 24th

On the 23rd of December, we loaded up the car and made the 5-hour drive up north to the Dallas area, home of my grandparents and many aunts/uncles/cousins.

We made it there just in time for the late-December/early-January birthday celebration for my mom's side of the family. Five birthdays in a short span of time means we have one big party! There was cake and yummy Texas barbecue and lots of family to see!

The birthday people!

On Christmas Eve, we all drove to Plano, TX to see my dad's side of the family. Gran made a delicious chicken tortilla soup for lunch, and we really enjoyed seeing everyone (so much that I didn't even get a chance to take pictures!). 

Then, we met my mom's parents at their church for Christmas Eve Mass. 

The whole family, all dressed up for Christmas church!

After church, we went back to McKinney (home of my mom's family) for a big Christmas Eve seafood boil! We had shrimp, mussels, sausage, and potatoes... all cooked with cajun spices and DELICIOUS! 

With my sisters!

Karoline playing with some of our cousins

More cousins with Karoline!

My aunt, uncle, and cousin (my uncle had just had major spinal surgery, so he had to be in that awful brace the whole time!). 

Mom & Dad

After dinner, it was time for pajamas & Christmas carols! My mom's family (consisting of my grandparents, their five kids and five spouses, and 14 grandkids + significant others) has been doing this every year since before I was born. I'm the oldest grandchild on that side of the family, so ALL of us grandkids have grown up singing carols with our family every Christmas Eve. It started years ago with just my dad playing his guitar and everyone singing, but now it's progressed to include fancy spiral-bound songbooks with a complete collection of Christmas song lyrics, a bunch of smaller instruments for the kids to play, a couple of silly "warm up songs" that my dad wrote himself, and an organized system where every person gets a turn to pick a song (we don't stop until everyone has picked one!). 

With a bunch of my cousins

One of my aunt/uncle couples...

Karoline with my littlest cousins

Another aunt/uncle couple...

Gran-mom and Gran-dad!

Another aunt/uncle couple with their three little girls...

Karoline singing with more of my cousins...

Dad on the guitar, and Jeff on the didgeridoo (he's the only one who can get it to make a sound, so he's the didgeridoo guy for Christmas Eve!).

Rockin' out to "Mister Grinch"

(look closely... you can see Jeff in the background playing the didgeridoo! Haha!)

We had to get one last matching-pajamas photo before heading off to bed...

Up next, Christmas Day!

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