Look! Santa came! :)
Kristen & Karoline bringing gifts down from Gran-mom's house!
With my cousin (excuse my awful haven't-had-my-coffee-yet face!)
Ready to open gifts!
One of the first gifts that was opened was for Oscar the dog... a RUN DMC shirt! He loved it (and he looks SO CUTE in it!).
Opening gifts from Santa!
Santa brought lots of stuff!
Karoline got cowboy boots!
Kristen got a pearl necklace and earrings!
Jeff got a circular saw!
I got a nail gun and air compressor (note the excitement on my face... haha)!! I wanted one SO BAD. Haha!
Now we can hang crown molding in the house!!
Dad got a new suit, shirt, and tie!
We also exchanged gifts with my grandparents and aunt and uncle (a pretty Katie Daisy print, a Penguin classics book, some cash (woohoo!), and a World Market gift card!). Then, we hurried upstairs to get dressed, and we headed off to see my extended family on my dad's side!
When we were growing up, all of us grandkids on my dad's side drew names and we each bought a Christmas gift for one of our cousins. When Jeff & I got married, I was pulled out of the "kids" exchange. My cousin Allison has been married for a few years, so she's been out of the exchange for a while too. This year, we decided to do a little married couples' exchange, which was so fun! Allison and Cason got us a cute Christmas doormat (which is now proudly adorning our front porch!), and Allison painted us this cute "house divided" plaque to celebrate A&M's move to the SEC.
Part of our gift to them was a Baylor University yarn wreath, which I had such fun making! I really want to make an A&M one for myself now, but the yarn-wrapping takes SO LONG... haha.
We also got some great gifts from my grandparents - homemade salsa and a Lowe's gift card so we can buy the barstools we've been wanting! Thanks Gran & Grandpa!
With all my cousins on my dad's side (8 girls, no boys!). It's always so special to have everyone together!
Of course, there was plenty of fun and being silly at this gathering as well... I believe this picture was my mom and uncle "hiding" so they'd be out of the way for all the kitchen clean-up. :)
After a delicious Christmas lunch that Gran worked really hard to finish before Jeff & I had to leave (thanks Gran!), we got back in the car and started the drive back to Houston (yep, we drove back in the middle of the day on Christmas)!
Driving on Christmas Day is actually a pretty good choice. There's zero traffic, and we made it from driveway to driveway in under four hours (a Christmas miracle!). A lot of people think we're crazy for doing the Christmas Day drive, but it gives us time to talk and just be with each other, which is kind of nice in the middle of a big whirlwind of family gatherings!
We made it to Jeff's parents' house by 5pm or so, and I was happy to finally be at our final destination and have a glass of wine and relax. Here's the pretty Christmas tree at Jeff's parents':
Jeff's brother was born on Christmas, so there's always time set aside specifically to celebrate his birthday. Happy Birthday Tim!
Tim and his girlfriend, Emily, who wrapped his gift in half-Christmas/half-birthday paper!
Jeff's middle brother Matt never cooperates when I'm trying to take a photo... haha!
Here's a behind-the-scenes shot: this is me trying to take the photo above of Matt, Tim, and Emily. I love it when Grandma's around to take pictures like this! Haha!
We had another yummy meal with Jeff's family, and then we got to open Christmas crackers again (Jeff's family lived in England when he was a kid as well!). Of course, we had to wear our paper crowns...
Then, it was time for another round of gift-opening! At this point, Jeff was like "Wow... I already have a trunk stuffed full of presents, and I haven't even started to open the presents I would've got before we were married!" It's true... being married means more gifts!
Tim got a remote control car as a joke gift, but we all had fun playing with it, especially Grandaddy!
Me & Jeff
Jeff's brothers gave me some great kitchen things and a HomeGoods gift card (yay!), and they bought Jeff a home beer-brewing kit (we'll see how that goes... haha!). We got lots of wonderful things from Jeff's parents and grandparents as well... to name a few: a set of white dishes for me (for those times when my brown everyday dishes just won't match my Easter/Valentine's/whatever table setting), a Black & Decker work table for Jeff, a beautiful milk glass candy dish from Grandma & Grandaddy, some books for Jeff, etc...
We made a total mess of the living room by covering it in wrapping paper and ribbons!
Overall, we had a really wonderful Christmas. We got to spend quality time with each branch of the family, we got to sincerely celebrate the birth of Jesus, we got to see the people we love open the gifts we picked out for them (my favorite part of Christmas!), and we were overwhelmed by the thoughtful gifts people gave to us.
We spent the night with Jeff's parents on the 25th, and on the 26th we got to sleep late and then lounge around watching a movie (The Help - not as good as the book, but good nonetheless). We really enjoyed the relaxation time!
We arrived back at our house on the evening of the 26th, and it's good to be home! We're still catching up with laundry, putting away Christmas gifts, thank you notes, cleaning the house, etc., but I'm SO enjoying the time off from law school (although I did have to go in to work on Law Review stuff all day on Wednesday... and I should be working on that paper...).
It seems like as soon as the Christmas excitement dies down, it's already time for New Year's! How time flies!