Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Grand Tradition

Every year after Christmas my sweet Grandma Johns invites the entire family to a wonderful brunch at the magnificent Grand America Hotel. It is such a treat to be in such a lavish venue and it is so fun to see all the cousins and their little growing families. A lot of the cousins live out of state so it is always exciting to see them and hear about their year over a delicious buffet. We get the same gorgeous room every year that is perfect for mingling and chatting as long as we like. I was also excited to try out my fish eye lens that I got for Christmas, it captured the ambiance of the hotel beautifully.

Sweet Heather is so good with all the little kids and always has a fun game to play with everyone while the grown ups chat about boring things. The kids were also very excited about the candy bowl at the entrance of the dining room, the manager of the dining room was very nice and encouraged their candy fetish and assured us that he had multiple bags full of candy so they could take as many as they wanted.

S C 8 The Tradition Continues

Every year at Christmas time, when everyone is home for the holidays, my friends from high school have a reunion dinner at Chelsie's house, it is always so fun to see everyone and hear all the exciting things they have done over the past year.

We had a delicious dinner of a green salad, chicken cordon bleu with potatoes and sparkling apple juice.

Chelsie is the absolute best hostess, she treats her guest like queens! She served us some mint starlight ice cream for a refreshing dessert. Our after dinner entertainment was charades, one of our favorite games we used to play during high school when we would hang out at Chelsie's. We always write down our own things to act out, things like movies, celebrities, famous people from history and sometimes we add in people we know, like some of our favorite and most memorable teachers from Jr. high and high school.

Micheal Jackson moon walking and E.T. - I just had to include it even though it is so blurry, it was one of the best ones of the night

King Kong and Aladdin

Pep Club

I don't quite remember who she was acting out but it was some amazing person. Allison was also the lucky winner of our candy counting game, she was one away from guessing it exactly right, I'm a lil jealous I never ever win those kind of games.

::Our family portrait 2009::

A Holly Jolly Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! This year was an "on" year so everyone was at mom and dad's for Christmas eve and Christmas morning! On Christmas eve we had a delicious ham dinner on a winter wonderland table that the grand kids helped us decorate, they were enchanted by the sparkly houses, as was I. Nora and Grammy worked hard to make our cute candy napkin holders, they made our table look very festive. My mom was very excited that her new table cloth matched her plates, it was cute.

After dinner we worked hard to create gingerbread house masterpieces, it was pretty intense. Each family got one to decorate in their own unique fashion. Andrew and John created a chaotic candy land house, complete with a frozen guy falling off the roof and a gingerbread man holding his head in the yard. They added these charming details to tease jenny, she was not pleased, she said that those would be more appropriate on the haunted gingerbread mansions we made on Halloween last year. Jenny and mike put a gingerbread Santa Clause on the roof, Karin and Ricky. with the help of Ben, made the definition of a traditional gingerbread house, with lots of fun candy. Bethy was very diligent on making her house look like the house on the box, and spent that majority of the time making individual icicles that hung from the roof. My house was just cute, I got a little burned out though and only decorated the front half .... but it was a good lookin front half

After everyone had finished their delightful gingerbread creations we played the bell game that grandpa Christensen made up. Everyone has a bell attached to the end of a string. All the bells are placed in the center and the person who is "it" calls out a number and rolls a die, as soon as they roll the number they called out they try to trap as many bells as they can underneath a pot lid before everyone pulls theirs away. Ben, for some reason, loved to be it and would purposely get caught every time it was hilarious. For the most part we didn't mind because no one else wanted to be it haha. It is such a fun game that everyone can play, and there is no limit to how many people can play!

After the bell game we all gathered in the living room to sing carols by the piano. Will was being out of control, he was a bundle of energy! Ben on the other hand fell asleep in his daddy's arms, so precious. My favorite Christmas carols are Angels We Have Heard on High, Hark the Harold Angel Sing and Joy to the World. Then we all went to sleep so Santa could come visit our house!

The next morning brought excitement spread around by the six little kids. After our traditional breakfast of sweet rolls and Greek bread we congregated in our Christmasy red room. We were each assigned our spot on the couch or a big chair. We let the little kids open their presents first. its so fun to watch little kids open presents, and see the pure joy they feel at receiving what they had asked for. Nora was the best, she had asked for a this pink kitty for Christmas and it was the first present she opened and she was in heaven and would not let it out of her sight. Will was hilarious with his car set that he got, he showed everyone. He also loved grandpas owl that he got this year for his ginormous owl collection.

I think Ricky and Reece look more like brothers then Karin and Bethy look like sisters.

Bethy got these adorable boots for Nora as well as a pair for Evie, they loved them! I wish those came in big girl sizes!

Bethy and Reece made these cool shirts for all the boys and the two little girls. Each shirt fit the person to a T, dad's is just perfect, he really is dad in a can, he always has everything you need whenever you need it. Especially when traveling, I'm always surprised by how much he can fit in his magical turquoise fanny pack. Andrews says Wii-kend Warrior because he loves to play the Wii. Ben's was Jedi in training and Will's was baby ninja. Nora's had a picture of the northern lights with Nora borealis, her family nick name, written below it and Evie's had a picture of a bug with Ev-bug written on it. They were so cute!

Christmas is a tiring holiday, but it sure was good!