I guess we will have to go back to last Thursday. Even though I still had a few things to get done, I decided I just wanted to have a "fun" day, and do something Christmasy with some of my grands. Soo, I went over to my oldest son's house, picked up Jeffie and Lindsey and headed out to meet my sister with her grandkids and daughter to Bass Pro Shop. Every year they do up not only a nice display of Christmas decorations, but they have games, rides, and activities for the kids to do which includes a free picture with Santa. In fact, all of it is free. They have an absolutely wonderful restaurant right there next door to the shop as well, and the kids all eat for free. Now my sister has done this with her grands ever since the store opened, but this was the first trip for me. What a wonderful time we had! It was VERY full of people for sure, but it never seemed to be an issue. The kids just had a ball. Most of the activities were geared towards kids more in the age range of about 6 to 12 in my opinion, which worked perfectly for me considering Jeff is 7 and Lindsey just turned 11 yesterday. They raced cars, shot bow and arrows, rode the Christmas merry go round, colored, worked remote controlled cars, and took turns at the shooting range. They enjoyed the fish, the wishing streams, and all of the HUGE fake animals that were just everywhere all over the store. We had an ABSOLUTELY delicious lunch (they have the most wonderful sugar bread) and finished it off with a picture and visit to Santa. We were there a little over 4 hours and it cost me just 8 dollars (for my lunch) don't think you could do much better. After we finished there the kids and I decided to see the new Chipmunk movie to really make it a full day, haha. The kids LOVED the movie, and I was actually pretty entertained too. These are just the best kind of days in my opinion. Nothing to do but to enjoy the pleasure they got it in all, and make memories. I arrived back home around 6:30 that night, tired, but sooo glad I went. Here are a few of the pics I got.
|SEE THE BEAR IN THE BACKGROUND?|
On Friday I finished up the last of the wrapping and baking and preparations and then we left here around 3:30 to pick up Jeffie and Lindsey again and headed down to San Diego for the candlelight service in the park with our church. Again, what a wonderful time. It DID take us quite a while to get there as everyone it seemed was heading out of town, but we enjoyed the ride down nonetheless. We play guessing games in the car which we ALL enjoy, and the time passed quickly. We grabbed a quick dinner and arrived to join Larissa and the kids and quickly found our seats in the outside theater area. It was COLD....I am not going to lie, but somehow it added to the fun even for this grandma. We were all bundled up in our coats and hats and scarfs, and huddled under a blanket. There was special music and a wonderful praise band to enjoy, and then my son gave a Christmas message that was both inspiring and thought provoking. We all got our candles then and we sang a few Christmas carols together. How beautiful it was, and the kids enjoyed every minute. I have only one picture of this which I
|SOO MANY PEOPLE BRAVING THE COLD WEATHER ANXIOUS TO CELEBRATE HIS BIRTH!|
Then on Christmas Eve, Jeff & I enjoyed a LARGE and totally yummy breakfast together and planned and organized our day. We still had the food to pick up for the next day, but that was really about all with the exception of a tiny bit of house cleaning. We got it all done with plenty of time to spare, and left here around 3:00 and headed over to my oldest son's house for a TOTALLY WONDERFUL prime rib dinner. Oh my goodness...how GOOD it was. There was garlic mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, rolls, and a Caesar salad (which was all I brought). We opened presents, celebrated Lindsey's birthday (which is the day after Christmas) and just generally had a wonderful time. How I enjoyed myself! With the exception of Cody (who is not quite 3) these are my "older" grandkids. I LOVE hearing the stories of what is going on with them in their lives, and was struck at one point at how quickly it all goes. Two of them are already teen-agers!! How has that happened?? We visited, and laughed and just generally relaxed and before we knew it we were headed home again. We got comfy, lit a fire, and put our annual Christmas Eve movie on...George C. Scott's, the Christmas Carol. We made a bet who would fall asleep first, and as usual it was me, haha...
|JOE & LEAH'S KIDS...JEFFIE, ANNABEL, LINDSEY, & EVAN'|
(minus Cody who is still camera shy)
|JEFFIE WITH HIS BIG SISTERS|
|THIS PIC WAS OUT OF FOCUS AND I COULD HAVE JUST CRIED...THIS IS JEFFIE IN HIS NEW CAR JAMMIES THAT GRANDMA FINALLY GOT MADE....HE LOVED THEM!|
|HAD TO SNAP PICS OF CODY WHEN HE DIDN'T KNOW, HAHA|
HERE HE IS WITH HIS NEW CAR
|11 YEAR OLD LINDSEY!!|
Christmas morning was spent VERY leisurely as Jeff & I decided not to exchange Christmas presents this year (though he did tell me he is having ON STAR installed in my car...soo exciting) and we decided not to travel down to San Diego for church as we would be turning right around and coming back anyway. So we made a nice big breakfast again (this is soo over) and then dressed and just relaxed until the kids starting arriving around 2:30. This allows them all to enjoy Christmas morning with their own families, and follow it up with a trip to Grandma & Grandpa's...perfect. James & Larissa got here a little before the rest of them (which was part of the plan) as we had not exchanged our presents with them yet. There are sooo many of us, and with the smaller house it worked out MUCH better doing this family by family this year. This will soo be the way we do it in the future. Here are a few pictures of this group of grandkids.
|DONATELLA, CAPRI & JD, AND THEIR DOG BRUNO, (WHO WAS NOT COOPERATING WELL WITH THE PICTURE TAKING, HAHA)|
|LOVED THE GIRLS DRESSES, SOOO DARLING|
After presents, the others began arriving and we had dinner. Sooo much easier on paper plates and nice and easy. Plenty of time to just enjoy everything. John & Yolanda were the only ones left for presents and here is a picture of them enjoying theirs.
After dinner, we relaxed and had coffee and just enjoyed each other. The kids got together and did a little show for us singing Christmas songs etc. Lots of fun. Yolanda made us all one of her traditional Christmas desserts (sorry, I can't remember the name of it) but it was really yummy. All in all a WONDERFUL Christmas. How grateful I am. We missed Mike & Mel and Sam for sure, but we still "MIGHT" be going there for New Years. We will make that decision today.
|THE KIDS READY TO PERFORM...CODY WAS STANDING IN THE PICTURE, BUT WE WEREN'T QUITE QUICK ENOUGH...HE DROPPED TO THE GROUND AND COVERED HIS FACE WHEN HE SAW THE CAMERA, HAHA|
|ELVIS SNUGGLED UP BY JAMES CHRISTMAS NIGHT..|
|SAM ON CHRISTMAS EVE...HIS 3 MONTH PICTURE TOO|
|ENJOYING HIS PLAY TIME|
|LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS AND EYES|
|MEL SAID HE REALLY ENJOYED PRESENT TIME|
|READY TO GO TO CHRISTMAS DINNER AT THEIR FRIENDS HOUSE|
|SAM WASN'T COOPERATING ON THEIR FAMILY POSE, HAHA|
Our Christmas gift this year from James & his family was a calendar using all the pictures from their latest photo session...I just LOVED it. They ended up spending the night Christmas night (though that was not planned, but we soo enjoyed it) and James loaded all the files from the pictures onto my computer so I can now share a few of those with you....they were just sooo cute. A couple of them are magazine proportions (or is my Grandmaness showing? haha) here is the best of them, though it was soo hard to pick...
|I LOVED THIS|
|THE JAMES CLASS FAMILY 2011|
|3 OF THE CUTEST KIDS EVER!|
|CAPRI ANGELINA 7 YEARS OLD,,,SOO PRETTY|
|JD 5 YEARS OLD....SUCH A DARLING BOY!|
|DONATELLA VALENTINA 2 YEARS OLD....LOOK AT THOSE GORGEOUS EYES!|