Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas a la Iowa

This year we headed to Iowa to be with Mike's side of the family for Christmas.  The time down south went extremely fast!

Christmas eve we headed to church in the afternoon and after changing clothes met back at Pat and Missy's for dinner and gift exchanges.

We may have tortured the kids because during dinner we started watching "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" (which if you haven't seen...DO!!)  Anyway - we kept postponing gift opening until the adults were finished watching the movie.  Ahhh....the joys of holiday torture!

While everyone was setting up their spots I coerced convinced Steven to get a picture taken with his mom.

Then opening began.  We went around in a circle and paper was flying everywhere!

All the giggle girls together...

During a break in the action we were able to get an updated picture of all the kids together.  Yikes...they are all getting so much older - and bigger.  I remember when all of them could easily sit across the floor in a single line!

Round two of opening gifts!  Each family was given a pretty new ornament for their tree.

20-year-old Steven received an Iowa Hawkeye Bottle Opener.  I don't know why he would need that...there aren't many  pop bottles around anymore.

Aaron was a trooper that night.  He opened our Legos and then opened his next box and it contained the exact same set of Legos.  What are the chances of that, really?  But he was still very excited and went to work getting everything put together.

Each kid had a big bag to open from our friend, Carolyn.  Jewelry, socks, stuffed animals; those girls were going to be super comfy!

After gift opening the boys broke out the dessert - Apple Pie or Chocolate Mousse.  The Mousse was fairly rich, but I managed to eat my entire piece...and scrape the plate clean.

Christmas morning we spent at the hotel.  Mike and the kids watched "The Avengers" while I sat in the other room and watched HGTV and worked on some knitting I've been trying to learn.  In the afternoon we headed over to his aunt's house for a family gathering of his mom's side of the family.

There are a lot of kids on this side of the family.  Truth be told, there are a lot of kids on both sides of his family.

We had a white elephant gift opening.  This was highly entertaining at times!

Jake ended up with a serving platter that you can imagine he was pretty excited to receive.  He managed to pawn it off on Mike and we left it in the good care of Pat and Missy who thought they could use it.

The hot ticket items seemed to be the home-made laundry detergent, a remote control, and for awhile, just about anything Uncle John chose.

A. received a conglomeration of stuffed animals and tried his hardest to get someone to take them off his hands.  Even his grandpa refused them...but he managed to get rid of them to one of his youngest cousins later.

Mike's aunt opened up the giant bag that had been driving me crazy with curiosity.  It ended up being a bag FULL of outdoor toys - giant balls, jump ropes, and I can't think of everything.  She has a baby grand-daughter who is going to LOVE those one of these days!

It was a very full day of hanging out and getting the chance to catch up with family that we only get to see a couple times a year.

We were in Iowa about four days and like I said, it went incredibly fast.  Unfortunately, we never really had the time to head out to visit friends or even the other side of Mike's family.  We'll definitely have to do better planning on the next trip!  The kids had a blast hanging out with their cousins and I think everyone created some new memories until we see each other again!

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