Here are the boys, just up in the morning, getting ready to open their stocking presents and gifts from Santa, England, and Australia:
Here is Kieran opening his remote-controlled robot, which was the only gift he specifically requested this year:
It's called a Robosapien, and Santa got it on eBay...we haven't completely figured it out yet, but it's SUPPOSED to walk...we have figured out how to get it to burp, though!
Here is the brunch spread:
I made babka, from Mollie Katzen's Sunrise Cafe. My grandma used to make this wonderful poppy seed coffee cake for Easter, and babke is the closest thing I've found to it. However, this time I didn't have any poppy seeds, so I made a chocolate version and a frangipani version. I'll post the recipe soon.
Here are Nadine and my mother-in-law before brunch:
I love the fact that the boys are old enough to eat in another room nowadays!
Here's Nicholas in his new Rudolph shirt (from Grandma and Grandpa):
After brunch we had our gift-giving extravaganza. Mike's family laugh about how long it takes my family to open gifts. Traditionally, we've done "Spin the Bottle" with our gifts, and it can take hours. This year we didn't spin the bottle, but we do try to open them one by one so we can watch each other open them. (It is better to give than to receive, in fact.) Mike's family just rips into the presents all at once. Last year I think it took us about 5 minutes to open all of the presents in England!
This year we also had the kids open presents first, and then we took a break for Nicholas to take a nap, and we continued with adult presents. (It did still take several hours...) We also made a conscious effort to give fewer presents, so that cut down on the present-opening time too.
Chris with the video camera he got from Nadine, David, and family
Kieran showing off his personalized sports bag
Ryan and Grandpa trying out walkie talkies
Nadine and I
Mike posing with two of his gifts--a scarf and a digital photo frame key chain
Mike and Dad with their identical gifts (from Nadine and David)
David posing with the shirt we had made for him--the guitar collector who is very difficult to buy for:
Chris with his Blazers poster:
When the snow hit, I decided to take on a last-minute project for Christmas. I had procured, somewhere, a Sisters scrapbook, which had been in my gift box for quite some time. I decided at the last minute, a few days before Christmas, to fill in the scrapbook. 80 pages of theme-related pages about sisters. Finding and choosing photos matching those themes was the most difficult part of the project. Mom sent me a few, and I went through my many boxes of photos to find more. I did discover that we don't seem to have that many photos of us when we were in elementary, junior, and high school. It's either baby photos or pictures of us when we were in college and older. But I found enough. At some point I'll post some of them on my blog. At any rate, it turned out to be one of those projects that was way bigger than I thought it would be...and it was one of those once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime gifts. It was fun to do, but I was up until midnight the night before Christmas Eve working on it!
Nadine was very touched by it, of course! Here's another sisters pose for the next scrapbook!
My mother-in-law, Olga, with one of her gifts (and wearing her beautiful cashmere sister from my sister-in-law and her family!)
Looking through the scrapbook
I received some fun and practical gifts: the most comfortable winter PJs EVER from Nadine and David and family--I never want to wear anything else!; a deliciously comfy winter robe, a guitar chord bible, tea, chocolate, and a diffuser from Mom and Dad; a book, One Year to an Organized Life, from Mike (which I had requested)--in addition to the new TV we bought for the whole family; and a beautiful handmade batik tablecloth and set of napkins, a wonderful dry measuring cup, and other stuff from Olga.
Mike with his Christmas pudding (which refused to light aflame)