Merry Christmas!

I apologize for the delay in posting!  The main reason is my family celebrated Christmas early!  We celebrated on the 21st, the Saturday before real Christmas.  Based the in-laws and significant others of the family, we decided it made the most sense to just celebrate all together early.  It eliminated one more shopping weekend from an already short shopping season, but otherwise, it was nice to celebrate early, and let everyone else scramble around last minute.  It's made December rather confusing though, so don't ask me what day it is, I have no idea.
Patti, Cole and Wes arrived on the 19th, with Becky in tow to help carry kids and things along the way.  Ed would arrive Friday afternoon, and Matt and Beth after I was asleep on Friday.  We all stayed at my parents place so that we could wake up and open Christmas presents together!  The whole place was so decorated for Christmas, it was fantastic :-)
We sent Cole around to wake up the few that weren't already awake!  Becky got a nice wake up call from a very excited Cole...
Cole also woke up his dad to get things moving!
We waited at the top of the steps for everyone to be awake and ready!  Man I look exhausted here, and Cole is just waiting for someone to tell him he can go downstairs...
We finally allowed Cole to run downstairs and see if Santa had come with presents.  He totally did!  This is one happy toddler!
My family has a tradition where each person gives out their presents, then everyone opens them one at a time.  We get to oooh and ahhh over what they were given, and the person giving gets to explain the gifts a bit.  I like it because special gifts don't get lost in the moment, and you aren't just ripping the paper off and moving to the next present.  Like see below- Becky painted a picture of me in my natural state, always taking a picture!  Everyone got to appreciate how much time she spent on the gift, rather than us all focused on our own pile of presents!
It also means our gift-giving takes like 4 hours!  Which is awesome, but sometimes a bit much for a 2.5 year old.
We took a break for some breakfast, and to let Cole breathe a little, haha.  Then kept going strong until there were no more presents!  Phew, when you have 9 people giving 9 gifts each (Wes was not giving presents this year, but was receiving!), and we're going one at a time, and of course Mom and Dad went above and beyond and got us a couple things, and Santa presents on top of that!
Merry Christmas to me...
It was a wonderful morning filled with great gifts, and great family time.  And Cole was beyond excited for his new trains and legos!
Then we went for a run- Ed did his own thing, and Patti waited for him to return before going out for her own run.  I ended up in a pack with Matt, Beth, and Becky.  We were headed to Lake Elkhorn on bike paths, and I mistakenly thought it was 2 miles to the lake, then 2 miles back.  I figured if I wanted to run longer, I'd run around the lake itself.  I told Becky these numbers, and she was down with 4 miles!  Turns out it's 3 miles to the lake, 3 miles back...  Sorry Beck.  So when my running app told me we'd been 2 miles, she turned around.  Beth walked at this point, and I kept running with Matt until the lake!  I ran just for a small amount around the lake (to hit 3 miles), then we high-fived and I turned around while he continued on around the lake the whole way.  I ran into Beth on the way back, who was still headed to the lake!  It was very fun to have so many of us running at the same time on the paths :-)

We lounged around after our runs, some people ran errands, some took naps (not just the little ones), and enjoyed not needing to be anywhere!  The people who ran errands came back with a BB gun.  True story, haha.  We set up some cans to aim for, and had a little fun :-)  Becky knocked off the middle can, I knocked off the left can!
And Joe, Jess, and Gracie came over to join us for dinner.  We had tacos!  I love tacos, and it's so easy to customize to everyone's personal preference.
Mom even had a signature cocktail for the evening- white wine with pear juice, cranberries, and rosemary.  It was gorgeous and delicious!
After dinner was a bourbon tasting- a blind bourbon tasting.  Yep, this totally happened. 
Dad was hoping to find one bourbon we all liked, and that totally didn't happen. 
We took notes on what we thought of each one.
And carefully sniffed and sipped each bourbon.
Surprisingly, Becky and I ranked ours very similar, even though I agreed with how Patti described most of hers (syrup at first then burning; mostly burning; slightly less burning...).  I'm certainly not a bourbon girl, but if we do this with gin next time, I'm so on top of it.  And I actually loved Matt's rule that at the end, when we went around the table and declared our winner, we had to take the entire shot of that bourbon, haha. 
The next day involved some playing in the sink and board games!  We later saw a movie together- American Hustle.
While the nephews were still in town, we maximized our time with them!  We took them to the pool, which both boys love.
 And Becky spent more time holding Wes, who even with a pacifier in his mouth, loves to smile :-)
He is just the sweetest ever, gah!

So our Christmas was another amazing holiday filled with family and fun, and it was great that we got to all celebrate together!  Mom, Dad, Becky and I are now headed on the road to visit Grandpa, Uncle Rich, Aunt Janis, Ryan and Kathleen in North Carolina, and then Grammie, Aunt Jody and Uncle Ralph in West Virginia.  I'm very excited that this holiday will include so so much family time.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night :-)

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