Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas #3 2010

Monday we headed back to Minnesota to have our final Christmas celebration - our celebration!

Really, we were all exhausted.  We had a lot of late nights in Iowa, 6+ hours in a car, reuniting with our darling dog, and unpacking the car.

Once we got downstairs and started in, we found some energy.

Santa had stopped by -

We were all surprised by giant candy bars.  Y.U.M.

We got right to opening. 

Ladies first.  Sadie received a new chew toy from us.  An hour later she'd already torn out one of the ropes.  This dog is vicious with toys.

I was thrilled to find a laser parking stopper in my stash.  My friend, Stacey and I had spotted one at Target.  I've been begging for years to get SOMETHING that will tell me when I'm in the garage enough to clear the door, but still allow room for me to walk through.  I'll keep everyone posted if this works.

This is Maddie reaction to below:  "Great!  Ummm...what is it?"

Honestly, it's an iPod charger.  It was one of those "You-definitely-NEED-this-but-don't-know-it-yet" gifts.

It was also one of those "You-had-a-lot-of pricier-gifts-so-we-needed-something-cheap-to-stay-equal-in-gift-quantity."

Jake was TOTALLY thrilled to get a real toolbox...

Which included real tools!

My parents to the rescue.  They picked up Mike's second gift from me (courtesy of Sadie...) and placed it under the tree for him.

It's a pair of jumper cables which we really could have used last week when I left his car lights on for 10 minutes and killed his battery.  At 8:15am.  At Target.  When Jake had to be to school at 8:25am.  Thank goodness Target is 5 minutes from school and Mike works from home!

Each year, each kid gets one big gift.  This year Jake's gift was a compound bow.  A real one.  He was pretty excited.  We were happy to see this because for about two weeks before Christmas he kept coming up with all sorts of new "favorite" items he wanted off his list.  We finally just gave up and hoped for the best.

Maddie opened her gift and was a little confused to find a teeny package.  We said, "What does it say it is?"

And she read that we had given her "Guitar Picks".  Which could only mean...

And with that, Christmas officially came to a close for the Murphy's. 


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas #2 2010

Last week we headed down to Iowa to spend Christmas with Mike's family.

First up for Christmas Eve was heading to church with Pat and Missy's family.

Afterward we bucked tradition and instead of staying at Kay's house, we headed to Pat & Missy's house to have a little gift-opening festivities.

We opened Round-Robin style. 

Being the grand influence we are, we gave Aaron's gift to him in a special box...

No worries - an innocent gift of Army Men.

The rest of the openings were pretty straight-forward with the kids.



Jake.  Each kid got some soap from Grandma Murphy.  We informed them she was probably dropping some kind of hint...

Steven was fairly festive. 

Missy and Pat as well as Mike and I received some much needed (at least on our part) kitchen supplies.

Maddie gave Kay a Christmas table-runner that she sewed herself.  This girl is going to surpass me in the sewing department soon.  On the bright side - I know who to run to when I need a hostess gift!

Christmas Day was fairly quiet.  We only brought one gift down for each kid to open and the other Murphy's didn't show up until afternoon.  We had a delicious meal and hung out as a family.  Certainly a nice way to celebrate.

On Sunday however, Kay's house was packed.  She hosted her family's Christmas - she has a big family.

The aunts buy gifts not only for their nieces and nephews, but also all their great-nieces/nephews.  The nieces/nephews buy for the aunts.  Once everyone is there, it's almost impossible to get within five feet of the tree.

The age ranges for the kids this year were 4 months to 18 years.  If I just counted right, there were 17 kids there, plus all the parents, plus all the aunts/uncles, plus one on the way.

This family has it's fair share of red-heads...

Some goofier than others...

Which, of course, has to be followed by the "Christmas Head-butt"...

(Seriously, I heard their heads knock from about 5 feet away.  Boys.)

Luckily Kay has two nice sized rooms.  One room for gift opening and gabbing afterwards...

One room to watch the many games and to gab a little...

Thank goodness she also has a basement.  A great place to banish send the kids to play.

After everyone left, we took a minute to get a few family shots.

(And in case anyone is wondering why Missy and I aren't in these pictures it's because we were just taking "blood-line" relatives.  This also explains why Ginger - Kay's dog - is excluded, much to the dismay of all kids involved.)

Finally - the whole clan...

Including Ginger, to everyone's satisfaction.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Nine is Fine!

Happy Birthday to Jake!

While in Iowa for Christmas, Grandma Murphy made a cake to celebrate Jake's birthday.  Jake's Aunt Missy celebrates her birthday at the end of December too so her name was added to the cake and she and Jake blew out the candles together.

Christmas day not only had Jake opening the one present we had brought down, but that night he got to open his Iowa birthday presents as well.

Today is the real day.  He requested eggs-over-easy, donuts, and juice.  And please serve it in bed.  But we weren't supposed to wake him up until after we had the meal ready -not as we were making it.

I guess he's worth the extra effort.  We are trying to figure out how to spend the rest of his special day making him happy.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From our home to yours - we wish you the best Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas #1 2010

Last Saturday we headed to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas with the family.

Each year my parents buy a new little stuffed noisemaker to go under the tree.

This year, I think instead of that, they bought a snowman with a plunger that sits in their bathroom and when you turn on the light it speaks to you.  It's cute - "Hello!  You're looking a little flushed." - and it comes with about 10 different sayings.  However, it scares the crap out of me everytime I walk in their bathroom.  I don't expect something to start a conversation with me at that point.

Anyway - these are a huge hit with the little kids and this year Katelyn turned every single jingler on at the same time.  She was pretty happy.

We started off with our annual family picture.  This gets so much easier to take each year as the kids get older and can sit 10 seconds without moving.  But right now, 10 seconds is about all we get.  And it's just barely enough time for me to run to my spot after setting the camera.  I imagine that will get more difficult as the years go by.

After that, it's off to deliver Santa's stockings and presents from under the tree.  For some reason, this is usually left to the girls.

Some kids just sit around waiting for things to arrive at "their" spot.  "Grabby" - pictured below - was only too happy to receive his allotted pile.

Santa included bubble gum for my kids.  Joy of joys.  Interestingly, Santa only delivers bubble gum at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

The Smith girls were anxious to get into their stockings.  Dan was trying to figure out the new-fangled flashlight Santa left for him. 

The Runchey's had to get right to work sorting and putting things together.

I just have to point out the Runchey girls' shirts.  The reindeer face is made from their hand and foot prints.  This was a project my sister requested my mom to help with.  The shirts turned out super cute!

In our family we take turns openings gifts.  That way we can all see the reactions and things are just slowed down which really makes it a lot less stressful in my opinion.  One of my favorite parts of watching the kids is their reactions to their gifts.

There's the look of wonder...

 I tried to get Katelyn's expressions....FAIL

 Ashley looked like this after almost every gift.  It was accompanied by a big *gasp*!

I have no idea where they get it...

My mom has a reaction for every gift.  I'm pretty sure she'll be the first to tell you she loves presents - any presents.  Including ironing board covers.

And plastic banks that count the change as you save it...

(Okay - seriously?  We tried it.  It actually is pretty cool and fun that it worked.)

But, she also received a laundry sorter as well as a British Comedy DVD.  I mean...British Comedy?  Each of these gifts and more received it's own reaction of pure happiness.  And these were all things on her list.  We aren't horrible kids.

As for dad?  He gives us a list of 10 things that he has to work really hard to think of. 

This year we gave him an empty box to open.

He wasn't sure to make of it.  But, we couldn't figure out how to wrap his actual gift, so it was placed in a large un-Christmas-y garbage bag.

To prove my point - here's the Runchey's gift to him...wrapped in a paper bag:

This year Maddie received a package of about a dozen nail polish colors.  She'll never run out.

She also received a make-up set. 

Tracy, Kelly and I were trying to explain the concept of "less is more" to Maddie.  Then we started discussing how each of us really doesn't have much of a clue as to the proper way to apply make-up.  Kelly said she planned on sending her daughters to a friend of hers to learn how to apply makeup.  This was slightly discouraging to me because I had planned on sending Maddie to Kelly.

When presents were done, Ellie had something very important to tell Grandpa.  I'm not sure either one of us knew what she was actually saying.

Then my dad leaned over and gave her a little kiss on the cheek.  And I took a picture but my flash hadn't warmed back up.  Grrr!  I have a great, dark shot of it though, if you are still interested, Tracy.

The last bit of gift giving was a Pillow-Pet for each kid from my parents.

These were a huge hit!  At one point, Jake went to grab Ashley's for something and this adorable little three-year-old turned into something possessed and said in the scariest voice, "That. Is. MY. Pillow."  Seriously - straight out of "The Excorist" kind of voice.  Jake quickly moved away.

All that excitement was followed by play time by everyone...

It was followed by nap time for some...

I believe Rob and Dan each tried to use their children's pillows, but each was denied by that child and the pillow was taken back - sometimes forcefully.

All the excitement was mostly followed by food.

This is only a small sampling of what we had.  Mom had spent the last month baking cookies and had about 15 different types of cookies.  There were also all the standards of junk food we all request each year.  We also had some "real" food...

15 pounds of crab legs started that part of eating off right!

All followed by more playing, more food, more napping, and more eating.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

A very fun day with the family and a great way to kick off "Christmas Week!"