First of all, I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season, no matter what holiday you celebrate in December. We celebrate Christmas, and this year was our turn to go to California to spend some time with my family there.
We got to Southern Cal on the 22nd. My sister was already at my folks' house, so it was fun for us all to hang out a little and relax. On Sunday, Lizzie and I spent time at the grocery store getting everything we wanted for the extended family celebration we'd host on Christmas Eve. In the afternoon, we went for a late lunch to El Torito to celebrate Mom's birthday. The food was good and the company was better. :)
Christmas Eve was a blur as we got everything ready for the family gathering. As usual, we had way too much food - tons of appetizers, then the main meal followed by a table full of desserts. We had so much stuff that we forgot some of the things we wanted to serve, even though I made a list! For the main meal, Jeff grilled pork loin that he had seasoned and marinated. It was incredibly delicious. We served the pork with little rolls so you could make a slider sandwich. Next time we host Christmas Eve, Lizzie and I will (probably) limit the number of appetizers we serve. Everything was so good though!
We did a White Elephant gift exchange with the aunts, uncles and cousins. Everyone brought two gifts, then we drew numbers to see the order of gifting. The person who got number one got to choose the first gift, open it, and show it to everyone. The person with number two then could "steal" the first gift or open a new one and so on. The thing about the White Elephant concept is that some of the gifts are pretty good and some are not as good. The things I got were good: a king-size quilt and a nice calendar. (I might have a bit of a calendar fetish. I received four calendars, plus the White Elephant calendar, plus I made a family vacation picture calendar. I have fewer places to hang calendars than I have calendars!) The gift exchange was lively and fun
Here's what is really amazing - no one was drinking alcohol.
On Christmas morning, there were seven of us at the house. We have a tradition that we open our stockings, then all the gifts are handed out so everyone has their pile o'presents. Then, the first person puts on the Santa hat and opens a gift, saying who gave it to them. It's fun to do that because then you can see what everyone gets. And you get to wear the Santa hat.
I received wonderful gifts! I got some new sweaters, some beautiful pashmina scarves, CDs, earrings, a nutcracker (from T, it's a tradition!) gift cards, calendars, and the "big" present - a gift card to get a Chromebook computer! (From my boys - the store was sold out so that's why the gift card.)
T also made a haul this year. He got a new 160GB iPod Classic, a Kindle Fire, headphones, clothes, and cash. He was happy.
Mom made our Christmas lunch and it was fantastic. We had canelonis to start (a Spanish tradition), followed by a fillet mignon roast. The meat was so tender. It just melted on the tongue. Lizzie and Jeff had to leave after lunch so they could spend some time with Jeff's daughter. I was sad to see them go, but so thankful for the time we all got to spend together!
The three of us left early yesterday morning. We drove straight through from So Cal to SLC. It took about 12 hours or so. I drove the worst part of the trip - from St. George to Nephi. It was the worst because I had to deal with the weather and road conditions. The roads were dry, then wet, then snowy. There was fog, there was snow, there was rain. The roads were slick in some places, dry in others. The worst was going up through the mountain passes. It was very slow going as the roads were slick and snowy. I had a death grip on the steering wheel. By the time we reached Nephi, my shoulders were bunched up around my ears and my back was tight and sore from the tension. MT took over in Nephi and of course the roads into SLC were clear. Wet, but clear. GRRR!
Anyway, we were all glad to get home. Unpacking the boxes of gifts was fun as we got to take a little extra time to admire everything we'd received.
This morning MT had to go to work. T and I still have five days off before we have to go to school/work. T is out shoveling snow now. There's a lot of it. We are thinking of going to see Les Miserables this afternoon.
If we feel like going out in the snow at all, that is.
Happy happy, everyone!