We were truly blessed to spend the holiday with so many of our loved ones. Eric's mom and dad came over mid-afternoon on the 24th. We caught up, played a few rounds of mah jong and Greed, were visited by Jack's sister Ellen (who very sweetly brought us some krumkake ... YUM), had a lovely dinner, put out snacks and milk for Santa and the reindeer, and read Twas the Night Before Christmas (a family tradition). After the kids were in bed, I scooted off to church while Eric showed his mom how to use her new tablet.
The morning of the 25th started off bright and early. Eric woke me up at 6 AM and then he woke up the kids ... some people never outgrow their enthusiasm for Christmas morning!While the traditional Olson family Christmas breakfast casserole baked, we got to work on the goodies in our stockings and under the tree. We were spoiled rotten with all of the generosity displayed by our family members!
After a little downtime, we packed up the crew and headed over to my brother/sister-in-law's (aka Troy/Staci) house for more family fun and an amazing dinner. We had a ripple effect of family with us at my brother's house. In addition to my brother's family and our family, we had our mom, Eric's parents, and Staci's mom and sister. It was great to have everyone together and make Christmas truly chaotic and fun!
|Bestemor and Annika reading the note Santa left for the kids|
|Eric and Conor unwrapping presents|
|Eric and his mom looking at her present: a collection of |
letters between her parents (circa 1937) that Eric scanned and made into a book
|Conor playing with his new orca stuffed animal|
|Conor using his new binoculars|
|Eric unwrapping his new PlayStation console|
|Eric's dad gave Conor a block of wood that he drilled holes into, |
nails, and a kid-size hammer; Conor loves to "hammer-hammer-hammer";
this present could not have been more perfect for him!
|One of Annika's presents had Mardi Gras masks as part of the decoration|
|Conor sporting his Mardi Gras mask/ski hat/PJs/cowboy boot ensemble; |
he kept telling us he was a super hero
|Eric, Troy, Jack at Troy/Staci's house|
|Conor and Ian playing with Ian's Hexbugs|
|Karen helping Conor put olives on his fingers|
|My brother (Drew) Skyped with us from Bahrain... |
loving that we have this kind of technology available to us! It was so
special to have Drew part of Christmas, even from thousands of miles away
|The mashed potato crew|
|Eric and Troy|
|Staci making mashed potatoes|
|Troy and his manly prime rib (it was mighty tasty!!)|
|Karen and Charlene (aka Bestemor and Nana)|
|Annika very kindly helping Kat unwrap one of her presents|
(Annika loves Kat, but even a little extra on days that require
her to help Kat in the present-opening department)
|I was in charge of dessert; I made an egg nog no-bake cheesecake (top), |
gingerbread cake (below), and kringle (not pictured)