weekend craziness

Craziness, I think that must be my word from 2011.  I am hoping for peace to be my word next year :-)  This past weekend we had our first Christmas, with Matt's family.  We hosted this year, and like always, it was insane.  Not because we don't have the most amazing day, but because there are so many people.  I guess we are actually small if you think about large families.  We had 14 here, which included 4 littles.  But those 4 littles gave the impression of 40 :-)  It is such a joy to see them play together though, my favorite part of the day.

We had a huge array of food.  Like I mentioned previously, I decided to have everyone send me a check this year and I bought all the food.  I had planned to have everything prepared before the first guests arrive, but it of course never works out exactly as I see in my head.  Luckily I had the help of a wonderful sister-in-law to help me pull everything together at the last minute!  And I forgot to take pictures of the food!  I did take one picture though, of an appetizer that I pinned when thinking about Christmas party cooking.  They were mini BLT's on a toothpick, and I think they were the favorite appetizer of the whole day, so that made me happy.  I cooked the bacon in the oven to make sure it was nice and crispy, put them together, and then prepared a chipotle mayonnaise for dipping...it was delicious!

The present opening was insane this year.  I think my sister-in-law's husband may have been in complete shock.  The opening of presents had always been a youngest to oldest, everyone takes a turn kind of deal.  But, now we have the eldest cousin who wants to open her present and play with it.  The two middle cousins who want to open every single present, and could care less what is actually through the wrapping paper or who it is for, and then the youngest who just wants to have all the bows, and don't take them away, just let them stay stuck to his head.  This year I said that all the kids should just open their presents immediately, and then they can help the adults open, and in about 30 minutes we were done.  This is a large change from previous years where we would be literally opening for hours.  And even though it was complete chaos, I think that it was better to get it done with so we could enjoy more chatting and food.  I love the presents, what person wouldn't, but for me Christmas is about spending time with family and eating a whole lot, and less about what is under the tree.

To give you an idea, here is a picture before everyone came with their presents:

And this is with all the presents:

And in the thick of it:

I don't want to give the wrong impression though, our kids did extremely well with all the stress of a large get together.  They played amazingly well together, there were no meltdowns, and everyone had a great time.  At least that was my experience!  It isn't all about the presents either.  The kids sat very nicely for the reading of the Christmas story, which we did from Jack's baby Bible this year.  

I hope that you all are enjoying your Christmas season!  I can't believe there is only one week left before the big day, so much left to do!  How do large family Christmas parties go for you?

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