Saturday, December 28, 2019

Cheeks come to town

Every few years we are lucky enough to have my dear friend Meagan come to LosAngeles to visit. She and her family live in England but when they come to visit family for Christmas they manage to squeak in a weekend with us. 
Last time they came we took them to the beach and they loved it so we did that again. It is always something the kids can all enjoy and we lucked out with super beautiful weather!
First off the kids all banded together to construct a "bridge" over this ditch in the sand for when high tide comes in. They used large rocks and drift wood.
I may have doubted the project but they did a great job and it was really sturdy.
The kids have all grown so much since the last visit. Charlie is 11years old like Lily and little Kobe is now 4.
Of course the kids wanted to swim in the sea which all the adults thought was insane. We knew no matter what they would get wet so we did have them all wear swimsuits.
They splashed around for about 15 minutes in the waves. The water was cold but it's the cold air that really gets you.
Once finished in the sea and mostly dried off and in warm clothes again we walked up to the pier and hit up that taco stand for lunch. This place is always good, there is a reason the lines are long. 
Then we walked the pier to wear off some tacos. There were lots of fishermen out. 
Martin used his long arm as a selfie stick to get a picture of us all.
Little Kobe took a liking to Lily and didn't leave her side most of the trip. 
Of course we had to add a little extra fun while on holiday and rent an umbrella bike for a ride. The big one fit the most people.
There wasn't quite room for everyone so Martin and I graciously agreed to sit this one out. Alex and Meagan braved the ride with all the kids.
Martin and I walked along the boardwalk for the hour they were riding.
Such a beautiful day and we really could not have asked for better weather. The umbrella crew made it back just in time for the hour to expire and not a minute to spare.
We headed home to relax and enjoy dinner. We had more fun on the agenda the next day. We all headed to Pasadena to Jenn's house to meet up with Robbin and Jenn and families. 
The four of us college girls only get to be all together every few years when Meagan comes to town. We had to memorialize it in pictures. We then critiqued the husbands photography skills and made them take several more from different angles and poses.
We needed to get the best shot since it might be years before we're together again. Although talks of a girls trip are under way.
We threw all the kids together for a picture as well. They have all grown so much since our last gathering. 
Caden is the oldest at 12, then comes Lily and Charlie at 11. Carson is up next at 10 then Gemma is 9. Collin is 6 yrs and Kobe is our youngest at 4. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Day

Christmas Day began bright and EARLY. Between the dog eating chocolate and the girls barely sleeping we finally gave in and decided to begin the festivities at 5am when the dog began barking in his crate and the girls woke again. They woke the reluctant Grandparents and waited patiently to be allowed to open stockings. 
The tree was heaving with gifts.
Once the coffee was brewed and poured and stockings were open we moved on to the gifts. Lily and Gemma are good Santa's helpers and pass out gifts to all.
The girls spent a lot of time and effort this year making and buying gifts for all their friends and family. They were so excited to see them opened on Christmas morning. Grampy got a home-made keychain with the girls photos. Granny got a fancy digital bedside clock. They also got paintings from each girl. 
Of course the most gifts were for Lily and Gemma. Winsty got a new ball in his stocking that you can slip a treat inside and drive him nuts trying to get it out.

Once the gifts were all opened we sat down to Christmas brunch. The girls were bundled up tight in cozy robes they received. We always enjoy an egg dish and fruit and of course Jesus birthday cake, our chocolate chip coffee cake.
After breakfast everyone can relax and explore their gifts. Gemma was over the moon she  received her most coveted airpods, although they may not be the apple ones she was thrilled none the less. 

We sat by the cozy fire on the TV that played holiday tunes.
Lily wasted no time building her two new lego sets. She asked Santa for cozy socks and mittens and received multiple pairs. Perhaps we should name this Christmas the year of cozy.
Gemma helped Dad build his new lego architecture set. He got the Paris skyline since we are going to Paris in the Spring.
Goppy came by late morning to visit. She wasn't feeling well, however, and took a nap on our couch for a bit but then decided to return home. Eric's family was sick as well and had to cancel Christmas dinner so everyone was down with a bug.
Gemma sporting her new PJ's and both girls got awesome new sleepover bags made by Grandma Nini with awesome fabric. Lily adores dragons and hers is a cool dragon fabric. Gemma loves her Narwhal print too. So pretty and a great size for overnights.
Winsty seemed to have worked out the dark chocolate he ate the night before and finally collapsed on his cushion with his new blanket. He was likely on the naughty list this year and so he only received his blanket and the new ball.
We all managed to stay awake and had a lovely supper made by Granny and Dad. By the time supper was finished and the gifts sorted and wrapping cleared away we were all beat and turned in for the night. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve day we were all home together, putting the final touches on our cookies and one person doing some last minute shopping!!!
We finally were able to decorate those gingerbread. We made royal icing in many colors and used piping bags and plenty of sprinkles.
They turned out pretty well and certainly tasted fantastic.  Santa was going to love them.
We got ourselves ready for church. Gemma insisted on wearing her outfit she made in sewing class. She made the top in her first session and then the skirt in the second. It turned out really cute and although it is more of a spring weather/look she was so proud she wanted to wear it to church. Throw a little sweater on and seems perfect.
We attended service at Ascension Lutheran. They have a gorgeous tree and  so we posed in front.
Lily wore her band performance dress again. She loves how formal it looks.  Gemma of course is the ultimate poser.
Granny and Grampy joined us for church and then we all returned home to have supper. A nice soup and salad has become our tradition. Of course the highlight was after dinner when Lily and Gemma decided they get to exchange gifts with each other. 
They also determined they could open their gift from cousins since we did not have time this year to get together and open gifts all together. 
Excuse the darkness but it was getting very late. Lily received two books she had been eyeing at Barnes and Nobles so she immediately jumped into reading. Gemma received a bracelet making kit so she wanted to start right away too. 
They were convinced to change into pajamas and listen to the night before Christmas and get ready for bed.
Somehow they decided they needed to sleep over in Lily's room together which ended up being a very bad idea all around! Very little sleep was had that night!
While it may look quiet and peaceful all set for Christmas morning with cookies set out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, behind the scenes all was not well. The dog had explored the gifts under the tree while we were at church and sniffed out a wrapped dark chocolate orange. He proceeded to thrash the wrapping and eat the entire thing before we returned home.
He was hyper for hours running around and needing to be let out. Then by 6am he was barking incessantly to be let out of his crate. Our little elves had the Christmas time line all written out. Unfortunately they kept misjudging the time and were up at 3 am and again at 4 am thinking it was morning so very little sleep was had. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Holiday Party

We had our holiday cocktail party the Saturday before Christmas and decided to really blow it all out and invite both family and friends. We had a pretty good turn out and it was so much fun we took almost no pictures!
The kids all formed a conga line and danced through the house and out to the garage where they put together a "kid zone" where they could party without parents.

We had so much yummy food and of course jingle juice as always. We also had lovely sweets and this amazing Bannoffee pie!
The garage transformed into the kids party zone thanks to some spectacular lights.

Scarlett, Liv, Ravelle, Sabina, Sophia, Lily, Graham, DJ, Gwyn, Nicky and Gemma. Somehow Ben and Lewis seemed to miss the picture.