Had a lovely holiday season.
My extended family (sisters, brother, parents and 10 kids) all travel together every other year. This is a tradition we started 6 years ago in an effort to have a holiday where no one bears all the burden of entertaining and no one's house gets trashed. (Did I mention we have 10 kids???). My parents the last two years have given us kids a week at the beach for Christmas. Excellent gift, if I do say so.
So, we go to the beach for the week between Christmas and New Years. It is warmish and we spend a lot of time eating, playing games, watching movies, playing on the beach and generally having fun. We haul our stockings and (this year) a tree down with us for ChristmasNewYear. It's a high holiday for our family.
|adults get stockings... made by yours truly|
|All the kids get to hang an ornament|
Our kids are stair steps and they love getting together for cousin time.
Rarely is there a fallout, but when it does happen, it usually is quick and done. They spend a lot of time digging on the beach. Which I always love about my kids in particular and any kids in general. Any kid who will dig and play in the sand is all right in my book.
|some kids are older than others...|
|connecting the ocean to the beach|
The adults really enjoy hanging out as we are spread over three states and even those of us that live "close" rarely see each other due to kid schedules, work and life in general. So, we all cook, eat, play games and laugh. We laugh a lot. My brother found a winery in Panama City and the siblings, plus the two spouses who were around all went. We hoped to relive our February winery visit. This one was not quite as special, but it did not disappoint. They probably thought we were "special" as we were cackling reading all the magnets they had for sale, such as "Jesus loves you. But I am his favorite"
Good times, strange muscadine wine and Florida sensibilities made for a fun hour and a half.
|Winery AND store|
We also watched several movies...
Played endless hands of Rummy...
Learned card tricks ...
Put together two puzzles...
|rummy and puzzles|
And basically terrorized Seaside by showing up en masse to shop or eat or hear a band.
|There were 14 of us in this store|
|and we did this...|
|and a lot of this|
|this was later...|
Amazingly, we made it home with all our shoes, kids and lots of fun memories. My sisters and sister-in-law and I all laughed and made fun of each other in the way that only someone who loves you can.
|I got all my sisters with me!|
And my parents got to bond with the kids as a group. Which really, can be slightly intimidating, but they seemed to jump right in...
Overall, our souls and bodies were fed. We bonded and created inside jokes and texts. We saw a great sunset every night and had a lot of laughs to carry us into the new year. For my hilarious and loyal family, all those crazy kids and my supportive and generous parents, I am truly grateful.
|Happy new year...|
|there are no words|
|Did we get all our shoes?|