Thursday, November 20, 2008

"I love being part of a big family"

Always a lot of food at a family gathering. This was breaky the first your own omelets, cooked by Uncle K.

The N family got together last weekend to celebrate Christmas. Every time I've told someone that I've gotten a surprised look but it is a tradition we have had for about 11 years. This year we all met in Sunriver, OR for a wonderful weekend together. Grammie and Grandpa rented a house that would hold all 27 of us including 16 kids, 14 under the age of 9! Let's just say it was LOUD and a little crazy at times. I took K with me. Not only is K a great help as a nanny but she is also my niece (step-daughter to my half-brother). It worked out perfectly that I got someone to ride with me and a little extra help holding #4 at the end of the trip while I was trying to pack and she got to go early and didn't have to scrunch into her parent's car.

I spent the ENTIRE day Thursday doing laundry, packing, organizing, and working at getting the house tidy. When #1 got home from the bus we loaded up and headed to Corvallis to pick up K. We got a little later start then I was hoping for with a stop at the school and the store to pick up forgotten work and a snack. But we made good time, getting dinner in Lebanon and getting over the mountain without much traffic. It was dark of course and I am a pretty slow driver in the dark but I was happy with our time over to Sunriver. And the kids did AWESOME!

Friday was just a great relaxing, playing, being together kind of day. M and I went on a nice walk and I got a haircut from my sis. The kids played and played! I was worried about #3, he doesn't quite fit in with the older set of boys in the family. We're not game players much so he doesn't have a lot of skill with video games so his turns are short and he spent a lot of the day trying to play with the older boys. He was exhausted by the of the day and slept until 9AM the next morning.
Saturday was our Christmas. After breakfast was done and cleaned up and everyone ready (which actually takes awhile for such a group) we gathered the kids and let them open presents. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts from Grammie and Grandpa.

#1 and #2 got Nintendo DS game systems which were top on their Christmas lists. The looks on their faces were priceless! #3 got the great "clipo" sets of bristle blocks that interlock. He thought they were great and #4 got a really fun toddler basketball hoop. He loves putting the ball in and watching what the toy's a hit! Each kid also draws a kid for the cousins exchange. The kids were all excited about their new toys and we let them loose to go play so the adults could open gifts. Grammie got all of us girls a fun cookbook, beautiful bracelet and a reusable shopping bag all supporting breast cancer in remembrance of Great Grandma H's passing this year. And we watch Grammie and Grandpa open gifts from all of us kids.

Saturday afternoon the men took the kids to the park while us girls had a baby shower for Cousin S who is due in March. We had such a nice quiet time giving her some adorable cloths and visiting.

and Grandpa had bought matching outfits for all the kids 16 and under so we got them all dressed and had a little photo shoot. All the kids by themselves, all the boys/all the girls, and all the kids with Grandpa. Afterward we spent the rest of the afternoon getting Christmas dinner ready and having a great evening visiting and being together.

Sunday was pack up and get back home day. We had to be out of the house by 10:30 and everyone had more to pack than they had brought. A couple more pictures and we were done.

K and I had a relatively quiet ride home. We stopped in Bend for another DS game for each of the kids and in Sisters for gas and McDonald's. I really wanted to stop at the quilt store but I was too tired to enjoy myself so I skipped it.

When I got home the house was tidy and clean but COLD. #3, my constant helper, carried kindling in for me and we got a fire going and a simple breaky for dinner. Everyone was in bed early, including me. #4 had slept horribly on the trip. My normal response to waking in the middle of the night is to let him figure it out on his own (I check him to make sure nothing is actually wrong), if he's up in the middle of the night to play it won't be with me. But on a trip like this there was another family on the other side of the wall (and down the hall, and everywhere really) so I couldn't just let him fuss. So we were up A LOT and up for the day SO EARLY. By the time we got home Sunday evening I was so tired I went to bed by 9!

#1 spent the next 2 days home from school with a cold that she'd narrowly missed getting from her brothers but must have hit her after a couple of days with the cousins. Hopefully we've missed everything else the cousins far 2 of them have the chicken pox and one has strep throat. We'll see how lucky I can get.

But I do know that we are blessed to be part of a large, loving family. It was a great weekend!

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