Christmas In Two States

Our Christmas this year was split between two states.  The first Christmas was celebrated here in Minnesota with just the six of us.  We feasted on our traditional Italian dinner, the Things opened their presents from each other, there were presents from our TN family members and there were hot fudge sundaes for dessert.  It was the perfect prelude to the festivities that awaited us in Cali.  And wouldn't you just know it, this is the only photo we have of that night.  No shots of our dinner table, the six of us gathered or our Advent reading, no, not even the candles and hot fudge sundaes are making the blog this time around.  Then again his smile might just be enough summation of the evening for you.  Here is Husband Jared opening his "son of a nutcracker" coffee mug.  Name that movie...

We stayed up late into the night packing and organizing and preparing and cleaning.  When I say we tell me that you all know I mean Husband Jared and myself, sans Things.  I am the worst last minute packer, the worst!  I throw everything on the bed and my ever so patient husband packs it neatly away in our luggage, leaving me to wonder what I could be forgetting and did I bring enough shoes.  Right?  Anyhow, morning was going to greet us early and the 5am wake up call did not sit well with anyone.

I'm not sure I've mentioned here before but I do love traveling with all of our Things.  They wheeled their luggage in line like pros, printed boarding passes and went through security without issue.  They're the best.  Here they are looking so very chipper waiting for their coffee and bagels.

They did perk up after they were fueled.  While we were waiting to board a sweet family with young children was running through the airport with a large bag and books.  The mom and daughter, who was probably about 4, stopped at our table, wished us a Merry Christmas and gave this book to Thing 4.  Then they were off again, spreading Christmas cheer throughout the airport. 
 The book with an inspirational quote from the family.  A keepsake for sure.

We boarded our plane, opened our reading material and placed our headphones securely in our ears.  Next stop Phoenix and then our final destination, San Diego, where a very excited Poppi and Nani were awaiting our arrival and our first of many food related field trips.  In N Out.  Look at those smiles, happy, happy, happy.

My people and their food.  Favorites. 

From here it was a drive in holiday, California traffic, which is quite the combination.  We wound up missing church, due to said traffic, so we had an impromptu worship session with the radio leading us and headed straight for J and Corynn's house for taco night and a Christmas Eve celebration with the Jaques family.  The taco feast was delicious, the company even better and the fact that we could be sitting outside enjoying it all was delightful.  There was loads of cousin time, playing, reading and dancing.  Present opening, singing and finally sleeping.  A full night of all the best.  

Thing 4 and Olivia Lee

 After the kiddos were tucked in for the night, with the exception of Olivia, the Dads set to put the play house together.  Mind you no tools were needed and this was well before midnight.  Kudos to them.  And Olivia, she was the leader.

Family photo, Stucks and Hansons

Poppi and a few of his grand girlies.

I must say a few words about this photo to explain.  Gianna was adamant about performing for all of us in the garage.  It began with twirls and singing Frozen.  Then Uncle Jared arrived and had the grand idea of teaching her the Manchester United fight song, Glory, Glory Man Utd.  The girl is intense, as evidenced in this photo.  Also, smart.  She knew the tune after one go around with Uncle Jared.  Impressive.  Then we goated her into the idea of teaching her Daddy her new song.  Let's just say it's not his favorite.  

With people scattered all over the house I wasn't sure what to expect Christmas morning.  Lo and behold our Hanson family tradition held and Thing 1 was the first to rise.  One by one the other Things woke and crept downstairs to find Poppi and Nani.  It was such a treat to all be together in one house on Christmas morning.  While it wasn't our usual, the celebration did began with scripture reading followed by coffee, coffee cake and stockings.  Last but not least the little girls were awake and the look on their precious faces was just the best. More presents were opened, we feasted on breakfast casserole and fruit and Santa pancakes and treats and, and and.  We walked to the park, soaked in the sunshine and thanked God for the blessing it was to be with family on the day we celebrate His Son's birth.

Santa pancakes made by Aunt Corynn.  Upon seeing these our boy promptly said, "Where's his nose?", his cousin caught on and began asking questions too, thankfully Aunt Corynn is quick on her feet and added a chocolate chip.  Problem solved.  Like a boss.

Sleepy heads waiting for stocking time.

The stockings could not be hung, because they were too heavy.  

Christmas wonder.

Olivia and her new bike!

The present that made Poppi cry. (P.S. it doesn't take much)

More intensity from this one and her Merida bow and arrow.  
(favorite present)

My baby brother and his darling wifey, our host and hostess and cooks extraordinaire.

Hanson six on Christmas morning.  We loved our Christmas jammies.

The Stucks with Grandpa John. (Corynn's Dad)

The Cousins, the grand kiddos and my loves.

A full morning of activity left the two little girls ready for naps and the Things anxious to see their big cousins at Auntie Robin's and Uncle Joe's, where Christmas would continue.  So off we went, leaving the Stucks (well at least three of them, Gianna decided she didn't want to miss out on anything with my four Things) to nap and meet us later in the day.  

The extended familia was gathered at the Van Dierens and once we arrived hugs were passed out generously and we officially entered the house of loud.  The cousins were playing football, proper, out front, and games were being played inside as well, that's when we decided Big Bowl was in order.  For most, the game was new and was it ever fun!   Did I mention loud?  Yes, that too.  Three teams and about twenty five people all competing for the attention, I am sure we were quite the show.  We feasted, not on roast beast, rather ham and prime rib, too many sweets to list, coffee, I think some even went for a dip in the hot tub and then it was time to leave.  After all we had another birthday to prepare for the next day, and our Cali whirlwind extravaganza was just beginning.

Big and little cousins, or first cousins and cousins once removed, you figure it out.  We're only missing two, Kaya and Eden.  Jason and I look like we fit right in with the youngsters.  Or not.  Either way, how great to all be together.

Tristin playing Big Bowl, we might have been on the one word round here.  Brutal.  

That about sums up Christmas in two states.  Two days of endless togetherness, food, presents, game playing and generally good times.  Thanks for being a champ and sticking it out until the end.  

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