One of the hardest things about being out here is spending the holidays without our extended family. We miss you guys all so much.
Topher, who works for Pat, and his wife, Lisa, and their girls invited us to spend Christmas Eve with them... little did we know what an adventure it would be!
It seems that they get together with a whole circle of extended family and friends (some of whom Topher and Lisa didn't even know) so we didn't end up feeling out of place at all.
One of the neat things they had set up was a table with a whole bunch of craft projects for the kids to tinker with. It really gave them not only something to do, but something to visit with each other about and break the ice, which was very nice.
Autumn is a bit older than Topher and Lisa's girls. Marissa is 9, Anne Marie is 7ish and Lily must be around 5.
This is Lilly, Autumn and Anne Marie.
The girls hard at work crafting... something.
Autumn as a Christmas cat
I kept trying to catch Autumn unaware, as her clown nature comes out as soon as she realizes the camera is on her. Proof below...
Before she notices the camera.
Oooh, there's the camera!
Lisa and I commiserated about our girls' hair issues. Marissa's is longer and more wavy than Autumn's but they both have that very very thick hair that makes brushing a hassle, and both want to wear it long.
I took a lot of pictures... I mean... a lot... I think this was well into the evening, and Topher was incredulous that I was /still/ shooting pictures.
It was a really fun afternoon/evening. We laughed a lot. Especially Pat.
Along with her own three girls, Lisa babysits James, who is just adorable.
Lisa and James say "Are you /still/ taking pictures?"
I don't know why, but inevitably when we are somewhere with a group of people with silverware, spoons must be hung on noses.
I think Pat starts it.
Skye, a friend of Topher and Lisa's is a very good nose-spoon hanger.
We may very well be a bad influence on James...
Did I mention the food was incredible? Topher's brother is a chef down in Hartford. We had brisket to die for, two kinds of stuffing, turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes... and way more stuff that I can't even remember. It was amazing.
Topher's Mom brought out her laptop so that the kids could track Santa's progress across the night sky on Santa Radar.
We had a Yankee Gift Exchange (which is apparently like a Chinese Gift Exchange except... New Englandish.)
Note in the background how Shana is contemplating bonking Topher on the head and stealing his gift...
I'd seen one of these at the store last summer and thought it was really cool. I traded something for it (movies, cocoa and popcorn, I think...)
It's a head massager!
It was a big hit with folks at the party.
Topher watches as his best friend, Jenn, tries it out.
All in all, it was a really nice Christmas eve!
Wish y'all would have been there!