Well, they say there’s no place like home for the holidays, and we couldn’t agree more. Kev and I haven’t been up to Chico since we were married 4 1/2 months ago, and boy was it a delight (all except the chilly weather that is)! But the weather was no match for the lively company, the delicious food, the festive decorations, and the rich conversations (marked with bouts of non-stop laughter) that we had. Just joyous! About 500 times did I find myself thinking about how blessed I was to just ENJOY my family, and for Kevin to enjoy them as well. Kev has become like another son to my father (he even let my dad deck him out in cycling gear for the big ride!), and a brother to my brother Peter! It’s fun to see how easily he fits into our family, and how we all adore him (me the most!!).
I could go on and on, but i’ll let the pictures tell the stories:)
Before we arrived in Chico, I called my grandparents to see if there was a night that Kevin and I could come out and spend the night at their house while we were home. They were SO excited, and my precious grandma replied “Katie, there is no better gift you can give us than your time!” And it was true…a special gift of amazing time. My grandparents live in a huge farm house where my dad grew up in a little Swedish farming community. It was SUCH a treat to sit and chat with them for hours…my grandpa got on a roll about “the old days” and Kev and I couldn’t believe some of his stories…singing in the quartet in the Navy during WWII, walking a mile to school on muddy roads (that were not paved till the late 1930’s)..evidently his dad got his buggy caught in the mud one winter and it stayed out there the WHOLE winter until the spring came and he could pull it out, only swedish church services, his mom crashing the old model-T car, cute stories about my dad…it was great. As we cuddled up that night we grinned ear to ear- there’s nothing like story time! In the morning my grandma made breakfast, and we sat around in the breakfast nook taking in the beauty of the rice fields, birds, and mountain range. Good start to a great vacay….
Next was the annual cookie baking day. And I must say, the men of our family really got at it this year. Dad, my crazy uncle Pat, brother, cousins and Kev really showed some tenacity with the sprinkles and frosting:) Kevin’s great feat was a sweet camel and santa claus, nice work babe!
Christmas Eve is certainly one of my favorite nights of the year, if not my favorite night:) My whole big hilarious Swedish family crowds into my grandparents home and eats food you’ve either A)never heard of or B) only seen at Ikea and wondered what the heck they were…we also always drink A&W rootbeer. No, that’s not Swedish but my grandpa said they’ve been doing it before he was born so it’s kind of a big deal (only day of the year I drink soda!).
We also participate in a gift exchange that never fails to get a little out of hand. Popular gift items include “as seen on tv” gifts (like the infamous shake-weight, or the always-lovable snuggie). This year I cheated and bought a gift I wanted. I picked it, someone stole it, and then I proceeded to steal it back!! I know, I know, that’s not the point of a gift exchange, but you would want my gift too…”1000 places to see before you die”. See, I told you it was worth it!
At some point in the night people get a little loopy. This year that “point” was a toss up between my aunt susan busting out in song with her newly gifted singing Elvis dog (500 too many times), and when all the parents were trying to convince us kids that they were yoga professionals and could do headstands. If you don’t believe me, see the evidence below (yes, both my parents are upside down in their Christmas clothes having a “head-stand off”) Merry Christmas to me.
Moving on…Christmas morning is really the most magical day of the year! Siblings and parents take turn exchanging gifts…sitting at the “seat of honor” on the fireplace hearth. We had a lot of fun…dad modeling his new attire, Kenny G Christmas jamming in the background, the boys making us the traditional Christmas morning meal of ebelskivers (round pancakes!) with lingonberry jam. Yum! I also love that I get to stay in my PJ’s all day.
My mom does an amazing job of making the house look so festive and beautiful. That night we had an incredible Christmas dinner of risotto, tri-tip, italian sausage, salad, garlic potatoes. We also learned how to play a SUPER fun game called Smart-Ass. The name probably wasn’t the most PC game to play on Christmas (as my G-ma pointed out a few times with a smile), but Kevin and I were killing it, so fun!
The day after Christmas we spend with my momma’s side…and it’s a guaranteed riot with my Aunts around. If only I knew how to post videos on this thing, i’d let you preview my Aunt Julie’s Michael Jackson moves (with glitter glove and all!)
Thankful and more thankful! Merry Christmas everyone!!