We hadn't been 'home' to Utah for two years so we had a lot of catching up to do!!
Baby Metta had yet to meet many of her extended family members- but our trip for Christmas got her all caught up with cousins and aunts and uncles.
Here she is with my sister Metta's baby Charlotte. They were pretty good pals- except when my Metta would try to climb on top of Charlotte or rip her bows off! Baby Charlotte is six months.
they look so grown up!!
We were there this year to take part in the big 'Howell Family Party'. I grew up with a ton of cousins on both sides of my family- and they are all still great friends today. we missed half of the families- but still got together with those who could make it! I really do love living in Ohio so so much- but I will admit that being around all of these great people makes me realize just how much I'm missing!
Here's the immediate family. We didn't get a single decent 'normal' picture- so this is our best family shot :) But- we're weird like that so it works. And I was told the party was 'ugly christmas sweater' style- thus the gingerbread sweater. Apparently everybody else missed the memo. Besides baby Charlotte. Her tutu and hairbow are pretty bad :)
and the Jayneses (minus several siblings and spouses). They make the white elephant party the best.
we did a lot of cousin time and eating out while we were there! eating out is one of my favorite things in the entire world!! thanks, mom and dad, for sponsoring our dining while we were there :) My little sis Metta works at Harvest- a fancy restaurant at Thanksgiving Point- so we went there quite a few times and used her discount :) And giggled a lot. I'm sure we were so bothersome to the other fancy diners.
Here Daysa (my youngest sister) and I were trying to get out tongues stuck to ice sculptures at the restaurant.
We also were lucky enough to see Grandma and Grandpa Oswald while we were there! My dad drove all the way up to Idaho to pick them up and bring them back so we could spend a morning with them. It was lovely. And I'm so blessed that my kiddos get to meet their great grandparents!
Plus- grandpa Oswald gave out old fancy real silver dollars while he was there!! Grandma Oswald's sister is named Marietta- and that's where the original 'metta' started. So there are three in our family right now- and to make matters more confusing- my great aunt metta is married to a Kent!
For Christmas Eve and Day we bounced back and forth between the Miller and Oswald houses. It's nice to be able to see both families when we come home! I can't imagine if our parents lived states away!
Christmas Eve was spent doing our traditional take out dinner. We had sushi, cafe rio, chinese, olive garden, fried pickles, texas roadhouse rolls, ribs, and more. I LOVE it. So does Kent.
We also did our much anticipated homemade Pixie Pal gift exchange. Kent drew Laney's name this year (it's always top secret until that night) and was bound and determined to redeem himself from his first pixie pal gift exchange ever. He made the sad scary armless sock monkey from 2003 a new sock kitty friend. With some new found skills taught by his mom- I'd say Kent has improved tenfold. Must be all the suturing at work and the project runway he's been watching with me :)
The gifts were pretty spectacular this year! My bro-in-law Taylor had me and made me the COOLEST church 'quiet book/activity set' EVER. I am so impressed! It's going to get it's own blog post. and then I'll pin it. and I'll be the most popular pinterest pin for a week at least :)
Christmas morning was lovely. Kent surprised me with a terribly expensive gift. I returned everything else he got me (like ridiculous 9 dollar nail polish and hideous eyeshadow that he know I'd hate)- and then put all of our christmas money straight into our accounts (meaning it isn't for 'fun' stuff). I love Kent. He knows me perfectly.
Zeb got all he wanted. A Power Rangers Samurai Megazord. It's hideous and I loathe power rangers. But he is so happy.
Metta got one gift from Santa (Nannie Annie). A stuffed cow. She LOVES it.
And she loved scavenging everybody's oranges from the bottom of their stockings. She loves orange peels. Gross.
Ikey got some awesome star wars speeders and racers that zoom on the hard floors and a gazillion hot wheels. Zeb picked out two awesome hot wheels cars for him at his 'Secret Santa Shop' at school and was so so excited to give them to Ike. It was adorable.
I feel like this was sort of my last Christmas with a sister at home. Technically she lives away at college but was home for Christmas. But by the next time we make it 'home' for Christmas who knows where she'll be. Everybody is grown up! and it makes me feel like an adult.
Milly is the cutest munchkin and I can't wait until metta can get pigtails like hers!!
And finally- I took some family pictures of Metta and her hubby Clair- and their baby Charlotte. This one is my favorite because I LOVE baby Charlotte's crooked face smirk. It's her trademark for sure :)
Just one more long Christmas post and I'll move on :)