Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing Catch Up Part 4 - Christmas 2013

 Ross Family Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013 marked the very first year that my whole extended family was all together for Christmas. I will be forever grateful for everyone making such huge efforts to get here. We had family from California, Colorado, Arizona and Georgia who all traveled to the Pacific Northwest to be together for the holidays. It was magically wonderful. 

It was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas after we visited Santa. Such a relief comes over both girls once they know that their lists of “ideas” are safely in Santa’s huge bag ready to make it’s way back to the workshop. They know it is there that he scours the naughty or nice list and begins filling orders. Neither of them showed any signs of shyness this year as they pointed and discussed their desires with the jolly old elf. He was quick to point out the different tactic each girl took. Treya’s wildly general list that read item one, ANYTHING with princesses, item 2 ANY jewelry, item 3 ANY game, was far different than Devi’s uber specific list. She did not point out catalog pages or stores where each item could be found like my brother has done in years past, but she was quite detailed none the less.  I did have to jump in once or twice to help Santa “decode” Devi’s hand written note letting him know that “#9disiekablme” was in fact referring to a request for the Despicable Me movie.

All the cousins together for the first time for Christmas

By the morning of the 24th, and after much anticipation, everyone had finally arrived. As is our tradition, we spent Christmas eve at Oma’s house eating clam chowder for dinner and attending her church afterward. It was an amazing site to see all six of her grandchildren ages 4 through 13 perched in the pew in front of us together for the holidays for the first time. Oma was beaming.

Christmas morning was the first time we had overnight guests to wake up with us to find bulging stockings! Amazingly, Santa knew we had guests and had managed to deliver the right gifts under our tree so there was something for everyone. All of us grownups wallowed in the warmth of the fireplace, sipping momosas, watching the squealing delights of the kids discovering what was left for them under the tree. It was fun to watch the older kids let their mature guards down a little and jump right into assembling and playing with the kiddie toys that the younger ones had received.

By the afternoon, our crowd had grown to 33 family members as we prepared for our Christmas feast. Somehow we managed to put table end to table end allowing us all to sit at ONE long Dr. Seuss style table. Well, minus the kids, who much preferred their own table to dine and have their own kid centered conversation. My goal was to have everyone have a hot meal served at one time, at one table, and we nailed it. Beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, salad, bread and vegetable side dishes were served all at once, thanks much to all those hands we had to make it happen. 

Afterward we had our annual white elephant gift exchange which was so much fun. The kids were chatting to “keep it” or “give it” as their parents unwrapped one of an assortment of odd gifts. I am certain our voices could be heard a block away from our house with the explosion of excitment we had going on inside.

The week that followed was full of fun activities for the cousins to share. We went ice skating, made gingerbread houses, watched movies, had pajama parties and played new games, Barbies and had many many robust rounds of hide-n-seek in the house. The girls glammed up after going on a shopping spree with Oma to spend some Christmas mad money, nearly clearing the shelves of Bath and Body Works. Our last big night together, we all went out to dinner to celebrate Oma’s December 31st birthday. Needless to say, when the week of festivities was over, there were tears shed as we had to say so long to all of our out of towners. Even Bengal was sad to say goodbye to Chase, the golden retriever who made the trip up from California. 

I would have to say that this Christmas will go down in history as one of my most memorable. The kids got a long great and really got to know each other, making lasting memories together. In years to come, I hope we can pull this off again and again, but I warned this year...winking....no one is allowed to get married, adopt or have babies as our table was full to capacity!  (no doubt, we will always be able to fit one or two more!)


Peter and Nancy said...

I just love all of the cousin pictures -- what an amazing chance to spend time together, before anyone is in college or has jobs! Merry Christmas, belatedly ... :o)

Karen said...

Wow! Julie, you have such a gift of bringing us all in to your home and helping us experience the moments in your family, big and small. What a wonderful Christmas! Congrats to you for pulling off such a joyful celebration.

:) Karen


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Emily said...

Hi Julie! I have been a follower of your blog for years, a native of Tacoma, have 2 siblings by way of Kolkata, and I'm planning a trip to India for my family of 5!!

I have re-read you post from your trip with Devi & thought you'd be a good person to ask :)

I would REALLY appreciate any guidance you could offer on how to get started & how to manage (& enjoy!) it all with kids (11,9,6)!

We are going to fly into Calicut to stay with friends for 5-6 days then onto Agra & finally Kolkata.

If you have a chance I'd love to hear from you :) Thank you! (emily dot harry at gmail dot com)

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat
I loved reading all your posts. Whilst waiting for my own little princess form India, they gave me so much comfort.
And then when I got her, there was comfort in your words knowing everything would be fine and guidance in your stories like a helping hand.
Its been a few years now since I have my little girl (2011)and have been reading your blog.
I thought to post this, just to know you are indeed okay and all is well with you and your family and you have stopped posting just because life has gotten busy.

Wish you all the very best