Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Our James - Gang Christmas

James Gang - 24 (really 25!) and counting...
All of my brothers and their families gathered from their far-flung homes in Tulsa, Alpharetta and Bozeman for a Fort Worth family Christmas. So far our little group weighs in with 24 members, and it'll be 25 this summer with Luke and Julie's new little one.

Thanks to Daboo's clever Christmas gift - we knew what order to open gifts in!
The grandkids' names on these t-shirts are listed in order from oldest to youngest... besides our four kiddos, all ten of the other cousins are younger than Esther, most all between two and five years old. It's a fun, never-a-dull-moment, high-squealing, lotsa-highchairs-and-pack-n-plays kinda par-tay.

Some highlights from our week:
- Thank goodness Aunt Julie didn't get around to making cookies for Santa before they left Tulsa, because it meant the rest of our families got to make cookies for Santa! Julie is quite the Christmas cookie expert ~  everything from scratch, with a streamlined assembly line of cookie cutters, soft dough, and colorful baggies of icing.
Aunt Julie - the Christmas cookie master
If only Daboo was having more fun
Just when you think Esther's serious, take a peek at Aunt Julie in the background
Ready for Santa (unless Uncle Trey accidentally samples it again)
 - Daboo's brand-new electric scooter. She's accumulating grandkid toys as well as Granny did for us

- Hours and hours of attic play ~ a perfect playground for the kids. And even a little nap-time tabata workout with Aunt Crystal, Basden and Essie

- A girls' afternoon ~ water aerobics and La Madeline ~ very fun to steal away for a couple of hours

- Cappy lining up a JSF tour for all the grown-ups, while Daboo and a couple of moms kept hopping with kids at the trampoline park

- Campisi's, Rio Mambo and Granbury Babe's ~ and the fact that each could fairly quickly assemble a table for 24 (!)

- Losing 2-year-old Brantley, and finding him in Cappy's closet. With the door closed. And the light off. Cool as a cucumber.
Cappy later whispered to little Brantley, "I understand."
A few good (very good) men... Chris, Corbin, Luke, Trey
The power of Youtube
Bran's welcome shadow of little Marshall all week
Ashlyn and Scarlett weren' about to miss out on Bran's attention
- Christmas eve and opening gifts. We implemented cousins drawing names a few years ago, so each kiddos has a "secret Santa" with just one gift to open... surely a cut to national holiday spending (!), this tradition simplifies our family celebration

This year especially, as the kids are getting older, they are enjoying each other and getting to know each other better
Basden was very grateful that Julie's boys are Vera Bradley fans
Really doesn't matter whose gift needs to be opened ~ everyone jumps in to help
Trey-s guac ~ why we invite him to Christmas
Luke and Brantley - the two babies (but not for long, Branley!)
Christmas morn stockings
Sweet Ashlyn, her pretty and consistent smile
Luke, Brantley and Cappy
A foyer full of princesses
Broderick and Bogan - Tulsa boys checking out their loot

Hud and Uncle Chris
Amy, me, Daboo
- Christmas day ~ Playing in the creek and climbing the cliffs behind the house. Perfect for getting outside to play, but staying close to the house for little ones' naps
Basden and Ashlyn
Who knows what these two are up to??
Uncle Luke ~ surrounded!
Uncle Christian and his girls
Joy Taylor with Uncle Corbin
Trey and his mini-me, darling Brenna
 - Who wants to take a spin in the airplane?? Cappy in his element
A gorgeous day for flying

Cappy taxying from the driveway to the runway with Marshall and Aunt Amy
The rest of us on our way to watch
How many James kids can a golf cart hold?
- Pretty Christmas weather for playing outside, park dates, and even a little fishing
I think they use those fishing pole covers to pretend they're really wielding light sabers

Basden was in heaven with all these little ones - absolutely giddy

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Already looking forward to Thanksgiving 2014... thanks, all, for sweet Christmas memories!