We had a huge crowd for Ugly Tree this year. I think we've discovered that the max number of people our house will really hold for this party is 25.
The most surprising fact was that the winner this year was a first time Ugly Tree participant. Generally in the past, those who have never played before come up with "kind of ugly but might be okay on the right tree" ornaments. The veterans of the party all agree that our standards of ugliness have grealty increased over the years. But apparently, as Amber said, my tastes are still just not quite ugly enough!
Since our Thanksgiving plan of going down to Texas to see Chris' aunt and uncle and their family got canceled, we instead went for Christmas. And we're very glad we did. His grandparents were also there, so we were able to spend some time with them, building memories and strengthening bonds.
While playing with the kids was wonderful, chatting to the grandparents special, and just enjoying Christmas for what it should be a meaningful time, I have to admit one of my highlights of the trip was definitely having lunch with my aunt-in-law (always fun just because I have found in her a kindred spirit and a woman I both respect and enjoy being with - surprisingly not always a combination easy to find) at an entirely gluten free restaurant! Such delight to be able to order without stressing about what was the food. And such good food! And with her six month old baby along, what could be more perfect?
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Any ways, intentionally or unintentionally, we found we up kind of following the 12 days even after we returned home because, of course, we still had our Christmas celebration with my brother, sis-in-law, and sister to look forward to as well as various other events and friends to meet with the next two weeks.
On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me a delightful fuzzy pair of sweat-pants and two new movies! PS I Love You has jumped very high into my favorite list and I just can't help but enjoy the charm of Ballet Shoes. This day we opened some presents and had the fun of seeing Chris' five cousins open our presents to them. And of course, the traditional Christmas feast in the evening with a lovely viewing of the Christmas Carol that night.
On the Second Day of Christmas we also opened presents but we, sadly, also had to drive back home on that day.
On the Third, Fourth, and Fifth days of Christmas - I nursed a rather bad cold that I had picked up from Baby-O (Chris' adorable, cuddly cousin) and recuperated from our trip.
On the Sixth day of Christmas, I went to work (boo), but also went to Silver Dollar City for the last time this season and took some friends with us. And it was COLD!
On the Seventh day of Christmas I went to work (again boo...although we were nicely released early), and then we went and played games and had wonderful conversation with friends until 1am! Happy New Year!
On the Eighth day of Christmas, I tidied up my house and unpacked my bags. And scared my husband by telling him about my plans for rearranging said house. And went to a bookstore to browse, and had dinner with other good friends.
On the Ninth day of Christmas, I enjoyed a day off work. And went grocery shopping to fill my fridge back up with food (desperately needed). I also went thrift-storing and picked up a really cute sweater for $3.
On the Tenth day of Christmas, I actually don't remember what we did! It's the lost day of Christmas, apparently. I do know that I did, finally, determine what my New Year resolution actually was for this year (more on that later). Yes, Yes, I know. A few days late.
On the Eleventh day of Christmas, we celebrated Christmast with my brother, sister, and sister-in-law. And we had crepes and played games and were all together very silly.
On the Twelth day of Christmas, I dealt with work being a regular entity in my life again, and settled down to catching up on all the things that needed to be caught up on after three rather scattered work weeks!
And then came Epiphany....and I felt the full force of 2009 settle upon us.