Kelly dropped off the rental car at Hertz (since Lindsey wrecked his Pathfinder) and we checked ten bags and boxes at the Southwest curbside counter. I love flying on SW because each person can check three bags. Here are all the Christmas gifts and our luggage. It's kind of a pain to have to check everything.
Here we are on a rather empty plane. We each could have had a row to ourselves.
Landing in Denver in the afternoon, it was our first glimpse of snow for the season.
Kelly's dad met us at baggage claim and we amazingly fit everything into their Camry, but three of us (Kelly, Lindsey and Christopher) had to have a box on our laps for the one hour drive home to his parents' house in Loveland.
Here's a shot of DIA just before sunset. It's a very recognizable airport, isn't it? Lindsey's taking a picture of me as I take this picture of her in the foreground.
Looks like it's going to be a white Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's house!
The snow was beautiful. Cold too. The good part is we don't have to live in the snow, but can visit it as often as we'd like to.
That evening, Kelly's two sisters and their families who live nearby in Longmont arrived, along with a few other relatives. Marlene (my mother-in-law) ordered a six-foot sub sandwich from King Soopers for dinner. Here's Mike and Deb, Kelly's sister and her husband.
Here's Marlene's sister, Aunt Jeanette, and her grandson, Corban, who actually lives in San Antonio with his mom and stepdad and half sister.
Here is Hailey! She's my brand new niece and her birthday is Christmas Eve. She and her sister were just adopted (it was finalized) on December 14 by Kelly's sister, Brenda and her husband, Joel. They have two sons, which Brenda gave birth to. Now HALF of the ten grandkids are adopted! So from the three siblings, my hub Kelly, his sis Deb, and his sis Brenda, each of us has adopted either one or two kids. Kelly and I are the only ones who haven't had any birth children. But we did START the adoption trend, and I'm so glad we did. Hailey is five years old now and loves being a princess and playing dress-up.
Here's Hailey with Grandma and Grandpa.
We always do a little reading from Luke on Christmas Eve and the kids put on a not-very-elaborate play, organized by Uncle Joel. Here's Jade, the other new addition to the family, bailing from her role as Baby Jesus. She wanted nothing to do with acting and fled the scene.
It was somewhat chaotic, but that's the general state with everyone together. The scripture reading is still a nice part, and is a good way to get everyone in the Christmas spirit, downstairs in the basement at Grandma and Grandpa's house.
The entire production only lasted about five minutes, but took at least a half hour to get all the kids settled and ready.
Here's the final curtain call-slash-photo op with nine of the ten grandchildren (remember Jade bailed, and cousin Corban is visiting. He's the one on the far left).
All the grandkids slept on sleeping bags and blankets and bean bags in the downstairs family room. Hailey is snuggling with her new doll she got for her birthday.
Courtney and Christopher are the same age and are always teamed up together when we are in Colorado visiting. They get along well most of the time. Everyone gets to open one gift on Christmas Eve, so Courtney wanted him to open the gift from her.
Here's Courtney and her siblings. From left, it's Kasey, Aly, Michael (he's their adopted kid, from Samoa) and then Courtney.
Marlene always gets the four of us a new set of matching Christmas pajamas to open as our one gift on Christmas Eve. I love this fun tradition.
Lindsey was the first grandchild in the family, followed by Kasey. Kasey is four years younger and five inches taller than Lindsey. They're excellent buddies.
Grandma got toe socks for all the big girls.
Aly is getting ready to hit the hay. The anticipation of Santa's coming soon fills the air. A plate of cookies is left out on the table and a few carrots for the reindeer.