First of all, let me say that it has been so much fun decorating and celebrating Christmas together. The whole deciding who to see for what holiday has not been so fun. This year we made the mistake of trying to do it all...well folks, let me tell you--it's exhausting! I mean, it's so much fun seeing everyone, but I'm thoroughly pooped after traveling and constantly driving to see someone. In the end though it was so great to see our loved ones.
First, on Saturday, we celebrated with the O'Neals. It was great to see all of my Dad's side of the family, especially my aunt and uncle and cousins we rarely see now that they moved to San Diego, CA (jealous). I was even more jealous that they came to Christmas dinner tanned and freckled. We ate, laughed, hugged and ate again.
Then, Sunday, Frank and I had the opportunity to do something special. Our church has been purchasing backpacks and filling them with all sorts of things like: socks, gloves, toiletries, hats, and a New Testament with a thoughtful Christmas note in it. We ended up collecting over 150 backpacks! Frank and I along with a small group of others (about 12 of us) drove into Jersey city with a few vans full of backpacks and distributed them to some homeless people on the street. It was great to just love on them, bring them hot coffee and donuts, pray with them, and see them smile. It was heartbreaking watching them get excited about a bottle of listerine or a pair of socks. It really helped Frank and I to be extra grateful for the gifts were were blessed to both give and receive and it was truly a blessing to see the smiles on the faces of those precious people from Jersey City. I hope this is the beginning of a tradition for us.
Then, Monday, Frank and I attended his grandmother's sister's home for the traditional Italian Seven-Fishes dinner. I'll tell you this, seven is not the correct number. It should be 14 fishes. Seriously. I prepped this time at least, from experience, and didn't eat all day so that I wouldn't get full too fast. But still, by the time we got to course number 10 or 11 I felt like I was going to explode. And somehow I managed to make room for some of Aunt Sandy's delicious cheesecake and homemade cookies! Here are some photos of the deliciousness we were able to enjoy.
First we had shrimp cocktail, crab meat stuffed mushrooms, mussels, and clams casino. With Aunt Sandy's homemade wine of course.
Next, we had both white and red pasta. To die for.
Then we had calamari, garlic broccoli, fried cauliflower, baklava, crab stuffed jumbo shrimp, lobster tails, and tilapia. I seriously had trouble keeping up!
Needless to say, on Christmas morning I was still full! But, Frank and I made a point to make a delicious breakfast Christmas morning anyway.
|It's still dark in this picture because we couldn't even wait until 7am to open presents...|
we were like kids this year!
|Frank kinda snuck in this picture...not like our living room is clean by any means.|
Then, we took Frank's mom up to see my parents and sister for a Christmas dinner where we exchanged gifts and had a nice, relaxed evening. We were truly blessed this year and I really hope you all had just as nice of a Christmas this year!
Oh, and a few favorite gifts...my parents got us a Keurig! Couldn't be any more excited! And Frank got us a gym membership (I guess that's a hint?) and lots of gym equipment I've both needed and wanted for a while. We are excited to get back into shape! Last night was our first night at the gym and I did 2 miles! Getting a head start on one of our resolutions...I'll be posting more about that later.
I hope you all had an excellent holiday! I can't believe 2012 is coming to a close already! But, I'm super excited to start a fresh, new year. Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy the weekend.