Family Unites for Annual Christmas Celebration

What a day!  As I scanned through the pictures of our Christmas gathering, I realized I had a soundtrack running on repeat in my head.  Bryan Adam's "Christmas Time" was the featured tune:  

We waited all through the year
For the day to appear
When we could be together in harmony

It's the time of year when everyone's together
We'll celebrate here on Christmas day
When the ones you love are there
You can feel the magic in the air- you know it's everywhere

I couldn't have termed it any better!  This is a day we all look forward to ~ a day to relax, to enjoy, to catch up, to see who's doing what, where, and when!  Oh - and checking out the new babies is also a yearly treat!

Joe and Tiffany hosted 2011 Saturday, and it was AWESOME!  They just moved into a new home, and it was a fabulous venue.  *I told them in no uncertain terms:  if they will host every year, we'll rotate who does the food, we'll look into housecleaners, etc.!  Upstairs, they had a bouncy house for the kids.  On the main floor, the great room connected to the kitchen (always a hub).  Downstairs, two air hockey tables and a big screen entertained both big and little "kids."
Tepker Kids
 Uncle Jared tossing Kate all about
 "Hey, that's MY favorite blankie!" Tug-of-War between Uncle Jared and Eli
 Every little kid seems to love olives!  (That's Kate.)
 Nella, Christina, and Great Grandma M enjoy Kacie's little coos!
Bob, Marie, and Baby Ben catch up on the family's latest move:  back to the Northwest!  Welcome Home!
 Alex and Eli are only a few months apart.  They enjoyed taking cups out of the kitchen cupboards and playing kitchen!
 Joe rolled that huge beanbag over the kids, and the kids LOVED it!
 Eli at the Top of the Bouncy Slide
Bob's Grandkids
The Cyrus Girls
 The Cyrus Family ~ Tracey, Christina, Marley, Taylor, Kacie
 Uncle Mike caught the kids and tossed them over the the wall and into the bouncy house!
Uncle Mike lifted Kate by her ears!!
Alex, Gabby, Megan
 Piper was caught in the act!  Yummy brownie!
 James the Elf
 "Wait, here I am!  Don't take it without me!"  - Jim
 ("Not that I'm going to pay attention as you're taking the photo." - Jim)
 In all honesty, I did not mean to or notice that he then was cut OUT of the next photo (the one where I set the timer and jumped into it as well)!  Sorry, Jim!
Back Row:  Brannon, Lucas, Brian, Aimee, Bob, Theresa, Jordan, Kathy, Kevin, Marian, Tippy, Tracey, Piper, Aaron, Eli, Christi, Jared, Alex, Todd, Don, Marge, (and Jim)
Next Row:  Mike, Evan, Ben, Reason, Kim, (Rob is there in the other pics?), Lisa, Morgan, Nella, John, Sarah, Gabby, Scott, Megan, Joe, Marie, Tiffany, Kacie, Loren
Front Row:  Sammy, Brooklyn, Michelle, Haley, Owen, Christina, Marley, Kate, James, Taylor, Jenny/Me
Owen, Marley, Kate, Taylor, Sammy (and the back of Collin's head)
Eli purposefully and successfully went down the stairs head first for the first time!  (Ironically, in 2008 at the Christmas Party at Brian and Christi's, Kate climbed UP the stairs for the first time!)
 Kim played a tag game with Reason and the girls!
 The little kids did an ornament gift exchange.  Very cute!  They were SO excited to open their gifts!  *I had my kids decorate their own gift bags.  That was NOT appealing apparently!  The fancy wrapped packages were all picked first.
 James was so excited about his ornament that he rushed up to hang it on the tree!  So sweet.
 Kevin stuck a bow on Owen's back unbeknownst to O.
 (When he saw this pic, Owen said:  "Mom!  Why do I have that face?  ...  Oh.  I'm eating a candy cane!")

This "Guy" was my favorite wrap-job of the season!  It was a "Man Gift" or I'd have snagged it up for sure!!  Turns out everyone was afraid it housed "The Bear," a golden plague that is regifted as a gag every year.

But in the end, Loren opened the gift with "The Bear," and the man was made of candy bars, pistacios, and a Visa gift card!)
As it approached 9:00, Kate perched on Kevin's man gift and nearly fell asleep.  We immediately got her in jammies -- and she got her second wind and raced upstairs to the bouncy house.  :-)
 Brannon and Kim
 Baby Ben
"One dark night in the middle of the day, two dead boys got up to fight.  Back to back, they faced each other, drew their swords, and shot each other.  A deaf police man heard the noise.  Came over and shot the two dead boys.  If you don't believe this lie is true, ask the blind man, he saw it too." - Bob Carmody

Ok, that's not really what he was saying there, but I'm sure it was something similar!!  He taught us cousins that tale of opposites on a camping trip when we were little.  :-)
 Tiffany and Joe ~ Our Hosts
 (Jared admitted that he'd made the Candy Man ... moments after Tiffany declared "only a woman could be behind a wrap-job like that!"  Quite contrare!  The Carmody/Marshall men are famous for their "jerry-rig" antics!)
 Christina and Jared (my siblings are looking good!)
 Kathy and Granddaughter Gabby
 I thought it was ironic that Kevin's Male Gift was wrapped in a diaper box ~ and that Eli opened it!
 I love this photo.
 Joe and Brooklyn
My grandparents have lived in Eastern Washington (first Leavenworth where they ran a quaint, beautiful Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast, then Wenatchee after they closed the B+B).  But they have put their house on the market and are hoping to move back to the West side!  For Christmas AND for their 50th Wedding Anniversary, the family pitched in to raise a little money to help them afford professional movers and other travel expenses!
 Merry Christmas, Everyone!!

There's something about Christmas Time
Something about Christmas Time
That makes you wish it was Christmas every day