This is my family. My mom, dad (on phone with my grandma), sister and her husband (Yes, he is wearing a black dickie under a white sweater, a la Cousie Eddie in Christmas Vacation.) They were all nice enough to drive 1.5 to 2 hours just so I could have some Christmas celebration at my house this year. Because our snug two-bedroom condo doesn't sleep nine, I can't host any overnight holidays.
I served three kinds of homemade soup: my White Bean Chicken Chili, and two soups from The New Basics: a Winter Squash pureed with cream, and a brothier winter vegetable with potatoes, leeks, celery and spinach. The three kids (not pictured) had canned chicken noodle.
We exchanged gifts last night, and my parents were so generous, buying us a videocamera so we can take video while in Vietnam and later of their grandchildren. I can't believe how small it is! I'm taking a poll: Do people think we need one that holds more than 7 hours of video? I doubt it.
My brother-in-law kept with a tradition of giving us home improvement as a gift. Last year he installed our new kitchen lights. This year I unwrapped a piece of drywall, which meant he was going to fix the holes he left in our ceiling. In the past year he has learned how to drywall--by going to Mississippi to help rebuild houses after Katrina.
But the best gift of all was this beautiful pin made by my 15-year-old godson Jack. It's that clear polymer stuff in a bottlecap with a little wreath. I also got a matching one with a snowflake. My sister (the non-crafty one, of Jesse Tree fame) has her kids make a gift each year for each of their grandparents and godparents. As the kids get older, the gifts get nicer and nicer! Last year I got a beautiful hand-painted silk scarf. I love the idea of instilling in my kids the importance of giving of yourself, so I plan to adopt this tradition with my own children.
Thanks again, Schlumpfs, for making the treck to our house. We'll see you soon at New Year's!