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Shoveling snow. Kids from Virginia don't realize this is a chore.
They do however eventually realize that snow is cold, and this is not acceptable to Anya.
Let me in! It's freezing out here!
Mark waits impatiently while Holly struggles to find this "really good song" on her new ipod.
Anya likes to lick her frosting knife. By the end of the week everyone will have mysteriously taken ill.
Sugar those sugar cookies sugar!
Angela makes the "safe" cookies. I ate a few of those.
Sylvia's "Blue Period" began this day.
Christmas Eve Presents
The ritual opening of the Christmas PJs
Sylvia adds jazz hands, and doing so, amps up the excitement of the event considerably!
Bundle up baby, we're heading back out into the wild.
Time for the annual feeding of the woodland critters
Sasha and Anya appear to be smiling, but actually their lips are frozen to their teeth. If you zoom in you can see the frozen tears encrusting their cheeks.
Anya distributes the feed
Tess has a photo-bomb cameo in this picture I was taking of Jeff and Maddie.
The kids scramble to wrap a few last minute presents
AKA: delaying bedtime
Sasha pre-emptively thanks Santa for all the toys she assumes will be delivered by morning.
In an attempt to set an insane precedent, the kids gather at the top of the stairs at 6am Christmas morning.
It was argued that we couldn't put them "back to sleep" so we started our day at 6am.
Santa had indeed come, although I'm sure he
didn't appreciate being rushed out before 6am.
His wrath will certainly be evident next Christmas.
Sasha's loot was stashed in a new sleepover tent. Sylvia's in a giant beanbag chair.
Sasha got this super cool electronic engineering set. Number one on her wishlist!
Anya got more Bratz dolls than it was thought to exist AND a pirate ship and treasure chest.
Lucy got a drum kit and the world would never be the same.
The children rush the presents
Mayhem ensues. Anya, disoriented by having to wake up at 6AM, bursts into tears. She is confused and frightened.
Sasha finds the Wii game she wanted. Anya gradually adapts to the situation.
Seeing wrapped presents and a festooned tree, her sleep deprived brain re-associates and her Christmas commences.
Lucy, I mean Mark, enjoys the new drum
set. He was heard to say "Look Mom! It's just my size! I
can do it!"
Our collective pride washed over the room as blinding as the sun that was scheduled to rise at some point much later that the morning.
Sasha gets her "Soft Kitty Warm Kitty" shirt. Anya opens some Littlest Pet Shop toys.
Sasha gets some Pet Shops too followed by her Most Wanted Monster High girl.
AND the Monster High Car.
Anya is speechless, unable to move or even draw breath, overcome by joyous rapture after unwrapping 12 My Little Ponies in one package!
Holly gets a coffee mug.
Sasha loads her Angry Bird slingshot just in time to take out Grandma who makes a desperate play for the drum kit.
Angela looks on. Her face a mixture of festive wonder, disgust and love.
Stockings = More Stuff
They are dumped, inventoried, compared and ultimately complaints are filed by way of tears to protest inequities.
Hours later, after I rose from a 3 hour nap, Anya rocks the house.
Everyone is waiting to go to Christmas Day at the Rowlands.
We decorate the children in dresses and boots.
And arrive at Stately Rowland Manor.
For 5 bucks Grandma & Grandpa will pose with "one child" from each family.
Sasha's "Little Sasha" doll immediately snags the best chair in the house.
This bar diagram in the first photo represents the differences in Height based on Age.
"No you da man! Now give me some punch Daddy!"
Anya is so psyched to open more presents, her hair is literally "standing on end."
A giant Loopsy Doll to rule them all. Some of the years hottest titles on Blu Ray / DVD combo packs!
A frozen treat maker! Something blurry that I can't make out.
A Lego Friend for Sasha.
Then finally... After DAYS of anticipation that no one knew was taking place... Anya opens her Pinypons!... and goes crazy.
She literally squealed / shrieked with delight.
And then again a moment later when she opened "Little Anya" her first American Girl doll.
Colin feigns gratitude as he looks envyingly at Maddie's House of Stark shirt. His Targaryen frock bearing the standard of a disgraced and lesser house.
Sylvia reaches male puberty while no one is looking.
What's this? Why it's every fairy Squinkie ever made!
Anya is already deep in thought regarding the styling of her mini-me.
Presents opened, kids playing, finally the serious money game starts in the dining room.
The game is "no-limit Omaha eight-or-better" and the stakes are high. I've seen bloody gold teeth hit the pot in years past.
Her kittens 100's of miles away, loneliness sends Anya into the paws of another.
Grandma has never been more proud of a gift card purchase at the bookstore.
Now for a game of spin-the-baby!
Anna wins so she gets choking privileges. This is Anya's least favorite new Christmas tradition.
The Council of Elders assembles at the Chinese restaurant.
Sasha and her thing are excited for Christmas 2 dinner.
The buffet is quickly emptied.
My annual pictures of Tess eating and drinking.
The kids chop stick their way to a Noodley Nirvana.
Lucy decides to liberate the entire ice cream tub from the buffet.
When we return, it's a surprise anniversary party for Lisa and Jeff.
Surprise! It's your anniversary!
Cake and champagne dreams.
Followed by a classy toast.
The Happy Couple!
It would have been a fun party... but then we remembered the children were there.
Grandma, sick of waiting of the "anniversary yap yap" to end, grabs a knife and just cuts a piece of cake for herself.
The reading of the card.
Maddie diminishes back to the even more frozen, if that is possible, North.
Wacky poses and gang signs!
Sasha opens a present from Aunt Mary, and then is crazy with edge-of-her-seat anticipation to see what Lucy got.
A cool alien book for Sasha
Sylvia and Anna only accept cash and gift cards these days.
Tess is cash only.
Star Wars Legos. The force is strong in Aunt Mary.
A embroidered shoulder bag from Sasha and Anya!
Mark, seething with barely controlled contempt and rage, waits impatiently for his present.
Finally it arrives and the entire Monty Python Collection from Holly & Alan (but mostly Alan) puts him at ease. For now...
Ooooooooohhhh....Ooooooooohhhh....Ooooooooohhhh....The gamut of present opening facial expressions.
More stuff for Aunt Mary.
A glorious and majestic birthday table centerpiece for Lisa.
What's that saying? "Two birds in hand is better than a bush or something?"
Little La La Loopsies for Little La La Anya.
Sick day. The Flu transforms the holiday into vomit splattered wasteland.
Anya pretends she's not still sick
Lisa shows off what we "should have bought" at the bookstore.
Holly gets some Real Michigan Oatmeal!
By Bye Rowlands!
More breakfast treats and Grandma & Grandpa's house.
Tear-filled goodbyes begin.
Cuddlin with Grandma.
A sister stack in the bean bag chair.
Bye bye Grandma & Grandpa.
Bye bye Aunt Mary.
And with a loud and annoying drum solo, Anya plays us off.
We arrive for a quick visit to Grandma & Grandpa Wiseman's.
Making ice cream sundaes after dinner.
Anya shows Mommy where she was sitting while she waited for her ice cream.
Sasha presents the necklace she made for Grandma.
Grandpa looks through this year's Sasha & Anya yearbook.
Sasha and Anya open their Christmas Fun Boxes!
Then show off some of their goodies.
Grandpa gets the complete Mr. Bean DVD set.
Dad: "How did you know I liked Mr. Bean?"
Alan: "All Dad's like Mr. Bean."
Grandma and Sasha read a new book about Michigan.
Then leaf through the yearbook while Grandpa and Anya pilfer Chex Mix cooling on the counter.
The Pool Pals
Take a nice swim in the hotel pool on the way home.
Anya did pretty good this year with the water wings.
WE had a super fun Christmas! See you all soon!
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