It has been a crazy busy couple of weeks! We spent an entire week out in Montana visiting my husband's side of the family and then came home with a few coughs and runny noses. On top of all that, the Christmas season is now upon us and the flurry of activity and preparations for the coming of Our Lord has been both fun and exhausting. Currently, I'm taking a break as my cinnamon babka rises (recipe to come soon!) to share some images from our time in Montana.
Now, this was the first time since 2007 that Paul and all eight of his siblings have been together in one place at one time. Matthew was excited to be reunited with his cousins Benedict and Steven and Emma was thrilled to meet her little cousins Evelyn and Elena. We had a great time catching up, playing games, and enjoying this special time together. Paul came home with a new card game to play - pinochle! - and Matthew came home with a 500 piece parrot puzzle that is currently taking over the dining room table since it is still in the progress of being built. But perhaps I should let the pictures tell the story. Beware, there are many.
Emma simply adored her cousin Steven. And he adored baby Lucy. This sweet, gentle, fun-loving little nephew of mine holds a special place in my heart.
Matthew adored having another buddy around who shares many of his same interests: puzzles, wrestling, LEGOS, and just being silly.
Lucy loved her Aunt Ali! In fact, Lucy gobbled up all the attention she received. She is a very social baby and feels secure as long as there is someone holding her or playing with her. She was spoiled rotten by the many, many pairs of hands that held her during our visit. This was great during our time away, but was horrible when we came home with a spoiled baby!
Lots of attention from Grandpa. He was quite smitten with his youngest grandbaby. I told you she was spoiled!
John Paul is a board game lover. Here he is playing a game with the boys. Matthew really loved this!
One of the nights, Ali came over and prepared a big Italian dinner for everyone. She made two kinds of gnocchi, a cheese sauce, and meatballs. Everything was fantastic!
Happy Lucy getting even more attention from her Aunt Amy!
One afternoon, Uncle Peter decided to make grilled cheese and tomato-basil soup for everyone. He then proceeded to instruct the kids to dip their sandwiches in the tomato soup. All three of them made faces at first, but after trying it they were converts! Emma was especially fond of this meal and has requested it at home several times since we've been back.
The weather switched from being nice and semi-warm to freezing cold and snowing. We took advantage of one of the nice afternoons to get outside with the kids. Emma loved being pushed by Grandma on the swing.
Lucy loved the swing too. I have no idea when she lost her sock! Matthew was having fun pushing Lucy on the swing - don't be fooled by his look of confusion!
Emma and Steven began dancing to music in the kitchen. It was the cutest thing. Unfortunately, I had a hard time capturing a really good picture of it, but Stevie was being such a sweet little gentleman and Emma was totally eating up the royal treatment she was getting from him. "Please you twirl me, Steven?" she kept asking him. She eventually exhausted him and he retreated to work on a puzzle. Emma's just giving you practice for later, Stevie. Women are demanding!
Playing away with Aunt Mary Rose! Mary Rose painted Emma's toenails with a glitter polish and Emma mourned the day all the polish washed off. This of course meant I had to go to the store and buy her some glitter nail polish and we have been painting our nails almost daily for about a week now. Thanks, MRTN!
Uncle Steven came home from college! He also became a quick favorite with Matthew. Matthew loved that all his uncles took time to take him outside in the bitter cold and snow. His mother certainly was not willing to do it and the little guy loved it!
The littlest cousins. This is little Elena. She and Lucy are only two months apart. Lucy is a bit fatter.
All the little girl cousins playing together: Elena, Lucy, Emma, and Evelyn. So many "E" names to keep track of!
The whole family in one picture!
Another take of the family picture - I like this one because Emma is trying to pull out poor Andrew's beard. Just her subtle way of telling him to get rid of it!
Emma's dream came true when she was able to help "feed" her cousin Evelyn. Thankfully, Evelyn was actually welcoming of being fed by Emma and both girls managed to eat most of their dinners. Emma enjoys being patronizing and since she has not been able to help with feeding baby Lucy, she was all about practicing on Evelyn.
Here we are all gathered together to celebrate Grandpa's 60th birthday! It was a fun night of tacos, games, and prizes. We all had such a blast!
This is a really blurry picture that I found on my camera but it totally made me crack up! What is Uncle Andrew doing to my poor child?!
All the siblings together in one place for the first time since 2007. It's crazy how much everyone has grown up all of a sudden! I remember when most of these kids were babies and now everyone is practically an adult. Such a good looking bunch. Especially you Paul - shiny head and all!
I love this picture from Thanksgiving morning. Look at James holding both Elena and Emma - and look at Emma snuggling her baby cousin. So cute!
Happy Thanksgiving! We hope your time with family, friends, and relatives was just as joyous and fun as ours!