Every Christmas Zac and I make the rounds. When I was growing up Christmas Eve was always reserved for Grandma Toots and Grandpa Howard's. They aren't able to handle it anymore, primarily because Grandpa has a hard time with crowds and lets be honest, Christmas for 45 people is overwhelming. Especially when you are 87 and 92 respectively and trying to buy presents for every single person there. It is crazy. When I started dating Zac I found out his family had a big meal on the 24th. Everyone comes. I was sad to give up Grandma's but did. Then made Zac give up his family's for a year or 2 until Grandma and Grandpa decided it was their last year and back to the Ballard clan's we went.
This is Lolla's (Zac's mom) tree. This is the reason, every year, that Zac goes on and on about how fake trees suck. I myself prefer a glittery tree. Doesn't matter if it's white, gold, or silver, let it shine! But Lolla's tree is beautiful. It can't be denied. Just don't tell her it was me if she comes home to a spray glittered evergreen.
I think I have mentioned before that Zac has a big family. If I haven't, I have been remiss. He is the baby of 6 kiddos. He is also the biggest, even though the camera angel steals some of his height here. This is almost the whole family. Brendan's kids didn't get to make the trip from Texas, otherwise there would be 4 other crazy yahoos. I will give ya the run down.....
Back row is Brendan (brother) and his wife Katie, Logan, Ange (sister), Gary, Chris (brother), Zac and I, Jim (dad), Sara (sister), Casey and Joe.
Middle row is Lexus, Sam, Sue (sister) and Emily, Max, Cheyenne, Esme, Angie and Alexander, and Lilly.
Up front is Owen, Nolan and Kaylee.
This is how the families go...Brendan is married to Katie, he has Meredith, Caleb, Ben and Josh from his first marriage. Ange is married to Gary and has Lexus and Logan from her first marriage. Sara is married to Joe and has Sam, Lilly and Max. Chris is married to Angie and they have Cheyenne, Owen, Esme and Alexander. Sue is married to Casey, they each brought 1 to the party, Kaylee and Nolan and have baby Emily together. Whew...confused yet? I frequently call them the wrong names. Sorry guys. Now back to Christmas....
On Christmas Eve Lolla's church always does the Christmas story. The little kids act and sing. It's sweet. This year baby Emily was the star of the show. She put forth a very solid baby Jesus performance.
Just look at those little lambs and angels! They were cracking me up. My favorite part is that they kids each prepare a gift for Jesus, based on what talents they feel he has given them. Most sing or play piano. Apparently the kid playing Joseph didn't feel musically gifted because he dribbled a basketball. Jesus gave him mad b-ball skills. There was one other boy that was killing me. The kids that did sing generally kept with the holiday theme. A little Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, etc... then my favorite little wise man got up and busted out the national anthem. Ha-larious! But I kept a mostly straight face, except for that I was grinning big time. He got me good!
After that we always go back and get to chowing down, then presents and chit-chat and kids wrestling. Then there is the loading of the cars and bundling of the kids before everyone sets off home. Zac and I always stay the night then drive down to my parent's house the next morning. Here are a few of the family pics from our time and Jim and Lolla's
Zac and Jim
Katie and Nolan
Lolla and baby Emily (exhausted from her lead role)
Sara and Sam
Casey and Kaylee
Brendan and Katie
Lexus and Owen
I got lucky when I married Zac. I did inherit a big family that is hard to keep track of, but they are great. The like each other and that is so nice! I am just blessed to not be the girl that dreads her in-laws. I remember when I first met them his sister Sara said to me "Thank God you are normal!" to which I replied, "yep, very normal." And while normal is maybe not the right word for us, we are definitely happy and look forward to time together and that is what counts!
Next up....Elf hat Christmas with my family!