Friday, January 2, 2009


Every family has traditions. Ours is full of them. Many go back to my mothers childhood, others go back to when the Hurd kids started bringing spouses into the family, and some new ones are being added every year!
In our family we celebrate Christmas Eve Eve, the 23rd of December. This is our Christmas Eve. We start our celebrations a day early so that when we need to spend the Holidays with our Spouse's family we haven't missed out on spending it with ours.

Dinner is strictly appetisers and desserts. This was a request by my aunts and uncles when they were kids and starting their own family traditions. My mom's parents and siblings and their kids have started coming down to Fresno to join us in our Christmas Eve Eve Celebration.

Here are all the kids that were there this year! What a crew!
Ashlyn, Mom, and Tara

Jeff Brynne and I hanging out after dinner, just before we headed out to our annual hay ride around the neighborhood to see the lights and sing Christmas Carols. Usually our ride is pulled by gorgeous horses, but our friend was recovering from surgery this year, so we had our ride pulled by a big ole truck!

A glimpse down my street. I tried to show the bumper to bumper traffic and the hordes of people walking the streets but they didn't turn out. Just know that we had lots of company on the streets with us that night!
My Aunt Michelle and I bundled in hats and scarves for the ride.
Jeff and my cousin Melissa

Sequoia, Lauren, a bit of Austin and Drew, and Brynne

Brynne and I in line to see Santa

Garrett, Drew and Wes on our way back home

Dad and Ashlyn

Mom, Me and Tara walking along side the hay ride

Jeff, Uncle Rick, and Jason getting ready to watch the annual showing of the nativity by the kids and organized for the first time by Sterling and his wife Katie. They are the ultimate organizers of the kids games and activities. The kids worship the ground they walk on!

Somehow this dress was in with our nativity costumes. Brynne saw it and knew instantly it must be Cinderella's dress. She insisted on wearing it and making sure that Cinderella had a part in the Nativity production. Traditionally this isn't how the story goes, but we decided that a princess could assist in the angel's duties.

It was obvious to all that Wes is nearing his spunky teenage years. He was a very macho Joseph this year.

All in all it was a good night. Our Relatives from Sacramento headed home as the locals tucked kids into bed and waited for Santa to arrive.

The morning of the 24th we stumbled out of bed at 7 am, some with just a few hours sleep, and were greeted with the spoils of Christmas from Santa, mom dad and siblings. My parents and Grandparents who had stayed the night and Sterling and Katie came to watch our kids open presents.

Once we finished at home we loaded up the car with gifts for my siblings and parents and the cousin exchange and headed over to my moms. We always have a breakfast casserole and hot chocolate for breakfast. Since Katie has joined the family we have added some yummy sticky buns to our morning feast.

Here are Jeff and the kids at my moms.

By one o'clock we all headed home for naps and to play with our new fun toys. Then we got together again in the evening for dinner and games. Tara was a pro with the eyes closed sketching in Cranium!

On the morning of the 25th we loaded up our cars and drove up to Sacramento to join the rest of the extended family for another Christmas Day. One of our long standing traditions is to play the present game. The one you often play with White Elephant gifts. Everyone gets a number and we go in order unwrapping or stealing each others gifts. We now have a kids game and an adult game and the gifts are usually pretty good so there is a lot of friendly competition! Below are pictures at Steve and Michelle's during the present game.

Brynne kept entertained by learning to ride Murphy, Steve's dog!

We ate a fantastic ham dinner, played lots of games and watched grandma and Grandpa open their gifts. Three days of Christmas fun had left these boys a little slap happy!

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