Monday, December 20, 2010

Family Party #2

Last night we had our annual Christmas gathering with my mom's family.  Mom comes from a big extended clan, with lots and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  They are big and loud and VERY friendly and always have enough food for a small army around.  When Steve first saw the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding he commented that he had married into The Big Fat Dutch Family and I must say, there are some similarities. There were at least 50 of us together yesterday (including five 3 year olds!) and I think Rachel talked to every single person!  She is SUCH a social butterfly. 
We chatted with the relatives, munched on goodies, and looked at old pictures.

My grandpa and his family immigrated from Holland as children.  Once in America, they became completely assimilated, giving up their language and all of their Dutch traditions.  All except one.  Every Christmas we make oleykoek, a fried dough fritter, studded with raisins and apples, and dusted in powdered sugar.  They are delicious and it's impossible to eat just one.  For many in my family, Christmas tastes like oleykoek.  This year my Uncle Don was the chief oleykoek cook.
When I was little, Santa always visited during our family Christmas event.  We had to sit on Santa's lap long after we thought we were too big to do so.  Eventually, Santa stopped visiting.  But a few years ago the tradition was revived, to the delight of the kids (and the parents, too).  Last year Rachel was terrified of Santa and wouldn't even stay in the room.  This year she was all about Santa!  She was the first to volunteer to sit on his lap.  Of course, when he asked what she wanted all she could say was "presents".
Katherine had her turn a few minutes later.

Then it was time to open the gifts Santa had brought.  The girls got Sing-A-Ma-Jings, little stuffed toys that sing and make sounds in silly voices.  They thought they were funny and judging from the number of people that tried them out, the adults thought they were hilarious!


It was a fun evening.  I am so glad that most of my extended family lives near and that we get together at Christmas, even if it's hectic at times.  This weekend I saw my sibling, all of my aunts and uncles, and many of my cousins and their children.  And that makes me very lucky indeed.

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I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters

Sisters

Sisters
Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way