The advent for the day was . . . Celebrate Aaron's Birthday and . . .take family pictures! Doesn't that sound like a great way to celebrate a birthday??!!
What an adventure December 23rd was! Aaron's 41st birthday was celebrated a couple of days early (his b-day is actually on Christmas) with the whole family! 28 people to feed for dinner. This meant cooking 2 large pans of lasagne the night before, and not 1, but 2 Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cakes the day of. Not only did we spend time in the kitchen, but there was also an early morning weight lifting session with Cali and Ian, bowling with Grandma Sue mid-morning, family pictures with 24 people in the mid-afternoon, and then party central mid-evening. (Notice I used the prefix "mid" a lot because I was so confused all day, I never really knew what time it was!
At 2 . . . or 2:15, okay, maybe it was 2:19, we got everyone loaded into 5 vehicles and headed out to The Reserve to take family pictures. Everyone was picture perfect. Hair done. Makeup applied. Smiles pasted on. We turned right to head in to find the waterfall, beautiful trees, gorgeous backdrops . . . Unfortunately, the reserve was closed. Plans spoiled? Turn around and head home? Not a chance. Got out of the cars with 14 children and 10 adults and took those pictures anyways. Right in the mid-day sun, shadows and all. Emmy Lou's amazing sister, Dallas, took the pictures and did a fantastic job! Did we get a picture? Yes! Was everyone smiling? Can you ever get children, let alone 14 children to smile on command? Check out this family!
After we finished the family photos, I decided and INSISTED on some more family photos of our individual family in some of the orange groves that I had seen on the way to the reserve. Aaron was thrilled as you can imagine! Grandpa David said he knew a place that had a perfect orange grove! We passed grove after grove of oranges on our way to the photo spot. When we pulled up, what do you know . . . they were lemon trees! It was getting dark at this point, so we took some pictures . . . You can't even tell what fruit is on them! Lemon . . . orange . . . no worries! Still citrus!
Under one of the lemon trees, Aunt Kaylyn and the kids found a special surprise. A Christmas puppy! Someone had abandoned it! All of the children BEGGED to take it home. So we did. (Aunt Kaylyn took it to Albertson's the next day where a vet kindly took it to his home for shots and to find a nice family to give it to! The kids had a great time "puppy-sitting" for a day/night!)
When we got home from pictures, it was time to eat! Tables lined the dining area/family room. Everyone loved the lasagna! Everyone loved the cake. Aaron loved being done with pictures! Happy birthday!!