Sandi, Mark's sister
Cameron, being teased by Uncle Audwin (Sandi's husband)
Martha (Mark's mom) and her brother, who we call Sonny
We had a great Christmas. Christmas Eve Mark's family came to our house for our big Christmas meal. I love entertaining and had so much fun getting ready for the event. As you could tell by my previous posts, I've been so busy I didn't have much time to prepare in advance for Christmas Eve (which included not cleaning the house!). I started cooking at 12:30 and had everything ready in time to make the Christmas Eve service at our church. It was so nice to stop and be still for an hour on Christmas Eve and focus on Christ, sing traditional Christmas Carols, and take communion.
This was my first year to make dressing and I was a little nervous. My mom makes the best cornbread dressing, and it's the same recipe that Mark's family grew up with. It turned out well and was even better today - yum! I am glad that I am able to successfully continue the tradition.
To start the night off, we had hot pepper jelly over cream cheese and spicy Dundee dip served with crackers. I FORGOT the cheese ball - one of my highlights because I only make it once a year and it is our family's favorite. We had turkey and dressing, asparagus casserole, sweet potato casserole, Nikki's (Mark's Aunt) Buttermilk Salad, green peas with pearl onions and mushrooms, Sister Shubert rolls, Cranberry relish, celery stuffed pimento and cheese (which I almost forgot!). Sandi (Mark's sister) made her pecan pie and we had the traditional egg nog mixed with ice cream. If you've never mixed your egg nog with ice cream you gotta try this!
We had a bit of uninvited excitement right before the meal. Mark's great aunt, Bessie, passed out. She's 94 and Martha, Mark's mom noticed she was leaning funny, and helped break her fall. I tried to help pick her up, and the two of us couldn't do it so Mitchell (Mark's dad) took over. Mark called 911 and I ran to our neighbor's house, who is a doctor, but she wasn't home. The fire department came first, then the ambulance. She was only out for a minute, but her eyes rolled back, and she was an ashy-grey color, so it gave us all a BIG scare. Her check up went well, so the paramedics left and she stayed with us, we sat down to the meal, and the night went on as usual.
Mark's family exchanges gifts Christmas Eve, and Cameron made a gift for each of her great-great aunts and her great aunts, and she was so excited to be able to pass out her hand made gifts. The kids only open one or two gifts from Mark's family on Christmas Eve and we save the rest for Christmas morning so the night doesn't revolve around the kids. As a matter of fact, not much of the evening has activities for our children because there are so many adults. Cameron was a little upset about this, but I think it is a good time of service for our children as we serve our elderly relatives (and not so elderly) and focus on them all evening. Some years we are able to merge the two, but not this year. We even forgot to set out Santa's cookies!
The night went extremely well, and at 10:30 we finally had the kids get ready for bed, which is when our company started leaving. Mark's aunt, Ann, lives outside of Tupelo, so I was surprised she stayed that late. It's always nice when the evening gets unexpectedly late because everyone is having such a good time. We had 15 people over, including Nikki's mom who is 96. We felt very blessed as we were surrounded by family and reminded how precious health is.