Clockwise from bottom: Bart (my Dad) w/ Karina (my Mom) on his lap; the Charlie Thompsons: Ross, Collin, Aunt Paige & Uncle Charlie (my Dad's youngest and tallest brother); Andrew (Rusty's oldest), Aunt Anne (Rusty's wife) & Nicole (my middle sister), standing; Mama Blanche (my grandma's Mom); the Szramas; Daddy Ron & Mama Peggy (reigning pair); Conner (Rusty's youngest), Anna (my youngest sis), and Riley. My Dad's younger brother Rusty was taking the picture, and their sister Robin & her family couldn't make it this year. She's quite pregnant with "Jack," their 3 child.
Most of "the Thompson Clan" is gathered here at my grandparents' house in Ruston, LA. Actually, their home (the one all the grandkids have always known as their house) is quite a bit OUT of town, set on its own 48-acres complete with woods, creeks, pond, and meadows. It's also equipped with 4-wheeler trails, a VW Thing, dirt bikes, a shooting range, lots of guns, a trampoline, and my Uncle Rusty's under-construction new GORGEOUS house & shop.
I'll post pictures of our ambles through the woods with the dogs & my grandpa later. I shot a shotgun for the first time in 4 years or so, and was relieved that I could still aim & shoot ok. I wouldn't have wanted to be shown up by my little cousins. Although, Riley (who was with us) is so sweet and encouraging that he wouldn't have rubbed it in if I hadn't been able to shoot the bottle out of the tree at all.
Most of us stayed up late last night, after letting the kids open one present each. We played Rummikub, the game Ryan bought Andrew, and just swapped stories. Charlie & his brothers kept us in stitches, mostly recounting all his childhood mishaps resulting in broken bones! Then this morning we had a big Christmas Dinner, a day earlier than usual, because my uncle Charlie had to leave in the afternoon.
The older set of boys (Dad, his brother Rusty, and Ryan) are making quite a ruckus trying to fly their new remote-controlled helicoptors inside... Aunt Anne, Nicole, Anna & I just finished several rounds of 'Blokus,' one of the games "the little boys" (Rusty's boys) got for Christmas. It was quite a lot of fun! After 15 years with Anne as my aunt, we're just now starting to see her competitive, jokester side. :) We opened all our presents tonight, after the Christmas Eve Candlelight service... I am still in shock from the Phantom of the Opera tickets Ryan got for me!!!
All right, I'd better go find my child and get him ready for bed... :) More pictures and thougts to come--