Merry Christmas everyone! I've had a great week in Texas, and will be returning home to DC tomorrow. I thought I'd share a few pictures from our Veronie Christmas Celebration, which happened a week ago in Crystal Beach, TX.
We have a big family. My Dad has six kids, five of which have spouses, (I'm the single one). From that group he has nine grandchildren, three with spouses, and six great-grandkids. So you can understand all the presents!
Call me crazy, but I'll take an Ocean-side Christmas over a White Christmas, hands down. I've been soaking up the warm weather while I can, because it's back to the frozen North soon.
Here are my older brothers, goofing around and showing off the Vibram Five-fingers that Tommy (on left) got for them. When Tom came down to breakfast wearing them, he was teased relentlessly...until he handed them their very own pair. I'm not sure of the final verdict on the new shoes, but it was fun watching the bros get used to the idea.
We had lots of games to play, including "Secret Stocking," "Guess the Number of Candy," and the annual "1-2-Tree Gift Exchange." There are so many people; if everyone bought gifts for everyone, it would get out of control and be a bit financially draining. We compromise with the gift game.
I love this picture of Lauren, my sister-in-law, and Emma, my neice, walking the beach. It's not too crowded this time of year, so we found lots of great shells.
Most families have some kind of food tradition around the holidays. It should come as no surprise that my cajun family has their own special version of Christmas dinner. Here you see my Dad adding some key ingredients to his seafood gumbo.
I can't describe how delicious this is. I keep trying to get my version close to Dad's. Maybe some day...
Dad is proud of those crab legs. They add the best flavor to the gumbo. Mmm. He has a chicken & sausage gumbo off to the side for those few family members who poo-poo the seafood. Interesting fact: many of our family gumbos are now being made without flour roux, as my sister is gluten-intolerant. I'm not sure if he used almond flour, rice flour, or some other substitute, but personally, I can't tell a difference at all.
It's great to see Dad with his great-grandchildren. They love their Papaw!
I had to share this—jalapeños, stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in a strip of venison, (shot by Emma), then wrapped in bacon. Then grilled to meaty perfection. Divine.
Here's a good shot of the little ones painting ornaments. They are so much fun, and keep everybody on their toes.
Dad got a gum ball machine from my sister and her husband. He had a good time helping the kids get their jelly beans.
My talented sister-in-law Leatha made this lovely raspberry-filled chocolate cake. The festive "pine" is actually sugared rosemary. Genius!
The great thing about Christmas in Texas is, if you do happen to stuff yourself on all the decadent food, at least you can get out of the house and stretch your legs a bit. Walking along the beach does wonders for that food-coma.
I was trying to work on taking pictures in natural light, so I made Emma pose for me. I think I like this shot the best. She's very photogenic.
We stumbled across two washed-up Portuguese Man O' Wars. I'd seen one in person before. After doing a bit of research online, I'm fairly certain that is what this is. Mean little guys! Did you know that it isn't actually a jellyfish, but a collective of minute, individual organisms that function together as a whole? Kind of like a Jelly-Borg. Resistance is futile.
I'm so grateful for my awesome family, and thankful we were able to spend this time together, in a place that is very special to all of us. Hope your holidays are wonderful. Best wishes!