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FRAMILY CHRISTMAS

Last night, before we got on the bus at 9pm to drive to Wisconsin, we had our official Framily Christmas Party with the neighbors. “Framily” is the word that Kirsten came up with-a relationship that lies somewhere between friends and family. When you have kids, and live about 10 feet from another family that has kids, well, you better hope you like each other. If you don’t, moving is probably your best option. We have had some great times over the years with these people, and we probably will live in our house forever because they live next door. Unless they move, in which case we will follow them…because Caroline would sooner die than be separated from her brothers and sister. It’s really a great deal for Dave and I, our daughter has instant playmates at her beck and call, and we don’t have to send them to college, pay for their meals (well, sometimes we do), or discipline them (well, sometimes we do.)

So we met at our house at 5:45 to exchange gifts (in the long-standing tradition of the Howard’s it was 6:15 when they came), and David got a new remote helicopter.

That is Caroline, Dave, Kirsten and Ben. Isn’t he the cutest. HE LOVES CANDY. You really don’t understand how much. You never could. They try to monitor his intake, but I let him have as much as wants at my house. He loves me.

Here is Dave flying his new helicopter. Look at Bella at the bottom. She’s confused.

Here is Mister Rob opening his present. I also got him a hot dog bun steamer like 3 months ago, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’m sure it’ll turn up. He works at Denise’s church. One of the big cheeses there…..you can follow him on twitter at @howardrm.

Here is me and Kirsten. She’s really tall and can eat anything she wants and never gain weight. It’s totally bogus. You can follow her on twitter at @kirstenhow. (if she accepts you)

OK, so I was SOOOOOOOOO excited when she walked in the door with bags from my FAVORITE STORE in Nashville. Gilchrist Gilchrist. Pretty much everything that I love in my house is from there, and everything that I don’t really like is from somewhere else. HA! If you live in Nashville, you have to go in there (and buy me something.)

So, on the left here is this really cool calendar that stands on an easel and all the months artwork are hand drawn with little beads or glitter. So cute. It will look great on my desk. Once you have the stand, which I do now, you just replace the calendar every year. On the right is this big glass jar that looks kind of old and antique-y. I’m either going to fill it with soaps and put it in my bathroom, or maybe red and white candy at Christmas…not sure yet. I love the versatile gift! I loved my presents!!

I wish you could see the jar better….it’s bigger than it looks and so cool.

After gifts we went to eat Mexican food, because that is truly the tie that binds. Chips and Salsa. Mexicali Grill. It’s kind of like “Cheers” to the neighbors. Where everybody knows your name. I got my usual number 43 chicken…..

Ben got a whale pillowpet, Sarah got a gift certificate for Young Chefs Academy, Caroline got an incredible “teacher’s kit” which she has not stopped talking about since last night, and Caleb-well he wanted what every 13 year old boy wants-cash. So that’s what he got.

Below is Caroline bothering Caleb, because his real sister doesn’t do it enough…

Here is Mr. SMU, I mean Mr. Rob, Caroline and Dave. At this point in the night I had to ask both guys to please fake a smile because they were OVER IT and ready to go home. I told them it was all for the sake of the blog. They just laughed at me and rolled their eyes. But I can guar-an-dang-tee you that they will both click on today to read about themselves. That’s just how guys are…

Alrighty then, so that was our framily Christmas. Do you have awesome neighbors?? Write and tell me about them!

PS You are welcome to use the term “framily”. It has not yet been trademarked. But we are working on it….