According to Kayla, with Alex in total agreement "Nana this is our biggest and bestest Christmas ever!" husband had them down here by 11am on xmas eve. Thanks to the wonderful people of Freecycle, Nana had plenty of cars and hotwheels to keep the boys occupied and entertained. Evan could care less about wrapped presents, he had TOYS to play with!! lol Evidently what scant toys the shelter has are usually fought over by all the kids so Katie wisely keeps the kids at her side coloring in the books I sent up with Nichole for that purpose. Clearly evident Katie and M were thrilled to be here as well. They nearly talked my ears off while I mustered up energy to make the chocolate pudding cake from scratch..........and yes I surprised M with his favorite xmas treat.....chocolate pie. I wasn't going to, but I was already doing the cake and all the pie consisted of was cooking pudding in a pan and pouring it into a pie crust.......but you'd have thought I'd spent all day on it the way he made over it........and everyone let it stay his special pie, which was pretty nice of them. I pulled a major fast one and got away with it clean as a whistle. The hat and scarfs that were for the "girls"............well........I fibbed just a tad. And I had to do it here as well as Nichole tends to sneak in and peek at what I'm posting about. The matching hats and scarfs were actually for Nichole and Aubrey.............and I had wrapped them together with Nichole's set on top. Should have seen her face. Yup, Mom IS the MASTER! Both Aubrey and Nichole were thrilled to death to have matching scarfs and hats.........and really it's adorable. Fibbing about one being for Kayla let me find out if Nichole liked it ahead of time. easy child was thrilled with the 4 generation picture taken when Darrin was Connor's age.........that everyone had forgotten had ever been taken and I'd recently found. Travis got thermal socks so he'd quite snitching husband's. Katie got a beautiful sweater I picked up at the Bass store in the outlet mall months ago. easy child's husband got his chocolate covered cherries and hand and foot warmers and thermal socks........working out in the cold on airplanes those things come in mighty handy. Katie's husband and Nichole's fiance both got wallets as I'd been informed by the females they needed them. lol Aubrey was thrilled to death when she opened her diaper bag........and even more thrilled to open her second present from nana to find a beautiful baby doll.......same with Kayla. Those girls carried those bags around ALL day. lol Kayla is currently sleeping with her baby. Darrin and Alex I thought would stroke at the automated GI Joes I found for them.......omg I didn't know the darn things mouths move when they talk and they walk and everything!! Brandon opened Rex from Toy Story that Nichole got him and he soooo could care less about any other present. lmao Evan was our speed demon unwrapper, but the boy had an ear to ear grin that didn't leave his face the entire day and I've never been hugged on and kissed so much by him in a 24 hr period. I got beautiful family pictures from easy child and husband got smokeless cigarettes from Nichole and her boyfriend. OMG I could go on forever. Have to say that although Alex normally goes off the major difficult child deepend on holidays, especially xmas..........he did amazingly well. On xmas eve we tracked santa (the boy may be 9 but he so truely believes it's not funny) Then we remembered all the cookies wouldn't be brought over until xmas morning by easy child ........which meant no cookies for santa, Nana saved the day by telling a crushed Alex that Santa gets tired of so many cookies and also likes a snack of Ritz crackers and milk. lol (hey it worked) Alex started begging to go to bed at 4pm thinking santa would come faster. We did supper, then Nana made my homemade cocoa and popcorn that Kayla had gone back and evidently bragged about last weekend. Grandpa put in xmas movies and we settled down to help the kids relax for bed. (shelter makes them get up at 5 am) The didn't wake until about 8am. Nana has major rules over xmas. They had to eat breakfast before they could touch a stocking or single gift. Then gifts had to be carefully passed out, then opened one at a time youngest to oldest. The kids loved it. Made the moment last longer and they got to enjoy what each of them got. Same deal once the rest of the family came over...............and I discovered that my livingroom is tiny for the size of my family now. lol We were all squished together with a mountain of gifts. But it worked just fine and I even managed to get pictures. Katie's kids were thrilled to be able to get dressed up, and I even made Katie and M get dressed up. (I took their pics in front of the tree, then took pics of all the grands) By the time the dinner was done and the girls left to go to other family dinners they had to go to........Nana was exhausted and needed a nap. I slept 3 hrs. And woke to discover that Katie and M had done all the xmas dishes and cleaned up the house. Which of course like a half hour late the kids had once again cluttered with their toys. Lots of fun for everyone. Smiles and laughter. My family as a whole unit. Awesome. Not a single difficult child moment. Even more awesome. Oh, and Katie called the wilmington shelter...........and they may have a family room opening up in a day or 2, she was told to call them back both tomorrow and monday. She was thrilled. I just hope this person is someone who knows what they're talking about. And I did another sneaky.............Most of those gifts for Katie's kids were from santa........seems her and M have a mighty high standard to live up to next year.