03 Jan

Christmas 2014: Oakley, Sacramento, Merced

On this tenth day of Christmas, I thought it might be fun to share some pictures from our various Christmas gatherings around Northern California. We had a beautiful time in Oakley, Sacramento, and Merced, our respective homes where our parents live. It was a nice time to see family, relax, and take a break from work.

On Christmas Eve, we first stopped off in Oakley where Tiana’s Mom and Ron live. In attendance: Tiana’s brother Stevie and his wife Shan, Tiana’s sister Shalina and her daughter Katie, along along with Jason (Ron’s son). Not pictured, but they added plenty of excitement to the gathering: Gus the American Boxer, and Rosa the chihuahua, Stevie & Shan’s dogs.

(Below in each gallery, if you hover over each picture, it will pop up a brief caption underneath each. You may also click on a picture it will enlarge it to see the full size and you can click over to the next picture in the gallery.)

Then we traveled to Sacramento (with Stevie, Shan, Shalina, & Katie in tow) to spend Christmas day with Tiana’s Dad and Denise’s family. I didn’t take as many pictures here, but the Christmas cheer was no less in effect. We exchanged presents, ate a ton of delicious food, participated in a white elephant gift exchange (I received a white sock and an ornament), and even played games of Love Letter and Elevenses with Katie, Kevin Jr., and Shannon.

The next day on the 26th (Boxing Day), Tiana drove to my hometown of Merced to spend the day with my parents and my sister Jenna and her husband Kenny. Of course, Dexter the right-handed dog (hah, Latin jokes) joined them. My cousin Amy and her Mom (my Aunt Carol) also spent time with us. Amongst many kind gifts, my Aunt gifted me a bunch of flower seeds that I am excited to get started soon in our small greenhouse out back!

We were in Merced from the 26th to Sunday the 28th. Visiting Merced is always a welcome, extra relaxing time for me as my parents’ house is surrounded by an acre of lawn and blanketed in the crisp quiet of the neighborhood out in the countryside.

We’ve still been unpacking all of our stuff and trying to re-organize our house since we’ve returned in between daily chores and briefly returning to work (well, Tiana had to work yesterday on Friday). There are a host of exciting new (and silly and funny) books to read; calendars to hang up; mugs to drink out of; pictures to hang; boxes of childhood memories to go through; a puzzle to assemble; boardgames to play with fellow nerds; and even a home brew kit to get started. Our family has been far too generous with us; we are blessed. That reminds me: we hung up some stockings and forgot to see what is inside!

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