...and Uncle Adam's birthday! Here he is relaxing with the men on the couch after a long flight with Zoe, who apparently was one of many puppies on the plane.
Six bodies on the small sofa--guess that's why they call it a love seat. How do Eila's tootsies taste, Callie?
Uncle Adam opening his Christma-birthday from the Wheelers. Gotta admit, BB8 was the bomb.
After a yummy paella dinner, we nestled the munchkins snug in their beds and adorned the tree with packages galore.
Looks like Santa found our stockings, even at Papa K and NomiAnn's house.
At last! Christmas morning. Brooklyn, Talia, and Eli thought they would have to wait forever before finally being allowed downstairs. That's a mighty unusual way to pass the time, Talia Lily.
All lined up from shortest to tallest!
No opening present before eating a "healthy" breakfast.
The Andrus family Trix tradition. (With some oatmeal and egg muffins thrown in to counteract the sugar rush.)
Eila's ready for her Christmas day breakfast! The poor girl had a droopy, goopy eye, courtesy of the conjunctivitis that Annika Mae so lovingly shared. :(
Didn't curb her appetite, though. Open wide!
With breakfast all finished, Brooklyn gives Annie a morning hug.
Look who got a new bike! (Just hope Eli doesn't outgrow it by spring.) At any rate, it was time to bid the old Dora bike farewell.
Fun present, Eila! Zoe likes it too.
All of these packages are wearing poor Zoe out!
Callie, Annie, and Zoe--now there's a happy trio.
Uh oh, Papa Kay. Do you have some explaining to do?
Annika's found the best of all worlds. Lounging on the couch with her head on Mama's lap while Zoe sleeps on hers, all while opening stocking presents. Does it get any better?
Callie's got the same idea.
Eila's pretty precocious: she prefers to read her Christmas stories in Spanish.
Brooklyn's excited about her money jar--empty now, but with the promise of some spare change thrown in for her DC Trip.
Favorite gift of the day: 100 cartridges for our amazing new whipped cream dispenser. Love at first sight.
Adam, you truly are Super Dad.
Not one to remain cooped up inside all day, Talia went outside to build a snowman with Papa Kay. Good thing we had an extra pipe!
Christmas dinner was delicious, with the traditional turkey, stuffing, green beans, and of course, sweet potatoes. NomiAnn, thank you for all your hard work shopping and planning and preparing. What a delightful day!
Okay, so this is where everyone's life looks better online. There are no photos between Friday and Sunday Christmas because everyone was...sick. Most of the adults and a few kids took turns succumbing to general feelings of raunchiness over the following week, ensuring that the bathrooms stayed well occupied. I'm not gonna dwell on the nastiness, because hey, who really wants to remember all that, plus would you really want pictures? But as you enjoy the remainder of our happy family photo journey, just remember that at each point, somebody probably wanted to die.
Slipping back on the rose-colored glasses, here are the most easily posed Wheeler munchkins in their gorgeous Christmas ensembles, courtesy of NomiAnn and Papa Kay.
Annika did okay for a little while...
...until she discovered her nostril. Eila doesn't look that thrilled either.
The next two are the best we got of all the cousins together. They're a mighty cute crew!
Can't forget big sister Zoe!
And why not? Christmas at the Andrus home is always very festive. (Nice job with the lights, Papa Kay.)
We made a pilgrimage to do the zoo twice during Christmas vacation. Adam and Eila seem to be having fun.
Mommy Callie too!
Eila gets face to face with a lizard. I think it was attracted to her awesome bows.
This turkey vulture ruled the roost.
Baby orangutan, Mommy orangutan, a drape, and lots of pink snow. I'll let you come up with the story.
Back at home, it was all about relaxation. Zoe and I are shameless blanket hogs.
Annie had all sorts of hugs and love for Eila.
Oh wait, looks like Annie got swapped for an elephant instead.
Callie, you have got some amazing baby wearing skills. Impressive!
One evening, Adam, Callie, Jason, and I all went out to eat at Hiro, a fantastic Chinese restaurant owned by a couple of Jason's clients. (He's designing a million dollar home for them out in Valley.) The owner was so pleased to see Jason that she brought us a California BLT sushi roll and this outrageously decadent cake. In her own words, it was "big enough to share."
We grown-ups weren't the only ones to have special fun. One afternoon the munchkins all went to see "The Good Dinosaur," stopping to pose at the display for Zootopia along the way.
On a different afternoon we drove out to Ashland for pizza and the SAC museum. The pizzeria was closed, so we crashed a cute little cafe instead. Our Brooklyn is awfully proud to have outaged the kids' menu.
The Strategic Air Command Museum was open, but some of the airplanes seemed awfully small.
Whew! That's better.
Our future pilot, Eila. While you can't really see them from this picture, the sheer number of gauges, switches, and dials in the cockpit was astonishing. Aviators, I'm awed.
NomiAnn and Aunt Callie check in from Goofball Island.
Moving on to creative play, Papa Kay and Talia built a rather impressive tower.
Their structure stretched above Talia's head before finally tumbling.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn built with tubes while Annika got sucked in by the phone. (Typical.)
All in all, the cousins had a great time imagining what it would be like to fly faster than the speed of sound.
One more close-up. (Check out Talia on her tippy toes. Then make a mental picture of three seconds later when she lost her balance and went crashing into the tree behind.)
Annika bids the rocket farewell.
Christmas Eve day found us back at the zoo for "Noon Year's Party." We greeted the sea turtles and sharks on our way to the ball drop.
Not quite sure who's watching who...
Following the beach ball animal balloon drop, we made a beeline to Piccolo's to dine at the Omaha steakhouse during its final day of business. NomiAnn and Adam dressed up for the occasion.
Annika too. Can you tell the zoo had just given us free masks?
In the evening, we gathered for some decadent cheese and chocolate fondue. What a great way to end the year!
With 2016 officially underway, we headed for some fun at Skate Daze. Here's Eli in the Playdazium.
As for myself, I discovered that Brooklyn on roller skates is nearly as tall as I am. (A quasi-impressive feat.)
January 2nd we headed to the Kaneko for a sleek exhibit on automobile design.
Wouldn't mind tooling around on these wheels!
Of course, Callie found a three-wheeled vehicle that more appropriately fits the dwarf sized.
Naturally, we're talking about you, Eila Kay.
Aw, I can't do it anymore. She's just too cute. I miss her already. Callie, Adam, Zoe, we miss you too! Thank you so much for spending your Christmas vacation with us, whether dining at Upstream...
...or just shooting silly selfies.
Andruses, Wilhoits, Wheelers et al--we love you! Hope you had a merry Christmas--and now on to a happy (and healthy!) New Year.