We stopped a number of times for potty breaks and lunch, so we got to their home about 6:30 that evening. We were staying with Brian's birth father and his wife (Roy and Jackie, for future reference). One of Brian's half brother's was there with his wife and daughter and dog. We enjoyed an evening of pizza and visiting. Our girls played very nicely with their cousin who is 9, so right between our oldest girls in age. She even slept over 2 nights in a row and they all had a ball, staying up till midnight and gabbing, doing what girls do best! The next day we played and prepared for the rest of the family to come over for dinner that night. The rest of the family included another half brother and his wife and 2 year old son; a step-brother and his wife and 4 kids; and one of Brian's aunts with her daughter/son-in-law and 3 kids. So it was quite a houseful. 2 of the families came mid-day and the kids got to put together gingerbread houses. They had fun, although some of the kids had a hard time getting the frosting to stick the pieces together. 2 out of 3 of the houses turned out, so I guess that's not too shabby! We had a photo shoot to try to get pictures of all of us together. The grown-ups decided that we should just take pictures of the kids. So we took a whole lot of pictures! Each family, girl cousins, boy cousins, grandkids with grandparents, etc. We did manage to get pictures of Grandpa Roy and all 4 of the grown boys. From left to right: Brian; his half-brother, Aaron; father, Roy; half-brother, Terry; and step-brother, Tony.
Troy, the 2 year old, REALLY did NOT like having his picture taken. this is probably the best one we got! It looks like he's laughing, but oh, quite the contrary! That's why everyone else IS laughing/smiling. He was really a riot about the picture thing! Grandpa Roy had an ATV that he tied a sled onto and pulled the kids around in the snow. They hadn't gotten as much snow as we did in Philly, but there was enough to play in and go sledding. So they spent a good portion of Wednesday and Thursday doing that.
Brian's aunt and one of her daughter's and the daughter's family came over for dinner and we enjoyed a nice dinner with the family! After dinner, we had a gift exchange...mostly for the kids, although there were a few smaller gifts for the grown-ups as well. On Christmas Eve, Roy and Jackie, and Aaron and his daughter Haley, drove around with us, showing us family homes and some of the other family "sites". This is where Brian lived with Roy and Cherie many years ago, when Brian was just a baby. The girls received their traditional new Christmast pajamas on Christmas Eve. Since we were traveling for Christmas, we spread our presents out over the week, so the girls only opened a few in Ohio on Christmas morning. We did manage to bring the stockings and Santa found us in Ohio. It was a very, very nice Christmas. It was wonderful getting to know the Vollmer's better, to feel very much a part of the family, like we were never missing from their lives. And what a great time of year to spend with such fantastic people! Thank you, Vollmers!