It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...at least for the Riley side of the family. =)
I'm SO HAPPY that we were able to all coordinate our schedules and get together with each other. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll repeat it again, but we just see way too little of each other, especially considering how much fun we have when we are together.
It's been a year since we've seen Alex and Andie - how much they've grown and how beautiful young women they've become. Alex, aka Ali (her full name is Alexandrea so she goes by either one) is the niece I had you praying for about a month ago as she had a liver biopsy in an effort to determine why her liver enzyme count has been repeatedly high. Long story short - they don't know what is causing the infection there, but have ruled out all of the "really bad" diagnoses and given the levels aren't critical will just be keeping an eye on it and rechecking her often. She looks great and feels great, so despite the concern of the unknown - it seems to be very good news.
We prepared a brunch meal for everyone to partake in - "Festive Egg Squares", fresh pineapple and strawberries, Cinnabons provided by Mary Beth - and for dessert....cookies provided by Leona....YUMMM!
After eating - on to presents:
Bigtime "SCORE" on this gift from Jeff and Laura....Brayden loves it!
Mikayla is sporting the Ducks stocking cap I got from Jeff and Laura...
Then, on to a little Wii playing:
The bounty of deliciousness from Leona:
Not my favorite pose for the camera - but sure a snuggly spot between Mikayla and Andie. Andie is so cuddly! We did some height measurements and Mikayla has about 3/4 of an inch on her cousin who is only 2 months behind her in age. Brayden and Alex are exactly the same height at 4'9" (Alex will be 15 in May - Brayden will be 13 in April). Clearly this family is a bit vertically challenged!
At one point in our gathering, Andie brought out Mikayla's keyboard and played a Christmas song by memory. Both girls are very musically and athletically gifted....a lot of talent in that family!
It's become a tradition to take a "real" and then "silly" family picture at these gatherings. The real one is the best we've ever taken...it was so great because we were able to print it out as 8x10 pictures and give them to each family before everyone left.
OUR Riley family are the four to the left - then John's mom, Leona, then Mary Beth with her two daughters Andie and Alex behind her - then Jeff and Laura are on the right side of the couch.
I'm hopeful we'll do a better job getting to see each other before another year goes by. Alex now has me in her contacts on her cell phone (and now I have her too) and we've already been texting....so this is a good sign for creating future get-togethers!