I really really appreciated your thoughts and your comments and your feelings and your ideas. They were great. It is midnight and I am up with illness again - I will be so glad to have this all fixed!!!!
I heard you all and it looks like we aren't going to all agree with everything but that is a normal family so this is what I have decided - (this is not a democracy, it is a benevelant (sp?!) dictatorship!)
1 - we will have the Sunday or Saturday evening dinners with just a couple families at a time - that seemed to be a positive for everyone. I will probably pull names out of a hat to see who gets invited with whom. I agree that smaller groups means better conversational flow.
2 - Gifts - Mauri hit the nail on the head with the thought that a gift is my way of saying I love you. I enjoy finding things that will be appreciated and enjoyed. I disagree with Kris that you can't buy a decent gift for $15. I hate giving cash....that to me is no gift at all even though you may disagree with that. I will go ahead with doing it my way this year at least and see how it goes - spoiled aren't I!!!
3- Family parties - we will continue to have them...it is totally up to you whether you come or not. I will not stress or be upset if you choose not to - that is your right and your decision.
I loved the ideas of others taking the chance to be the hostess or to plan 'activity' type parties - I think that the hostess should be in charge of the paper goods and the drinks and then that leaves enough of the rest of us to have a good meal.
-We will continue to have our annual Easter Party, Mothers Day Party, Kris always does her kids's party since she has 3 birthdays in June, our 4th of July party, our day after Halloween party (that way you can trick or treat with YOUR kids in your neighborhood and then come celebrate the twins's birthday on Nov 1 and show off your costume that night too!), and I will continue to have my Christmas Eve party - we will have the nativity... I hope... I missed it so much this year. That takes care of birthdays for April, May, June, July, November and December. We WILL not leave out February, August and September....maybe we can combine the August and September birthdays - we will see how it goes.
We will attempt to keep things to a low roar and learn to use our indoor voices when we are all in the same room with each other - that goes for adults as well as kids. I feel it is important to share these times together as family - to let the grandchildren enjoy their cousins.
It seems that If I don't plan the parties, they don't happen (it is almost April and we haven't gotten together since December) - I love it when you guys say - "we need to have a party" ....we need to get together -
I guess in reality Kecia is in charge of our first organized activity party - we will call it a moving party! She just needs to tell us when they figure out the date. (Glenn will really need family to help with this one as he can only sit and tell us what to do and where things go - he will not be able to lift or carry or anything like that. He will probably lose his mind!! )
I love you all so very much and I thank my Father in Heaven for each of you every day - I am thankful for the friendships and the love - and the joy you add to my life.