Friday, December 23, 2011

25 Years of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas early, y'all! I hope you enjoyed my first guest post as my dad recounted the WORST present he had ever received. After reliving countless memories with my family this week toppled with my Aunt Jane's Christmas letter, I have been left feeling a little nostalgic...homesick for the good ol' days.

Sitting at Mom and Dad's today, I decided to thumb through old pictures and take a trip down memory lane. Then I felt compelled to scan these bazillion pictures and share with y'all my family's many Christmases. I hope you enjoy the several decade long Christmas card I made for y'all this year!!

Back: Grandma K, Mom, Uncle David
Front: Aunt Jane, cousin Lance, Grandpa K, Sis, Dad
Thank you, Aunt Jane, for wearing the Arkansas shirt as if we were going to forget where we were living at. Sadly, this photograph was taken in 1983, 3 short years before yours truly brightened the world. My grandparents only had 2 grandkids at the time...they had no idea how much they were missing me until...

clockwise: Grandpa K, Sis, cousin Eric, me (I think-ha!)
See how I brought the family together! I was a loving little booger. What I want you to notice here is the great Christmas decor my Grandma K always had. Nothing like throwing (literally) some silver on the tree and putting out some sheep with everyone's name on them. Do you see those on the left?!

Mom, Dad, me, and Sis (the cheesy smiling one)
What would Christmas be without matching sweaters and earrings...and my sister smiling gayly at the camera? It wouldn't be. Oh, my dad, always so excited about being with us! haha 
Who is this guy?
Apparently, my parents just believed anyone when they said they were Santa. Look at this guy. I even made a big, black circle around his face. He looks like a D rated Santa. Well, I'm not buying it. You can if you want. Check out my sister with the same Santa below...
Sis...she doesn't even notice Santa
To get my sister to sit on Santa's lap it didn't take much. Basically, you just had to say, "He's a guy, and he'll let you sit on his lap and give him a hug." And off she was pushing down every other kid in line. No joke. She was boy crazy. But here she doesn't even notice Santa. She is obviously much more worried about her awesome "number" gloves. I remember those gloves...I believe that's how I learned how to count.

And did anyone else notice how bad that Santa was? I mean...just that he can't seem to put his right arm down. Forget all the crazy moms taking pictures of you and their children who won't be children forever and it might possibly be their last year to believe in Santa. No, don't worry about that, you terrible looking Santa. Just keep your right arm up.
Sis..always in the middle
Moving along with life we see Sis in yet the middle of another picture. You'll notice I'm in the VERY back being shunned (in my little white sweater). My sister had probably pushed me back there.
remember that pink gown
Then Christmas morning...oh yes, that's always every kid's favorite, right? I mean...for crying outloud, get the family junk over. We need some Santa up in here!

Those were probably the only 2 dolls I was ever given as my parents wished I had been a boy (I'm pretty certain anyway). What I want you to see here is Sis's pink gown. Bonus points to the person who can find it later on in life's later pictures. And while we're at it, why don't we start counting how many bad haircuts the two of us had. (Note: Mom claims that I cut my own hair at this point in life. Bahumbug!)

You can start the bad haircut counting...
Yes, I said to count the bad haircuts. Maybe I should also add...count the onesies. And...count how many Christmas trees we had that looked more like bushes than trees. We're at 1 here.

I take back what I said about my parents not giving me dolls. Apparently they gave me dolls and my sister stole them, as evidenced by this picture of her with our cousin Lacey. You won't believe this, but Lacey now teaches 6th grade Literacy after playing college basketball (although the chubby cheeks were very cute!). And my sister teaches 1st grade and just finished her master's degree. Who knew these two little doll thieves would be teaching tomorrow's leaders. Hide your children, hide your wives husbands!

"Hey, let's get dressed up and take Christmas pictures!"
As you can tell Christmas is a very exciting, special time for my family. We have always prided ourselves in dressing to the nines on Christmas morning. And...does anyone notice that my sister always puts her hand up in every picture? You remember that picture of her with the bad Santa? I'm fairly certain she was showing off her hand then too. crack head. (Not literally...I have to make that disclaimer that I just lied so that she does not make me eat another wasper.)
Kuykendall cousins
It's a good thing someone owned a camera in our family. It appears as if we now have concrete proof that I got my dressing ability from my precious father. I know what you're all thinking, "How did you get so lucky?" It's just comes natural to sport some bad to the bone overalls. What can I say? Another game: count how many pairs of overalls you see.

Check out the patchwork!
 It may be evident to you by now that my family didn't have a lot of money growing up. My parents always made Christmas special, that is true, but they honestly never worried about clothes and fashion. My Granny Dutton was superb at sewing though. And boy, could she patch up some jeans! I'm all about some patchwork and saving a dime...why else do you think I've learned how to sew?! But my Granny has this odd obsession with hearts. Seriously. She made me a bedspread when I was growing was a big yellow and blue heart. She made my sister's the same with different colors. She obviously patched jeans with hearts. And just take a glance at the picture below. 
Can you spot the heart?
Can you spot the heart here? And I don't mean the heart and soul of laughter coming from Uncle Travis (in the red jacket). Do you see it? Yes you do! It's the pocket of my sister's jacket...that my Granny Dutton sewed! She actually sewed EVERYONE OF US a jacket JUST LIKE THIS. Every single one of us.

I will say that dinners at Granny and Pa's were always so fun. If you weren't laughing at Uncle Travis for his jokes, you were definitely laughing at him for the way he laughed at his own jokes. And kudos to him and my dad for sporting very bright jackets. And look at little Brad in the red 49ers jersey. We were super close as kiddos...we really were. He and his wife just moved back to Ozark where he got the head coaching job for the senior high boys' basketball team. Isn't it crazy to see where people come from?!

learning the diva role from my sista!
Ohhhhpppp, don't you worry. Grandma Kuykendall never lost that silver decor for her Christmas tree. That was a staple to the house in December. What does Lance's hat say?? Does that say "Texas?" My lanta. My eyes are terrible. I think it was an omen.
We are so good looking. I know.
Okay, fine, I'll admit that I wore my heart jacket too. Do you see it back there behind me? When I was getting pictures out, I started noticing another trend. My parents apparently never made me wear pants. A little awkward, I know. But when you live in rural Arkansas, who even cares? Right?
sweet vest
 Here we see a few things. sister has on an awesome vest with a blue jean shirt buttoned up to her goozel. You can thank her for always having a sense of style. B...a different house. This is the only picture I found from our rent house as our new house was being built. Darn the luck. That was one creepy house. As I recall there was a full fledge coffin upstairs. Or was that my imagination and me being scared of the dark?

awesome pants
Like I said...we didn't wear pants that often. Everyone has a misperception of Arkansas. They believe we do not wear shoes. That's absolutely fabricated. I mean, OUCH!! Can you imagine walking around these hills without shoes?! Pshtt. It's the pants we don't wear!
Did you notice?
Well, I don't know the number you're up to on the bad hair counting game...or the no pants wearing game...but do you see what I see? Yes! That's my sister's old pink nightgown. I am sporting it like it just came off the runway. I probably thought it did, because she probably lied to me and told me it did. 
someone found shorts. someone did not.
This is the exact same Christmas. I can tell by the fact that I have on the same shirt and no shorts. My sister decided to apparently put on her new "Property of Nike" Christmas t-shirt on for pictures. I had too many great presents to decide what to put on, so I guess I just left on this solitary shirt.  
check out those presents!
When I found this picture of yet the same Christmas, I had to laugh. This is the exact little Avery I remember: baseball cap, jerseys, nintendo games, windsuit outfit. I see some Charlotte Hornets, Dallas Cowboys, and Arkansas Razorbacks. "Charlotte Hornets?" you ask yourself. Yeah, I'm not quite remembering why I wanted that sweatshirt. I was a huge (HUGE) Karl Malone/Utah Jazz fan. This may be blasphemy here! ;)

The cowtown boots...yes, typical present in our country home. And the can opener...maybe I'll have my dad write another guest post on that one. My poor mother got the can opener 9 dreaded years in a row.

Grandma K and me
Okay, you can keep counting the overalls I seem to continue to find. What can I say? I was a fashionista at a very young age. I loved my Grandma Kuykendall so so so much. She's probably the single biggest reason I dug through old pictures this week. I miss her like crazy.

with Sis and Dust
Oh, my sister and Dustin and their young, puppy love. I was so excited they were getting married. He would always be hugging on my sister, and you were always thinking, "engaged people!" or "newlyweds!" Now it's 10 years later and you think, "Get the heck over it."
And I know you're completely checking out my awesome perm. Hey...I've been laughing at everyone else today. I guess it's time to laugh at myself now too. If you can't laugh at yourself, you have no right to laugh at anyone else. So I better pay my dues.

Yes, I had a perm at one point in my early high school career. And yes, I wore the mess out of my purple letter jacket.
before the wedding
 Sometimes my brother-in-law makes me fighting when he gives wet willies or pushes me so he can hug on my sister. But crap. When I found this picture I instantly remembered why my sister married the guy. He was good looking!! Props to you, Sis. Here is 6 months before their wedding...and the attachment has only gotten worse. 
She was so excited to marry Dustin that year. This is 6 months after their wedding. If the kids let them now, they still are pretty much attached like this. Does it get quite annoying? Yes. Does he have on overalls too? Yes. Apparently it's part of being in our family. (Good luck, Cash! ahhahaha)
Grandma K
2003 doesn't seem that long ago, but man does it seem like eons since I have seen my grandma being goofy. I'm fairly certain this is one of the last times she really could enjoy Christmas. Have I mentioned how much I miss her?

little Addi on her first Christmas
I love being an aunt!! I don't know what happened to all the Christmas pictures from my sophomore year of high school to my junior year of college, but goodness sakes I love that child! She didn't even know what to think about Christmas that year. I'm afraid that changed...and now I scour my brain for 364 days trying to top my gift from the year before.
Brae and Addi as little tots
I know they're still little, but I can barely remember them being THIS little! Look closely (well, you don't have to look that closely), and you will notice that every present behind them is for them. Spoiled. Rotten.
Peters family
It didn't take too long for these newlyweds to pop out some cute little ones. And I suppose what they say is true about girls marrying guys like their fathers. First the overalls. Now the lack of a smile. Wow, Brother, you are just like my father.
one of our last Christmases
This picture isn't the very last Christmas with Grandma K, but it was one of them. You see how sick she got over those last few years. It barely even looks like the same grandma to me. I've had a lot of fun poking at my family throughout this post, but I guess it's time to get serious. My grandma's last Christmas was in 2009. As I was leaving their house that Christmas Eve, she grabbed me and said, "Don't ever forget me. Please." I promised her I wouldn't. How could we? She lit up our lives like no one else. I miss her every single day. I miss her taking me to the swinging bridge south of Ozark. I miss her giving me fudgecicles for dinner. I miss her making pizza and hot dogs for holiday meals. I miss her giving my grandpa the what for if any woman ever even said a polite hello. I miss her telling us something "forty-eleven" times. Sometimes I even miss the crazy grandma when she had Alzheimer's. She was the best....the very, very best.
Kuykendall's 2008
That's the latest Christmas day picture I found. You can probably guess I was getting a little lathargic from 25 years of Christmases! haha. It has been quite enjoyable to take you down memory lane for a little stroll. I love looking at who we were and what we looked like...and what presents we found most exciting. But I also like living in the here and now and enjoying this stage. I wanted to leave you with this year's Christmas card from yours truly.

I wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer all the way from the Middle East! "Milad majid" means "Merry Christmas" in Arabic, as I can guess you assumed. And it sure was incredible to be so near the birth of our Savior this past summer. Joy to the world...the whole entire world! I hope your family has a blessed Christmas season! And I want to add that my nephew just got here 5 minutes ago and has already announced, "I'm taking my pants off!" Apples don't fall too far from the Christmas tree do they?

Merry Christmas...XOXO

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