Well, another Christmas has come and gone, and this one was just fabulous, there's no doubt about that! We had such a wonderful day with our little family, but it was also wonderful to be back together with extended family... cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters.
We started Christmas Eve afternoon with my family. We had an amazing dinner prepared by my mom of artichoke chicken and rice, rolls, salad, green beans, and other yummy fare. She had a lot of fun activities planned. She had a bunch of nativity dress-ups, and the kids took turns dressing up and acting out the nativity. They decorated sugar cookies, and we read Christmas stories. The we exchanged family gifts with each other. It was such a fun night.
We went home and put some of our newly decorated cookies out for Santa, and made sure to throw out the reindeer food on the front lawn. There was a big snow storm that day and evening, which was so magical. I love me a white Christmas. Then the kids opened their Christmas jammies and hurried off to bed to have visions of sugar plums dance in their heads!
And then...... Santa Claus came!
He filled the stockings and left a gift for every one. What a nice guy that Santa is.
Here's a couple pictures of Christmas Eve right before bedtime.
Magnus was super sleepy and could hardly keep his eyes open.
Christmas morning is always my absolute favorite. The kids slept in until about 6:50. I happened to wake up around 6:30 (I'm still just a kid at heart, what can I say?) and I loved listening to the kids run downstairs to see what Santa brought. The squeals and laughter and excitement make my heart so happy that it just might burst. Of course, they are not allowed to touch anything until they come and wake up me and Andy so we can come and watch their excitement :) They ran in and jumped on our bed, all talking at once, telling us what they could see.
We open stockings first, of course. They are always my favorite, with all of their little treasures hidden inside. Hats! Scarves! Jewelry! Pokemon Cards! Movies! Books! CANDY! And so on..... stockings are the best :)
Mine and Andy's even had new iphones inside! Like I said, stockings are my favorite.
We moved on to gifts from Santa, because I just don't think the kids could wait any longer if they tried. We always go youngest to oldest, so Magnus got to go first, and then Bear, and so on.
They all got their wishes, so they must have been very good this year.
Jonah and his pokemon DS game
Laylah and her rollerblades
Bear and his Skylander Giants
Daph and her locking journal (with her name on it... she was very specific about that :)
I must have been really good too.... Santa brought me two new pais of shoes, running shoes, and some platform sandals I have been wanting for months.
And don't mind that little dog sitting next to me. We didn't get another one, we were watching our neighbors pup while they were in Hawaii.... jealous!
We then spent a liesurely 2 hours opening the rest of our treasures, those giving being just as excited as the recipients. We would pause to open packages and play for awhile and then move on and open more gifts. It was so enjoyable, and the thing that made it even better was that everyone was so grateful and appreciative. I think that was the best part!
I loved just sitting in my chair and relaxing and taking it all in. I enjoyed Christmas so much this year.
We always get a family gift from Santa too. This year did not disappoint. We all got a Pass of All Passes. It includes so many fun activities, but I think the kids are most excited about going to Seven Peaks as much as we want to this summer.
After the last package was opened and the kids were all busy with their new toys and goodies, I made us a scrumptious feast. Cinnamon rolls, cheesy eggs, sausage and bacon, hashbrowns, orange juice, and hot chocolate
After we cleaned up a bit and got dressed, my parents and grandma came over. The kids received more gifts. I always love the gifts my mom finds for me. It is always so thoughtful, usually things that I pointed out that I liked months before. She always remembers, and I always feel so spoiled by her. She is the best.
My parents had a big surprise for the kids. They gave them all little Disney calenders and told them to go through and find their birthdays and circle the day they were born. Then, they told them to go to February 26th and circle that date. The kids were all a little confused and Laylah asked, "Whose birthday is that?" and then my dad announced that that was the day we would be leaving to go on a trip to DISNEYLAND!! I don't think they quite understood (besides Laylah, who squealed with joy) but after explaining it to them, they were excited. We haven't been in over 3 years, and I am SO excited to go now that my kids are older and can do more/last longer. I can't wait!
We went over to Andy's parents house that afternoon. We were able to talk to his brother David on skype. It was fun to see him and hear his voice. I can hardly believe he's already been gone for 6 months.
We had quite a feast of appetizers (bacon wrapped chestnust, chips and artichoke dip, and different types of treats) turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, rolls, broccoli, corn, and salad. it was so delicious, all of it!
We then opened gifts and had fun playing, chatting, and listening to the chaos of 13 little kids running around, hyped up on sugar and the excitement of Christmas.
Andy's mom did her traditional homemade Christmas jammies for all of the grandkids, and the only cousin's missing were Jenny's kids, who weren't able to make it up from St. George this year. We missed seeing them, but it was great to have everyone else there.
We had such a joyful Christmas. I loved being able to see our families on Christmas in person, instead of on a computer screen like we have the past 2 years. My kids were so grateful and happy and it was so enjoyable to spend the day together. I am especially grateful for the reaon we celebrate. That innocent, perfect baby Jesus is such a wonderful example to us all, and I am so blessed that I can teach my children about Him at this time of year, and always.
Merry Christmas to all!