Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Very Merry Christmas

We had such a really good, really sweet Christmas day!  A friend of mine said something to the effect of "Christmas when I was a kid in no way compares to Christmas now that I'm a mommy watching my own children experience Christmas."  So. True!  I enjoyed every last second watching the children experience Christmas this year, and I am so overwhelmed and so thankful that I was right there experiencing it with them!

We were up early on Christmas morning because we had to be at church at 7:30.  Yes.  In the morning.  On Christmas day.  My children are not particularly early risers (they get it so honest!), not even on Christmas day.  So they were not up early enough to open gifts before we went to church.  But I did snap a quick picture of them in their jammies with their stockings.  They didn't even go through their stockings until after church because there wasn't time for that either.

My favorite time on Christmas day was when we came back home after church, just the five of us, and opened gifts together.

I wish I was camera savvy enough to get a picture of all five of us together on Christmas morning in front of our tree.  But two separate pictures will just have to do.

And then it was time to open gifts.  We let them open a few gifts from our Georgia family on Christmas eve.  But most were opened on Christmas morning.  Seth and I get the children three gifts each, and we fill their stockings.  We also wrap all of their gifts (except I didn't wrap the bean bags this year because they were just too big).

When we open gifts with Seth's family, we open them one at a time so everyone can see what everyone else gets.  It's quite a process, and it takes awhile.  But this is what my kids are used to, and it's all they know.  So on Christmas morning, they did the same thing.  They took turns and opened their gifts one at a time.  I didn't tell them to do that.  That's just what they do.  And they love trying to guess what the others are going to unwrap and are so excited for each other's gifts.  I'm tell you, it was just the sweetest time together!

Mason saved his money for almost a year and learned a lot of lessons on the way.  He finally got an Xbox.  I guess you could say it was a birthday-Christmas-and-all-the-other-holidays-in-between gift!  He was actually very surprised.  He had no clue he was finally getting it for Christmas.  When he opened his gift from Pop and Mimi, his expression was priceless.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera ready so I asked him to "do it again."  And this is what I got.  It's pretty close to the original!

Hannah Kate (and Ellie, too) had an American Girl Christmas.  They love their American Girl dolls and play with them ALL. THE. TIME.  They are constantly dressing them, playing school, playing kitchen, whatever.  I used to do that with my Barbies, but they could care less about Barbies.  They are American Girls all the way!

She's been asking for this kitten for her girl for over a year now.  She finally got it from Pop and Mimi.  I mean, she was absolutely giddy over this cat!

And now her American Girl has a "real" desk and lunchroom food and locker for when they play school.

One of Ellie's gifts was this super cute necklace.

The girl knows how to strike a pose.  I'm telling you, I don't know where she gets it from!

Ellie's box from Pop and Mimi was the biggest, and the kids spent the entire month trying to figure out what in the world was in the box!  None of them guessed correctly so I don't know who was more excited to find out what was in the box - Ellie or the big kids!

It's a sleeping bag!  When all of the Georgia cousins came last summer and slept in the playroom, everyone had a sleeping bag except Ellie.  Well, not anymore!

We always fill their stockings with practical gifts . . . you know, undies and socks and such.  Hannah Kate and Ellie had these super cute headbands in their stockings.  We gave Abbie one, also.

After we opened gifts, I went to the kitchen to finish my veggie dishes for lunch.  Mason and Seth were getting the Xbox set up, Hannah Kate was playing school with her American Girls and Ellie and her babies were with me.

Seth started drinking coffee every morning a couple of years ago.  I don't drink coffee.  Unless it's a treat from Starbuck's.  Our coffee maker would make you laugh.  So my parents got him a Keurig.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be liking this thing, too!

Sunday morning before I began our lesson, I asked each of the youth in my Sunday School class to share with us what their favorite gift was and why.  I'd known for several days that I was going to ask them this question so I'd already been thinking what my own answer would be.  But I didn't have just ONE favorite.  Every single gift I was given had a lot of meaning behind it, and I know each gift was very purposefully chosen.  So I decided I wasn't going to share because I couldn't.  But, of course, one of my girls interrupted and said, "Well, Mrs. Julie, what about you?"

I told them that I loved opening my box from my parents because I had no idea what was in there.  It was full of some things I'd asked for (the newest book by my current favorite author and a cookbook by my favorite chef) and some things that were total surprises (including a Yeti that is engraved with my initials!).

My bestie and my SIL gave me some really pretty arm candy that holds a lot of meaning and makes me super happy every time I see it.

I picked out, purchased and even wrapped my own gifts from Seth and the kids this year.  And I am TOTALLY okay with that!  But for the first time ever, my stocking got filled this year!  So that was a really sweet surprise.

We went to Seth's parents' for lunch and then opened gifts with his family afterwards.  That took awhile, and then the kids and I played the game of Life together.  I took very few pictures.  But here are the cousins very patiently waiting to open gifts (Avery and Beau didn't arrive until the following day).

And notice that Mason had an outfit change.  That super cute mustache tree tee I ordered for him (a size up from what he normally wears!) was too small!  So he wore it while we were opening family gifts and then changed before we went to MawMaw's!  We never even took the tag off.  We'll be gifting it to my nephews!

In the midst of opening gifts, I looked up to see this.  I don't know why.  It just makes me laugh.  Hannah Kate is laid out on top of the coffee table.  Obviously it was some else's turn to open a gift!

Hannah Kate and Ellie continued to have an American Girl Christmas with a few other things in between.  Mason got this bad boy.

At the end of the day, we came home.  The tree was lit.  All 25 candles on our Advent wreath were blazing.  The outside lights were twinkling.  It was just so perfect in every way.  

Merry Christmas to all.  And, to all, a good night.

I can hardly wait to do it all over again next year!

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