We have had a very fun, busy, happy, wonderful Christmas around here this year! My whole family came out to celebrate and stay with us. We love that our new house has enough space for everyone to spread out and live life together for a week or so. My Mom came out first and we had a few days with her before my brother and Dad got in on the 23rd. As tradition, we spend Christmas Eve with Mark's family. So we headed over to their house early on the 24th for breakfast, stockings, gifts, and togetherness!
Brady and Nolan waiting patiently for the festivities to begin! Our whole family has been a little under the weather off and on for the past 2 weeks. Nothing horrible, but you can tell in these photos that Nolan looks pale and his eyes look tired. He was a trooper and hung in there for most of the activities, but he did lay down for a rest here or there when he wasn't feeling that great. And by the end of the night he was EXHAUSTED. The nagging yuckiness hung on for days. Just glad it never hit hard.
Love this cute picture of Nolan and Payton. Festive cousins!
Then they switched hats. Love Nolan's natural, happy smile peeking out!
He played Santa with Oma and passed out the stockings.
Waiting to open their stockings.
Heath saying thank you to Oma after opening his stockings. He's only into hugs these days...NO KISSES! Silly guy!
Brooks was excited about each item in his "stocking".
Nolan has turned the corner and has actually been saving his money recently instead of wanting to spend it right away. We are happy to instill the value of saving within our children...it's a difficult but important concept! Heath isn't quite there yet...he's already gone out with Grandma with wallet in hand to buy some very needed Mutagen Ooze at Target! Ha!
More thank you hugs.
Santa was good to Mark this year! Ha!
Cara and I were laughing at the size difference of our stockings this year. And after this photo, my camera died. I knew that it needed some servicing and was acting finicky for awhile, but I just never got around to it. But now it won't even take a single picture. Time to take it in to the shop for repairs. So the rest of the photos from Winter Break were all taken on my iphone. Not the best quality, but a good alternative.
After stockings, we moved to the living room for gifts. Because there are so many kids, we do all of their gifts first and then send them to the other room to watch a movie and play with their new toys.
Heath got a Wolverine mask from Oma & Opa.
All of the kids pick one name to buy a gift for. Heath chose Payton and he picked out this silly cat shirt for her. Not my taste, but he thought it was perfect! Yes, I stuck the gift receipt in the box just in case! ;)
Brooksie was just as excited to crawl on his boxes as he was to open them.
Brooks got some lawn tools from Oma & Opa. He has been using them inside the house all week, but we are hoping to have a box for them in the garage so that he can play with them outside this Spring and Summer. He loves playing with the ones at Oma & Opa's house and he loves being outside...so this was a great gift!
Cohen got Heath a Ninja Turtle shell!
Brady got Nolan Super Mario Brothers for the wii. Brady is a video game expert so it was fun for him to be able to buy this for Nolan. And Nolan was very happy to get this game. He plays it at After Care sometimes but they only get 5 minutes of play time before they have to switch players. So he has a lot of practicing to do. But he even thinks it's fun to watch others play since that is what he has to do a lot of at After Care. The perfectionist in him is having to learn that it's o.k. to die- you just have to keep trying and not get frustrated. So for the rest of the week we will be practicing his Mario skills a lot before we have to head back to school.
Heath got a Nuggets basketball from Oma & Opa.
But it was quickly swiped by our resident ball hog...Brooks...not Brad. Brooks loves when Uncle Brad spins basketballs on his finger! He even tries hard to do it himself.
The boys were so blessed by lots of fun and needed gifts.
Once all the kids opened their gifts we put Heath's new movie- "Planes", on for them in the other room. Then us adults had some quiet and less chaotic gift opening time.
Brad gave Mark this funny gift. Underneath the lights was another bottle of Jack and honey. We all laughed when we saw Kenneth Faried's head atop the glowing bottle!
Nolan made these pot holders for Oma & Grandma and magnets for Auntie and Uncle T. and us through a school fundraiser. I love that I'll have his artwork in this tangible way forever.
I guess I must have been relaxing because I didn't really take very many photos of us adults opening gifts this day. I guess the kids are more fun to document. But we were all spoiled and enjoyed some adult time together.
After gifts, we headed home to pick up my parents and Uncle T. and to rest for a bit before church. We decided to check out a new church this year for Christmas Eve because we didn't feel like driving 30 plus minutes across town to our church and then driving 40 some minutes over to Bruce & Barb's on the way home. We went to the South East Christian church where Heath goes to Preschool. It is two minutes from our house, which made for less stress and running around on an already busy day. We had a nice service with beautiful music, and candle light, and were happy to sing praise to our newborn king!
After church we headed back to Oma & Opa's for Christmas Eve dinner with the whole fam and some caroling too!
Oma plays the piano.
And we all use these awesomely old Christmas Carol books to sing along. The boys didn't have naps that day or really any down time and had been way over stimulated with gifts and toys and sweets, so I was having to manage behavior quite a bit. So it wasn't super relaxing, but still a lot of fun and such a special tradition. Three kids 5 and under at Christmas is busy...but amazing and I know it will only get easier from here. Right?! Ha!
The boys sang "Away in a Manger" again for the whole family. I love hearing their sweet voices.
They also sang Rudolph and Frosty too, which they had been practicing with Oma!
And then after Jingle Bells...(Please ignore my singing...it's awful, you'd think I'd learn not to sing while filming!)
comes Santa! I loved Nolan and Brady's reaction here! And thank you Uncle T. for swooping in and saving Brooksie!
The older boys are Santa experts.
Brooksie still just isn't quite sure about the jolly ol' man.
Auntie Sue planned a fun Christmas Rubber Duck racing game.
The energy and volume at this point was off the charts. But they had so much fun. Nolan won the game and was so proud. But all the other cousins were such great sports too. It was fun!
Then the adults played their rounds! My Dad was the overall winner...our family had a lucky night!
After the game we headed back upstairs for desserts and a bit more chatting.
Then we headed home to get prepared for Santa.
Nolan and Uncle T. picked out the cookies for Santa and Heath and I got the carrots for Rudolph. We poured some milk and got the boys in their jammies and ready for bed. They were super excited to see if Santa would visit that night. Nolan had seen the commercial where the kids set up the ipad camera to try to catch Santa in action and he had asked to do the same. We were able to convince him to just try to listen for Santa instead. He has asked a lot of questions this year, so we're not sure how much longer he'll BELIEVE in this magic. But it's fun while it lasts! :)
It was a great day filled with lots of family and focused on the real reason of the season- hope, peace, joy, LOVE. We are so thankful for the gift of baby Jesus. What an amazing sacrifice.