Our Christmas was absolutely PERFECT!
It was our first time to celebrate Christmas in our home & we it was really fun to do start our own holiday traditions.
Will: "Mommy, all I want for Christmas is for baby Jesus to be born."
Me: heart melting, so proud... clearly he is destined for spiritual greatness
Will: "Also, I want some new toys"
Me: well, at least he is a typical 5 year old, right?
On Christmas Eve morning, Will & R worked hard assembling (& playing) Will's new safari set he got from his grandparents the day before.
Meanwhile, Ellie "helped" them & I prepared some things for our random acts of service/kindness activity.
I got behind on my to do list this season (anyone else have that problem? ;)) but making cookies was important to me. (Kind of.)
I'm not much of a baker. It's way too exact for me. And all that measuring - ugh!
I also knew that I wanted to spend some time with my kids playing on Christmas Eve Day - not baking all morning.
Plus, I knew that the kids would enjoy the shape part but would choose playing over making cookies.
I used the pre-made dough in the bag - added an egg and some flour & rolled it out.
Perfect shortcut for us.
Will really wanted to make a gingerbread pirate (after one of his favorite Christmas stories, "The Gingerbread Pirate.")
(The final version didn't turn out so good.)
So this part was fun.
But that exactness to baking - apparently you have to actually time the cookies.
They were rather crispy. Even Santa turned up his nose and only nibbled a few.
Oh well - the kids didn't care & I was fine with it - it was never about making perfect cookies anyway.
Though we attend a local Bible church, we attended Christmas Eve Church with my parents. Their church has a late afternoon children's service and it is perfect for little ones - it tells the story of Christ's birth and kids participate in it - leading songs and reading scripture. It's okay if a little one in the congregation "baaas" when the word sheep is mentioned. Which makes me less stressed as a parent.
Afterwards, we went to my parents' home for dinner.
Ellie really liked having her Uncle Adam in town.
In fact, she pretty much never left his side.
Ellie & her Lovie
Ellie soaking up the attention from Mimi & Mrs. Ricks
Doctor Ellie gave checkups to Megan
& her Great Aunt Lili
The kids were super excited to open up a few gifts on Christmas Eve!
And then I was that parent. I encouraged my son to sing "Away in a Manger" & "Jingle Bells" for everyone. And I made everyone listen.
Yes. Yes I did.
Christmas morning, our kids slept in.
Actually, they slept til normal time. Around 8:30, Will came into our room. I went to get Ellie & both kids were so patient waiting in bed while I turned on lamps and Christmas lights & their daddy showered.
So so patient.
I wish I would have taken a picture of the sky. It was dark and rainy. I love rainy days and something about Christmas makes me crave rainy, cloudy, cold weather - perfect for a fire and snuggling in and staying in pjs all day long.
I have actually prayed for a rainy Christmas morning for the last month. I did put a little caveat in my prayer, however.
God totally gave me my desire for rain.... and then He went way above and beyond...
Then, Daddy read the Christmas story.
Finally, we headed to the family room for stockings!
Ellie was so excited about everything in her stocking!
Daddy was thrilled with new socks & candy
Next, we headed to the Christmas tree.
I noticed the golden box first. I quickly told the kids the Legend of the Christmas Golden Box - a special gift that only arrives under the tree on certain years but contains something very special.
(Totally made up this legend, by the way. But it just became a very special tradition in our family.)
Inside our golden box,
the gift both kids have been requesting for months!
(Or as Ellie says, "a Meow Baby!")
I want to give Santa some extra credit here because it turns out that cats mate seasonally, when it is warm. This means that Christmas kittens are hard to locate. This further means that Santa may have spent four hours in the car recently travelling from shelter to shelter in various rural towns all over Texas before finding a kitten under 2 months old.
Santa must love these children.
It was magical. It was just so so so fun!
They have both asked for so long for a kitten.
It was the most fun thing ever to watch their faces as they peeled off the golden box's lid & discovered a real live kitten inside!
Ellie is in love. She is such a little mommy - she loves babies and mothers her big brother.
Now, she calls her "meow baby" & he comes running to her. She holds him close and cuddles him and talks to him and just adores him.
After the kitten gift, our gift opening took a big pause - we had something fun to play with!
(Will took a look at the cookies Santa barely nibbled on.)
The kitten, whom Will named "Arrow" for the arrow on his forehead, (Ellie named him "meow baby") was a little shy at first but has since warmed up.
Finally, we got back to our gifts.
Ellie cracked us up this year - she tore paper off in very tiny pieces and as soon as she got a glimpse of a box, she would squeal, "THIS!!!"
Both got books.
He is so my child - already reading his new books.
I love this picture - Will is so like me, engrossed in a book & oblivious to life around him.
Daddy got a coffee press & hand painted coffee mug from his kids.
Our new rule this year was 3 gifts/kid.
Santa may or may not have counted the joint gift of the kitten in the numbers... numbers are not Santa's strong suit.
The 3 gift rule worked great for us - helped with planning and budgeting and really made for special gifts on Christmas morning.
We also had the kids make their lists Thanksgiving week - gave us plenty of time and prevented them from last minute list changing.
Ellie's new princess castle
We invited Cookie, Lovie, & Uncle Adam over for brunch. Due to our late start opening gifts (someday, I'm sure that will change & they'll be up at the crack of dawn), & our frequent stops to play with Arrow/Meow Baby, we still had a lot of gifts to go.
Ellie was just content to cuddle up to Uncle Adam.
Will loves dress up - he received Jake the Pirate dress up clothes from his Honey & G-Dad & therefore wore his pirate headband on Christmas morning. Love it.
He likes to close his eyes when opening gifts - draws out the anticipation, I guess.
Thanks, GAC & GUS - he loves playmobile!!
More Dress up clothes!
Ellie loves her baby dolls - thanks Gac & Gus!
Finally, their final & big gifts!
A new EZYROLLER for Will
& a pink tricycle for Ellie!
Love this picture!
To the doctors who once said each of my children would be severely disabled- I present the following:
2 & 5 years old.
They might have significant medical conditions, but I'd say they are pretty typical kids.
Our family - a perfect Christmas morning.
A break in the rain allowed us to head outside and practice their new rides.
Back inside & more reading...
I served brunch and didn't think to take any pictures of the table. The kids have made those hand colored plates for several years & I served brunch on them. It made me happy.
Cookie, Lovie, & Uncle Adam headed home and we spent the next few hours assembling gifts and just hanging out on a rainy day in our living room together with great Christmas music on and our kids' laughter.
Ellie's new dollhouse (in background of picture) & Will & R with his new Ninja Turtles sewer.
We all went down for Christmas afternoon naps...
have I mentioned the day was perfect?
A rainy day nap - just lovely.
Around 4:30, R woke me up to tell me it was SNOWING!
It rarely snows here.
On Christmas Eve Day, it was 70 degrees. My kids wore shorts.
It has never (to my knowledge) snowed here on CHRISTMAS.
The flakes were huge.
We stood at our windows in disbelief.
I mean seriously?!?
A rainy day and a snowy evening?!?! On Christmas?!?!
I couldn't stand it, I was so giddy.
I quickly showered (because we stayed in our pjs ALL DAY LONG) & then woke the kids up and bundled them up.
Thirty minutes later, this is what that tree above looked like:
Ellie was not a fan of falling snow - it scared her...
So Will & I played outside with neighbors throwing snowballs.
It was really, really cold so we headed inside & went to Cookie & Lovie's for dinner.
We always celebrate Christmas Night with our long time family friends, the Rogers.
Ellie was so excited to tell Mrs. Janie about her new meow baby.
Hanging out with Dr. Rick, her buddy (& pediatrician)
Posing with Lovie (with dip in Ellie's mouth -sorry.)
Giving Dr. Rick a checkup
All of the kids & grandkids-
now all grown kids living in 4 different states. So fun to get back together with these guys every year - they are like little brothers to me.
Our fam plus the Rogers' Fam
My mom & I
Bedtime story with Cookie
Ellie & her Meow Baby
Arrow is very curious -
I've caught him in Ellie's doll house...
& Will's Turtle Sewer
Checking out the snow on 12/26
I'm telling you - when Ellie is awake, she is taking care of her Meow Baby.
Arrow is terrified of our golden retriever still and will hiss and claw...
except when Ellie is holding him. If Ruby walks in the room while Ellie has him, he will hiss but not claw her. It's something.
I found an old baby bottle and filled it with water - Ellie takes her mothering duties quite seriously & makes sure meow baby stays hydrated.
This morning, I caught her in the laundry room hand feeding Meow Baby & she had put a baby bib on him! She cracks us up & loves her new kitten.
Yay for a Golden Box Year!
We are so blessed - a Christmas in our home where we got to see all the grandparents and several of the greats... fun new gifts and new toys to play with... family to celebrate with, rain & snow -
A very Merry Christmas indeed.