Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas with family...

For some reason I'm not so good about taking pictures when we are at someone else's home. I do remember to take the camera, and I actually do think about it while we are there.
What the problem seems to be is is that I am so distracted by the effort of keeping my children from destroying other people's property, I just don't take the time to really photograph anything. Sad, but true.

We had our Christmas time with Steve's brother and his family the Saturday before Christmas, but of course I didn't take any pictures. (Although the camera was sitting beside me the entire time.) Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time!

On Sunday, we went to Boaz to have our Christmas with Steve's folks.
Again, no great pictures.
But I did take a couple of little man snuggling up with the girls in the hide-a-bed.
No, he didn't sleep there (he didn't sleep at all...), but he really really enjoyed this new fun bed scenario.

The day after Christmas we went to Decatur for Christmas with my mom and dad, my grandmother, and my brother. Between me and my mom, we did get some decent pictures.

My beautiful family.

The kids opening yet even more presents...will it ever end?

This reaction cracked me up!
I'm still not sure why she freaked out, but it sure was funny.

And of course, the best part of Christmas...
watching those we love open our gifts to them.

We had family pictures taken for Christmas gifts this year. (Thanks to my amazingly talented friend, Kim. You really should check out her website...linked on my family blog.)
Family pictures may not seem like a big deal to some, but for us this was HUGE.
I have tons of pictures of the kids, but as far as us as a family unit actually taking the time to be together to have for real has been too long. You think I'm kidding? The last structured picture taking time we had was when B was 11 months old...she is now 9 1/2 YEARS old. See what I mean?
Needless to say, but I will and dad and the rest of the family were thrilled! YAY!

It was indeed a very Merry Christmas with our beloved family!

Christmas Eve

Since I haven't had time to share pictures of my Christmas "stuff",
here are just a very few of 'my favorite things'...

I love my tree!
I have a fun tree full of handmade and memory-filled ornaments that we all love to decorate and talk about each year, but this one is the one I stare at when I sit on my couch at night.
It is the one that offers me the glow I need to read my scriptures.
This one may not have the memories, but it has the feeling.

My mantle changes every year.
This year I fell in love with the star lights and the itty-bitty jingle bell garland in the hurricanes.

It just makes me happy...

I love Ho Ho's (as I have called Santa for years).
He is one of my favorites. I love to look for Ho-Ho's every where we go during the holidays.

And of course...the Reason for the Season.

I absolutely adore the way the Christmas packages glitter and shine underneath the tree.
It just looks like Christmas Eve to me. I get so excited for my kids to wake up the next morning!

One of our traditions is writing letters to Santa to leave by his milk and cookies.
Some years we leave an apple or two for Rudolph or various other reindeer, but little man really likes apples and just did not want to share. And it is my fault that we forgot to leave Mrs. Claus her little baggie of cookies this year. Oops. Sorry Mrs. Claus! We'll send extra next year.

K's gifts from Santa.

B's gifts from Santa.

I have to explain the significance of the girls' gifts...
They were convinced (thanks to me) that there was no way, no how they were getting American Girl dolls for Christmas. They were just going to have to wait until their birthdays. After weeks of this, they had finally resigned themselves to just that fact.
So you can only imagine how beyond thrilled they were that Santa came through for them!
Lucky girls that Santa is so darn convincing...

Little man's gifts from Santa.

I love Christmas Eve with my little family.
We don't do much, but what we do is so very special to me.
We get our treats ready for Santa, then we all cuddle up on the couch or in our beds to read Luke 2, talk about baby Jesus and why we give presents, and then read "The Night Before Christmas". The girls get to pick their favorite Christmas carols for us all to sing together, and then we finish up with our family prayer.
It is my favorite night of the year.

Christmas morning...

We make the girls stay in their rooms until we're awake and ready with the cameras.
May be a little mean to make them suffer through the wait, but I had to when I was little and I just love tradition...
Santa leaves his gifts unwrapped under the tree, so we can't have any peekers or we would lose the moment of discovery. And that is not an option!

Steve waiting on the girls' reactions to what Santa brought.

Like I said...they were not expecting their dolls for months to come.
Good ol' Santa!

Little man finally woke up...
When I went in to get him, I said: Let's see if Santa came!
He started shouting: Santa come! Santa come!
With that and his bed-head...the cuteness was practically overwhelming.

And Santa did come!
Little man inspecting his new train for the first time.

It's a keeper!

B loves wolves and huskies (I don't know why...), so when I found these slippers, I knew she would LOVE them! We have since been growled and whimpered at, ad nauseum.

Little man loved his new slippers too.
His vrooming hasn't been nearly as annoying...

Sasha had a Merry Christmas too.
Woof! Yes, that is a hugemongous bone under Steve's arm.
We have a very happy dog.

The girls had one last present to open from the morning, but we made them wait until after lunch. I told them it was just a little big deal...but that it would be more fun to save at least one for later. Fortunately, they believe anything and were totally and completely blown away when they opened their last "little" gifts to find their own MP3 players!

Don't think we've lost our minds. These are not expensive and there is genius behind these gifts... because the girls had their own music to listen to, we experienced the most peaceful and relaxing car ride since they were born! So you see, these gifts may appear to have been for the girls' enjoyment, but they are in reality the best Christmas presents we ever gave ourselves!

Mom and Dad, Grandmom, and my brother, Daniel, came over late in the morning to visit and see the kids with all their new "stuff". We always look forward to this little break in the day. And the kids love to show off and explain.

Something new this year...we had the sister missionaries from our church over for dinner Christmas evening. It was such a treat and a blessing to have them in our home on Christmas Day. They left us with a beautiful message and a heart-warming prayer.

Christmas blesses us all in many ways.
I love to give. I love to watch others enjoy receiving.
I am so grateful for our Savior's example of what true giving really is.
The most important part of this holiday, for me, is to not let that get lost.
May we all find ways to insert the true reason for giving and receiving in our Christmas memories.