Sunday, January 18, 2015

Christmas Eve

I'm still trying to figure out Christmas Eve at our house. Growing up for me, my dad was always home on Christmas Eve, and while we didn't have any major traditions during the day other than getting ready for the evening festivities, it definitely felt like a holiday because everyone was home. In the evening, we'd always invite people over, and after dinner we'd go around the room and share something Christmas-y. It could be a poem, a song, artwork... anything. And usually our guests would share something too, often a story. And, of course, we'd read from Luke about Jesus' birth. I'm not going to lie, some of us grumbled about having to put something together (ahem, me), some of us would prepare at the last minute (me, again), but gosh I miss that and want it so badly for my family now! It truly brought the Christmas spirit and truly made Christmas Eve feel special.

Will has a full work day on Christmas Eve, which is fine, but it makes it hard for me to feel like it's a special occasion. I do miss what I grew up with and want to start some of our own Christmas Eve traditions during the day that are Christ centered, even if I do have to do it alone.

Anyway, it was still a great day! The kids played with their cute friend Adam in the morning. Bella put together a fun Santa craft for them to do, and then in the afternoon I did some last-minute Christmas prep and got the kids dolled up to go to Auntie Kay's for a fun evening with family. I do love that we dress up for Christmas Eve because that's something we did at our house growing up, too. (Hated it back then; love it now--what's up with that?) There's something about childhood traditions (especially Christmas ones) that are hard to let go of. Ten years later, and Will and I finally aren't debating about whether or not Santa presents should be wrapped. I won't tell you who won out on that one, but you can probably guess.
 
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^^All dolled up. They were very good sports for all the picture-taking I put them through. Thank goodness for the candy cane in Charlie's hand, otherwise there's no way he would have gone for sitting still!
IMG_6666ChristmasEve2014 ^^Here we are at Auntie Kay's! Juliette loves her Aunt Tina so much! IMG_6679ChristmasEve2014 ^^Great Grandma Gross and her sister, Auntie Kay! I love how close these sisters are. Makes me think of what my sisters and I might be like some day. I know we'll be close like these two and I fully expect us to wear matching Christmas sweaters. :) IMG_6680ChristmasEve2014 IMG_6681ChristmasEve2014 ^^Charlton thought it was the best thing ever to have a coffee table right at his height full of all kinds of finger food and treats. It was kind of the cutest thing ever to watch him carefully eat. Such a little man! I can't even call him Charlie looking at these pictures. He's such a Charlton here! haha IMG_6693ChristmasEve2014 IMG_6695ChristmasEve2014 ^^Isabella gave Great Grandma a red rose that can light up, and Charlton thought that was the best thing ever, too.

After all that fun, we hurried home and did the Christmas bedtime drill! I looooved that the girls wore some of my old Christmas nightgowns, handmade by my amazing mom. They looked so sweet in them. I don't have pictures of everything, but we read "Twas the Night Before Christmas," put some treats together for Santa, and the kids put all the presents they were giving under the tree. They were all kinds of crazy during these activities. Will and I kept looking at each other like, who are these children? IMG_6740ChristmasEve2014 ChristmasEve2014-3 IMG_6837ChristmasEve2014 ChristmasEve2014-2 IMG_6853ChristmasEve2014 IMG_6868Christmas2014 IMG_6869ChristmasEve2014 IMG_6870ChristmasEve2014 IMG_6871ChristmasEve2014 IMG_6874ChristmasEve2014

^^I also LOVED that my sister Emma sent the kids the most darling ever Christmas pillowcases that she made! My mom also had Christmas pillowcases for us kids growing up, and so I've always wanted to do that for my kids but haven't ever gotten around to making them. Now I don't have to!

We have a tradition of all the kids sleeping in the same room on Christmas Eve. They chose Liam's bed since Charlie's crib is in there, and surprisingly enough, the four of them went to sleep in a flash. They even slept in until like 8am, which is crazy to me! But Will and I weren't complaining after the record-breaking hyper/crazy they had just put us through. Happy Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Card and Letter


Merry Christmas 2014
As told by Santa Claus: 

‘Twas a night at the Gross home, when all through the house 
Kids were bustling as usual, made a fort of the couch. 
They played pretend circus and practiced their stunts. 
I thought to myself, they sound like elephants! 

At way-past bedtime, they read books with the kids, 
While visions of fairytales danced in their heads. 
With Will done exhausted, and Marie’s brain turned to sap,
They finally cuddled in for a short winter’s nap. 

 When outside their room, there arose such a clatter. 
Marie sprung from her bed to see what was the matter. 
Away to the crib, she flew like a flash, 
 Looked over at Will, and he was still crashed. 

 When Charlie will sleep through the night, no one knows. 
He woke with the moon for a hungry hello. 
‘Fore long, what to their sleepy eyes should appear, 
But the sun peeking in and a new day dawning near. 

 Just moments later, so energetic and quick, 
I knew in an instant it must be the kids. 
So lively and rested, chattering they came. 
They piled on mom and dad as Marie called them by name: 

 “Isabella! (loves reading, art, dance and sewing); 
Liam! (Legos, chess, soccer, and building wood things); 
Juliette! (singing, puzzles and gymnastics tricks); 
Charlie! (peek-a-boo, chasing siblings and blowing kisses).” 

 The baby —how he babbled! His bright eyes, how merry, 
His cheeks were delicious, he could live on blueberries. 
He obsessed over balls and sure loved to throw. 
He’s a climber and daredevil, this little fellow. 

 Will and Marie celebrated 10 years in love.
 For Christ, family and friends, they thanked heaven above. 
And I heard them exclaim, ere I drove out of sight- 
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy 36th, Will!

Forgive me if I get all sappy in this post, but looking at these pictures of this sweet man I married make me so happy and grateful. He is so good, and every bit of the family man I dreamed and thought he would be when we were dating all those years ago. I've known him for 14 years! Crazy, I tell ya.

Last year I felt bad because his birthday turned out a little lame. I had all these big intentions, but with a newborn baby and traveling for Christmas and lots of visitors, most of my grand ideas didn't pan out. One of the ideas I had last year, that I found on Pinterest (of course!), was to fill up a jar full of chocolate kisses and have an equal amount of little love notes/memories in the jar, too. The idea was that he'd have a kiss and note from me at work every day for a year. Well, truth be told, I got the kisses and started making the notes and ran out of time to make enough before his birthday. (I think I came up with this game plan the afternoon of his birthday last year. Yeah, it didn't happen. What did happen was I ate an entire huge bag of hershey kisses.)


So this year, I wanted to work with the notes I'd been coming up with and I wanted to get the kids involved too. So instead of a jar, we made a treasure chest, filled it with kisses, and we all made notes and memories for him. Then we came up with rhymes that sent him all over town to find his treasure. This was SO fun for us all, and I could tell Will loved it too. Anyway, these first pictures are of him reading his first clue. We were all so excited!

Later that evening we went to Will's parent's house for an amazing Mexican dinner. So, so, so good! And I love how when everyone sang to him and watched him open presents, he practically had kids sitting on top of him wanting to be near him. I would've liked to be near him, too, but I'm too busy taking pictures and keeping Charlie out of trouble. That boy is on the move these days, and it's kind of my favorite.

Happy 36th birthday to my love!

PS. I took most of the treasure hunt pics and videos on my phone, so I'll have to come back later and insert those. Sometimes I feel like keeping up with pictures is a full-time gig. I never ever regret the time I take to document our lives, though. It is so worth it.

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PPS. The ghetto-looking cake was made by yours truly. Angel food cake from scratch is touchy!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Christmas Creche

Every year we attend an amazing event at our church where hundreds of nativities are put on display. This year we signed the kids up to be part of a live nativity for 30 minutes with some of our friends. I loved seeing them get dressed up, and got an especial kick out of pretending Charlie was baby Jesus for a few minutes. He stayed in that manger longer than I expected and kept giving us this look like, "What on earth??"
 
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Our Gingerbread Tradition

We kicked off early December with our fun tradition of going to the Bishop's home to make gingerbread houses. I even made one! Betcha can't tell which one that is. Next time I'm going crazy on my house...I've decided gingerbread houses look better when there's less symmetry and more wild. And it looks like the boys had fun snitching treats!

  GingerbreadHouses2014-1 IMG_6296GingerbreadHouses2014 GingerbreadHouses2014-3 ^^Isabella's house IMG_6305GingerbreadHouses2014 IMG_6319GingerbreadHouses2014 IMG_6327GingerbreadHouses2014 "Juliette's house IMG_6333GingerbreadHouses2014 ^^Liam's house IMG_6334GingerbreadHouses2014 ^^Annnnd. You guessed it: my house. IMG_6340GingerbreadHouses2014 ^^Thank you, Bishop and Sister Wiest!

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