Monday, December 29, 2014

A Microscope!?

After our Christmas morning festivities, we quickly showered and loaded the kids up to drive out to Poulsbo to be with Will's family. It was wonderful and we got spoiled for sure. But first Grandpa had Isabella read to us from Luke about Jesus' birth, and the kids and I sang a Christmas song called, "Can I Hold the Baby?" that they learned at church. We're not the best singers in the world--at least I'm not, but it was sweet and I really love the message of that song. And I love the spirit music brings, especially at Christmas. I might just force my family to go caroling with me next year.

Anyway, then Juliette donned the Santa hat and began handing out gifts. Actually, she didn't last long in that role, but she sure looked cute as Santa! Isabella was eager to be Santa and handed out most of the presents, opening hers at the very end. I thought that was really sweet of her. And what a happy ending for her to get an American Girl doll! She and I both never imagined she'd get one of those!

Liam pretty much flipped when he got a microscope from Grandma Rise and Grandpa Billy. He'd been saving up for one, but when he finally had enough to buy the one he saw at Costco, they'd sold out. So when he saw the microscope, he was shocked. I think he kept saying, "Is that a microscope!? I got a microscope!?" Except he mispronounces "microscope" a little, making it all the cuter.  It kind of kills me that we don't have it on camera. He definitely ran and plopped himself on Grandma for a big, crazy hug... I love his hugs, but you do need some warning! haha

He also flipped when he got a chess set from Uncle Matt. We already have a family chess set at home, but to get his very own made him one ecstatic little dude, and I loved that he played chess with Uncle Matt that evening, "teaching him how to play," even though I'm pretty sure Matt already knew how. What a good sport Uncle Matt was to play student to him.

Juliette freaked out about Elsa stickers... so easy to please, that one! She is a Frozen fanatic with the best of them and I love her happy-go-lucky ways.

And Charlie was in heaven with the new balls he got and is always so much fun to watch.

Again, it made my day to see the kids give gifts that they'd bought with money they'd been saving. Cute little things from the dollar store mostly, but ever so sweet. We wrapped up the evening with an amazing meal, and went home feeling very blessed and full of love. Merry Christmas to all!
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Christmas Morning

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^^As usual, the kids were stuck at the top of the stairs for longer than they would have liked so that I could snap pictures and Will could get the video camera ready. Liam looks especially tortured by the wait. haha Christmas2014-1 IMG_6920Christmas2014 ^^They were definitely excited to come downstairs. I think Charlie even sensed something was up! Christmas2014-6 IMG_6939Christmas2014 IMG_6942Christmas2014 IMG_6929Christmas2014 ^^Juliette wished for a unicorn family; Liam a camera; Isabella a horse and accessories for her Our Generation doll; and Charlie "a surpsise!" All wishes were granted! Christmas2014-4 IMG_7038Christmas2014 ^^Liam gives crazy good thank you hugs--pretty much runs and jumps on you. He reminded me of a big Elf on the Shelf on Bella's lap. IMG_6931Christmas2014 Christmas2014-5 IMG_6900Christmas2014 Christmas2014-3 IMG_6952Christmas2014 IMG_6957Christmas2014 IMG_6962Christmas2014 IMG_6963Christmas2014 IMG_6970Christmas2014
^^As a mother, one of the sweetest things about Christmas is watching the kids prepare gifts for one another. They raided my wrapping paper bin and got all their presents together quite a few weeks before Christmas and hid them all behind our washer and dryer. They'd marvel with each other about how many presents there already were, and there really were! The small area behind our washer and dryer was loaded and overflowing! They used so much of my wrapping supplies that I guess they ran out and so one of Juliette's gifts was actually wrapped in fabric! I think the cute paper book she made Bella in this picture was the one wrapped in fabric. Anyway, it all just kind of melts me. They are the sweetest kids in the world. IMG_6977Christmas2014 IMG_7002Christmas2014 IMG_7071Christmas2014 Christmas2014-7 IMG_7063Christmas2014
^^For Liam's birthday last year, he got this super cozy and big fleece blanket. When Charlie was born, it kind of turned into Charlie's blanket because it was just so warm and easy to swaddle him up in it. None of my kids have ever attached themselves to a blanket, but Charlie sure did to this one. I think it would frustrate Liam a little bit when nobody even referred to it has his blanket anymore. But bless his heart, a few weeks before Christmas "Charlie's blanket" disappeared because Liam decided he was going to wrap it up and officially give it to Charlie for Christmas. In the meantime, the beloved blankie was very much missed by our baby boy. It was too cute to see Charlie reunite with his blankie on Christmas morning! He was ecstatic! And so sweet of Liam to give it to him because he loved that blanket, too. Christmas2014-2 IMG_7046Christmas2014

I can't imagine Christmas morning being anything but lovely. There's just a spirit about it. So as naughty as the kids were on Christmas Eve, they sure made up for it. They were little angels! We had so much fun opening gifts with them and then skyping with Grandma Lisa and Grandpa Tracy who gave them the most adorable gifts ever, as usual. I swear my mom has the best talent for gift giving, always so personalized and classy! I need it to rub off on me! For example, she gave Liam a book called, "The Candy Bomber" about one of the inspiring men in the movie "Meet the Mormons" (which Liam has seen), along with a pilot costume for Liam so he can dress up as the candy bomber.

Anyway, we love Christmas and truly had a very merry one!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

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!

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