Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Day 2015

On Christmas morning, the kids woke up before 7am, and we made them stay upstairs for a few minutes until we were ready to start! They came down and first opened the baby Jesus to put in the manger, then they went on to their stockings and other gifts. Each of them got 3-4 gifts and then there were some shared gifts, a huge collection of playdoh and a playdoh dentist toy, plus that big plastic drawer filled with Legos (which, ironically was given to us free when I bought a desk and storage shelf from a family last month)! They've been playing with those things all weekend long!

The living room before the onslaught

The kids grudgingly agree to a photo before they come downstairs

Present time!

MC got a ukulele 

Thomas got two animal encyclopedias and loves them both!

Ellie got her own ripstick since she often uses Steven's more than he does!

I love this moment of excitement

A big kit of clay crafts

SJ picked out an Aggie mug for Daddy

MC reading Katie's new Shining Light book to her, a lovely story of all the apparitions of Mary.

They dig in to the Legos

Katie got a little baby doll

One boy into his Legos while the other reads his book.

My parents arrived around lunchtime, and we had a nice afternoon with them. We will do our gift exchange when my brother's family arrives this week.

My mom collects Nutcrackers and got this beautiful one from my aunt.

Tortilla soup has been the meal of the season; we've served it for two sets of guests, and at two different parties. We had the leftovers for lunch on Christmas Day!

Steven Joseph got a real bow and arrow, which is being enjoyed by children and adults alike!

The afternoon was spent in intense baking mode, as the girls and I baked cookies for the inaugural cookie contest with Steven's family that evening. I saw a friend post about these "Silver Bells" on Facebook and they looked right up my alley! I didn't win or even get votes aside from my own, but they are definitely a new favorite for me!

After some resting, visiting, and baking, we headed across town for the B family Christmas! This was one of those years where we got takeout instead of cooking and had some yummy Italian food from Buca de Beppo.

MC wore my old reindeer sweatshirt, i.e. her "ugly Christmas sweater!"

Something interesting was being discussed here!

Katie Grace is not sure about all these people.

Trying to climb up on Mommy all evening!

She only wanted me or Ellie most of the time!

We had to discuss the whole "fishy business"

There is this running gag gift of a rubber fish that makes his appearance at holidays and has been in the family about 20 years!

This year he had a big fish join him with this giant inflatable in the front yard! We all got a text with a video of this guy and ran outside to see what it was. Too funny. Now they've made a scrapbook for the fish and there is always an adventure and mystery going on about him. I'm not sure how the giant Billy Bass will be a part of it too!

Always time for sports and TV

Soon it was time for the most exciting part of the evening, the kids' gifts. Grampatti made it a game and the kids had clues and keys and had to find which duffle bag was theirs.

Grampatti always outdoes herself with unique gifts for each of the kids. They all got 3-4 items in their bags plus a gift card!

After things settled down, it was time for some chess.

And time to watch some Jimmy Fallon lip sync battles and a movie!

We all enjoyed meeting the newest family member, Scout the blue heeler puppy which joined the family of Steven's sister Paige and her husband Winn and four boys. That will be one loved dog!

We arrived home after midnight and have spent this weekend catching up on rest! It's been a very fun holiday and we look forward to even more fun with family and friends in the days to come as we celebrate Christmas with my family, New Year's and Epiphany with friends, followed by Mary Clare's 13th Birthday! Merry Christmas to all! As I shared on Facebook, as Catholics this joyful season of Christmas has just begun.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

We had a wonderful Christmas, as always. God has truly graced us with amazing family and friends, and a Church and Savior that are leading us to Heaven. This year we decided at the last minute (because that's how we roll) to have a Christmas Eve dinner with some friends at our house. Steven spent the day Christmas shopping and going into work with the 3 middle kids. I stayed home with the oldest and youngest to prepare for the evening.

We went to 4:30 mass this year, which was lovely and allowed us to get home to host this gathering. Last year we did the same thing with a couple families, but before the late evening mass.  Now the two youngest kids have a hard time with masses at night, so this seemed to work well. For us, Christmas Eve is usually low key since our family gatherings are all on Christmas Day.

If we do continue to have a party on the 24th, I hope we can start some traditions like caroling, a small gift exchange, a little craft for the kids, or something like that. Eating together and visiting was wonderful, but I felt like something was missing. Maybe it was more that someBODY was missing with us in a physical sense. We know Beverly was having the best Christmas ever, but that doesn't keep us from wishing she was here celebrating with us and her precious family.

Some friends planned a lovely surprise though, and covered their yard in 134 poinsettia plants while they were at our house. So they went home to a beautiful Christmas surprise! Here are some photos of the evening.

I'll start with a few iPhone photos. 

I'm adding this one in because I apparently have no shame. I told the girls to clean their rooms but forgot to tell the boys. Can you believe they left their room like this when we had over 30 people over? Unbelievable.

And now some shots with my good camera.
I've been missing my regular lens that zooms in and out, so I had a hard time taking photos with the portrait lens the past few weeks. I found it on Christmas morning!

The kids were not happy that I didn't get them NEW Christmas PJs, which is their usual Christmas Eve present. This year they got ornaments. But last year's PJs seemed to fit all of them, and I could never find a matching set even though I got close to ordering some around Thanksgiving. They fit everyone but Mary Clare who has grown a lot this past year! We found some similar PJs for Katie. We had to crank up the AC because weather was in the 80s during the week of Christmas this year! Fleece pajamas weren't the best choice!

So the children got nestled all snug in their beds sometime after midnight! 
To be continued on Christmas morning...

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