Our Christmases craziness (and I mean that in the absolute best way possible) began the weekend before.
- On the 19th we all gathered at my mom and dad's to celebrate with my dad's side of the family (Brian, Danielle, Scott, Jenni, Grandma, great uncle, great aunt, second (3rd?) cousin, Aunt, Uncle, cousins Chandra, Darryl and Brylee, Colin, and Colby). We ate soup and snacks, opened presents, and just hung out. God bless them for making the long, quick trip! Apparently, I didn't take any pictures, so I'll add them when I get them from my mom.
- That evening we did our big Christmas with J's family. This is one of my absolute favorite memories. Every Christmas is the same: eat, sort through the MOUNTAIN (and I'm not being dramatic!) of presents, open, laugh, try on gifts, play with gifts, laugh some more, hang out. I married in to a pretty awesome family and that's all there is to it. And I'd still say that even if they wouldn't have bought me the caaauuuutest pair of Uggs ever. And yes, I wear them with skinny jeans. Once again, I was totally slacking with my camera and I don't have any pictures to document the fun. For shame, Missy!
- On Sunday after church we very carefully made our way to my grandparent's house to celebrate with them and my mom's brother and his family. In years past we have always had our Christmas with them on Christmas afternoon, but since we were going to be leaving for our trip this year we decided to have it early. And I can honestly say, I LOVED it! It was so nice to be rested and not rushed.
- Tuesday morning before Christmas was spent with 3 of my BFF's. A tradition that once started as a progressive dinner, has now evolved into a much easier and efficient non-progressive brunch. Ang was gracious enough to host and do the picture taking this year. So, here are just a couple, courtesy of the soon-to-be mama of two. Thanks, Ang!
- Christmas Eve we all bundled up and braved the snow for the first-annual Christmas Eve candle light service at our new Christian Life Center. It was wonderful -- relatively quiet and well-behaved children, good message, awesome crowd, and no one burned down the building. Candles + my monkeys = potential trouble!
- Our after church tradition is appetizers and gifts at my mom and dad's. This year we all got a VERY special surprise...my brother, Brian asked Danielle to marry him! Woo-hoo! I'm getting a sister-in-law! Danielle is the perfect match for Bri and they're both incredibly lucky to have one another. I'm sure there will be much wedding talk blogged about in the future. Stay tuned.
If you're still with me, we are finally to Christmas day!
- J began the morning by snow blowing, while I made Cinnamon rolls and continued packing. The kids woke up around 9:00 and we all just sat around opening presents, playing, eating, and enjoying each other's company.
Yep, that's snow blowing sweat on J's shirt. Yummy.
Addi in her beauty salon that she asked Santa for.
This year I took Addi to the Dollar Store and let her pick out whatever she wanted for her brother, sister, and Daddy. This gift for Elijah is the VERY first thing we saw when we walked in the store. She picked it up and said, "Oh Mom, Eli would LOVE this!" It's a musical Christmas tie. She was right. He loved it. And she was one proud sister. And, in case you're wondering, she bought Camden a stick horse that she (Addi) had been wanting for a looong time and said "I'm sure Cam will share with me!" :) Finally, she picked out a pair of protective work goggles for J. Guess that's what you get for the guy that has everything!
- FINALLY, Christmas afternoon was spent with all of J's family in town. I didn't take any pictures. Again. But it was a ton of fun. And our kids were spoiled. Again.
Well, not really. If you're interested, I hope to do a quick (yeah right!) vacation recap tomorrow. It was a *magical* trip and I DID bring my camera, so let that be your warning.
If you're still reading -- congrats! You've been nominated for blog reader of the year award. Mom, that's you! :)