Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas this year was wonderful. We spent Christmas Eve with my dad, grandma, my brother Jamie and his wife Amy and our little niece Maya. We ate good food and exchanged gifts. There was a fire in the fireplace, Polar Express in the Blu-ray and Twas the Night Before Christmas being read by Greg. Very magical. :) It was fun watching and listening to our niece Maya... she was so excited for Santa to visit. Christmas is so fun when there is a little one involved.

Maya was pretty pumped about her Strawberry Shortcake dolls.

We bought Amy a bottle of wine called "Mommy's Time Out"... we thought it was a cute name. Besides, with all the sugar Maya was eating she may need it. :)

My dad transferred home movies of my mom over to DVD for my brother Jamie and I... it is a huge gift to be able to hear my mom's voice and to watch video of her smiling and laughing. A very precious gift.

Maya spent some time with our Christmas break house guests....

This wooden horse Maya is riding is the wooden horse Nick made in school... he is so proud of it and he should be because he did a great job making it. He plans to give it to his kids someday... sniff sniff... so sweet.

Uncle Greg and Maya wrestle time...

Greg and Maya are deep in conversation about Christmas and lumps of coal...

The kids always have one gift to open from us each year on Christmas eve... amazingly enough they seem to always get new PJ's. :)

Leslie and Nicholas allowed me to take pictures of them reading Twas the Night Before Christmas with dad.

they had to be smarty pants about it though ......

They play nice and get serious about it when Maya joins them.

They even allowed me to give them their "special" medicine to help them sleep so Santa could visit (it is spiced apple cider.... I don't really drug my children). :) When they were younger they believed it was a special magical potion straight from the North Pole to help them go to sleep so Santa would visit their house first. They get 1 teaspoon for every year of their age. Les just asks me to pour it into a glass for her now... Nick however took all 14 teaspoons full. :) Now it is just a joke but still fun to play along.

There is something about sitting in the front room after the kids have gone to bed, with the Christmas tree lit and the presents all aglow awaiting the excitement of Christmas morning.

It is quiet and I feel somewhat reverent; I wonder what it must have felt like for Mary anticipating of the birth of her baby boy, the Messiah. I realize Jesus was not born on December 25th, however because this is the date we choose to celebrate his birth it is very moving for me to think of Him during this quiet time just before going to bed.

Christmas brings warmth and love to my heart each year. I have fond memories of Christmas as a child growing up spending time with family on Christmas Eve. We would all go out to eat and then exchange gifts. I was always excited to open my gift and I didn't care what it was..... I was just happy to open one gift before Christmas morning. We would then go to my Grandma's houses for dinner the next day. We would eat 2 Christmas dinners with both sides of the family and it was always full of good food, laughter, cousins and chaos.

Today Christmas brings a new kind of excitement to my heart. Sharing Christmas with my children is beyond words and I am so blessed to have been given this gift. As they grow older the magic of Santa slowly fades, but the magic of Christ grows brighter and the laughter continues to echo in our home each year. Laughter is God's gift to us during the hustle bustle of holiday shopping, running to Christmas parties, wrapping presents and really doing all the stuff that doesn't matter. We hold Christmas day sacred in our home.... we relax, eat, laugh and enjoy each other's company. It is a day for fun, smiles, love and togetherness. Sometimes we never get out of our PJ's.

I have to admit I allowed the hustle bustle to interfere with my enjoyment of this Christmas season. I didn't make time to enjoy the lights or festivities. We rushed through our shopping, barely got Christmas cards out on time and before we realized it Christmas Eve was here upon us. I slammed on the brakes and took a deep breath and said "Christmas is here, the birth of our savior..... I will not allow stress to creep in on this time." To my shocking surprised it actually worked. I felt a great peace come over me and Christmas Eve and Christmas day was extremely relaxing.

Stocking stuffers are the best.....

Greg wore this hat all day long.... no seriously.... ALL DAY LONG.. I started calling him Minnie Pearl from Hee Haw because he left the tag on too.

Murphy LOVED Christmas... he loved all the paper and presents.

Grandma received a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas because the last one we got her broke.... Kitchen Aid we know will last for a while.

.....and a sweatshirt in her favorite color.

Leslie received tons and tons of clothes ... she was in heaven. (she picked them all out from Forever 21 and I wrapped them so she would have something to open Christmas morning)

Nick with his annual Lego set...

Every year at the end of all the crazy present opening there ends up being "one more gift" that mysteriously was over looked and didn't get opened. It ends up being the kids "big" gift of the morning. The gift is wrapped in chains and has a lock on it with a clue. They have to follow the clues around the house to find the key to the lock in order to open their presents. It is always fun to watch them read the clues and try to figure out the riddle. This year Nick's gift was the Xbox headset he was asking for. They put him in stereo mode in his game and he can hear his opponents sneaking up on him. Leslie's gifts were an hour massage gift certificate, gift certificate to the movies and to Chipotle for hanging out with friends. Both kids seemed very happy with their gifts.

Nick received a new pellet shotgun from my dad... he loved it.

One of Greg's gift from my dad was some kind of special bullets which he was pretty pumped about... notice he is still wearing the hat.

Grandma got a gift certificate from my dad after he had already purchased her a garage door opener...she was surprised he bought her more.

I again was shown how good things come in small packages... I love Victoria Secrets. :)

My dad's gifts were centered around his trip to Canada this next year.
He was given a sleep pad to place under his sleeping bag to help insulate him from the cold, hard ground.

He was given a water proof first aid kit for his trip too. It came with water proof matches and all kinds of stuff you may need out in the middle of no where.

He also got a multipurpose cup for his trip. He can eat out of it, cook in it and also use it as a cup to drink out of. Leslie has one of these and she really likes it.

Anthony joined us too.

Chris, Greg's dad, made us a really cool bird house. He made it from scratch and we cannot wait to use it. It is something we will always cherish and think of him every time we look at it.

(Minni Pearl still wearing the hat.)

We call Greg's mom Diane our sock monkey. She purchases socks for us all year long. Not just any sock, but Eco Socks. We love them and we look forward to our sock monkey deliveries. Because she is our sock monkey we bought her sock monkey gifts for Christmas.

Coffee maker... mmmmmm

More Stocking stuffers.....

Chris and his loot....(we bought him a Bah Humbug beer... last year we bought him a Lump of Coal beer. He now is collecting them and chooses not to open them).

Chris is really excited about his toothpaste stocking stuffer.

We had Christmas dinner at our place Christmas Day. Greg's mom and dad and my dad and Grandma joined us. Good food and good conversation is a great combination on Christmas day.

So much more was given and received... this was our Christmas in a nut shell and I pray your Christmas was as blessed as ours. Merry Christmas from our house to yours.