Monday, December 30, 2013

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I had to stop and remind myself the kids were excited when Kerigan came in our room at 6am ready to go downstairs.  Andrew was sleeping with Ga Ga and Papa in the basement and I didn't hear them yet (and seriously, it was still dark out), so I went down and got Kerigan some muffins and the portable DVD player to try to hold her off with "Tangled" until Andrew woke up.  We nestled her in bed between us and I was just starting to fall back to sleep when I heard Andrew charging up the stairs at full speed and burst open the basement door.
It was 6:09am.
I could not hold them off.  I think Kerigan would have been happy for a while longer, but when she saw Andrew it was all over.  They love to do their stockings first so I bribed them to sit and smile for one picture, as I'm still trying to adjust my eyes and not feel like I'd been hit by a truck after just hitting the hay around 2am.
The rest of the morning pretty much went like this.  I love how they are sitting back to back and digging in.  I could not keep up with picture taking.  They were both going full speed and taking no breaks in between.  I tried to get them to slow down with no luck.
Most anticipated gift of this year.  At the top of his Santa list.
Along with more Skylanders characters (bet you can't guess what his birthday theme is this year??)
Seriously, the house looked like this about 10 minutes after they started.  And it was all over before 7am.  We kept telling them if they went so fast there wouldn't be anything else to open, but they were on a serious mission.
Happy with her Belle and Cinderella "barbies."
After she had opened everything, she then started to play with it all.  I love how she sat here and read this princess treasury book.  She poured over every page and showed us every princess.
One of her favorite presents- Ariel!
She had asked and asked for a "baby" like this from Santa.  Her big girl friends Emily and Grace each have an American Girl doll that she is obsessed with when she goes to their house.  It's the first thing she wants when she walks in their house and she won't put it down the whole time we are there.  She calls them "babies," even though they look more grown up.  I debated and debated about getting her a real American Girl doll but ultimately decided she was still too young.  She has the AG Bitty Baby, which she adores and is perfect for her age.  At the last minute I found this at Target and it looks so similar I knew she'd never know the difference.  And I want to do the AG thing with her in a few more years when she's old enough to understand and appreciate it more.  The funny thing is, she has not been interested in this doll at all!  I am so glad I didn't spend all that money on the real thing!  Her bitty baby is still her favorite.
Andrew's exceptional ninja kick!  Ha!  Playing a game from his stocking.
She loved her Rapunzel tower!
And she got an amulet (yes, she's 2 and knows what an amulet is), and earrings to match her Sofia digs.  Pajama change #1.
We took a break from playing around 8 to eat a yummy brunch I made.  Egg bake, cinnamon rolls and cheesy potatoes.  After this, Craig cleaned up and I literally crashed on the couch for the remainder of the morning.  I say this every year, but Christmas Day is like my one day off a year (and maybe my birthday), where I refuse to clean anything and just sit and relax all day.  I literally NEVER sit down until at least 9pm or 10pm every night (I'm sure most moms can relate!) and I just love Christmas because I feel okay with sitting and taking it all in!  And more than anything, I love being home, and staying in pj's all day and not having to go anywhere.  And it's a bonus if it snows, which it did.
After my extended morning nap, we had round 2 of gift opening- this time presents from mommy and daddy.
Daddy got Kerigan a Dora glove and she was so excited about it!  She wanted to go outside and play catch.  In the snow.  And in case you are counting, this is Kerigan's 3rd pair of Pj's for the day!  Ha!  Every time she opens a pair she has to put them on.  She just loves pj's, but only ones with characters on them!  And I am loving that she is super girly yet still loves to play catch and get dirty!
I surprised my boys with a marshmallow shooter, which offered tons of afternoon fun!  
Really the gift was more for Craig.  Because he loves this kind of thing!  It doesn't take much to please him.  Ha!
Daddy and Andrew enjoying Skylanders Swap Force on the Wii U.

After more lounging and watching the kids play, we had a yummy dinner of left over beef stew and all of us bundled up and went to see the movie Frozen.
It is the perfect Christmas movie.
Andrew and I had gone a few weeks ago and I hadn't wanted to take Kerigan then, because she has been kind of a mess at movies lately and I wanted to be able to concentrate and watch it without interruptions.  But I loved it SO much, I just knew she would sit through it and I had to take her.  I wanted Craig and my mom to see it too and we all loved it.  Kerigan was mesmerized and sat through the entire thing without moving.  It was even better the second time.  I'd have to say it is probably one of my most favorite Disney movies of all time.

This is what Christmas is all about.  Joy.  The hope and peace and love that only comes from Jesus.  A baby born in a manger on December 25.  A baby born for us.
What an amazing gift.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

christmas eve celebrations

At the last minute we decided to go to my mom's the day before Christmas Eve and have a celebration at her and Papa's new house.  We had planned on me hosting Christmas Eve this year for my side of the family, because my mom's house just wasn't ready for entertaining that many guests.  But I think we both kind of hated the thought of not celebrating at her house, so we threw something simple together last minute!  This is the view walking in their front door.  It is so warm and cozy and I just love their new home.
The kids absolutely love going to Ga Ga and Papa's new house!  They were so excited.
We had a delicious dinner- my mom made my favorite, beef stew.  The kids begged to open one present each, to which my mom could not say no!  Ha!  Then she and the kids and I frosted the sugar cookies we had made at our house earlier in the week.
Kerigan loved doing this!  She spent so much time spreading the frosting and putting the sprinkles on.  Then she wanted to eat her cookie!
The kids definitely made this somewhat tedious activity a lot more fun!
Andrew was so proud of his cookies.  He did a really good job with them this year!  He took his time and worked so hard on each one.  And he didn't want to eat them because I think he liked his decorating so much!
Andrew's cookies
The next morning the kids opened their presents from Ga Ga and Papa.  They spoiled them so much, as usual!
Kerigan is obsessed with pajamas and she loves robes too so my mom wanted to get her one with her very favorite character, Sofia the First!  She was in heaven!
Pj's and slippers to match!  She seriously will only wear Pj's with a character on them these days.  I had such cute ones for her, especially for Christmas morning gift openings, and she will wear them for a little while but I knew the second she opened these the others would come off!
She also got this amazing pram from Pottery Barn Kids for her babies.  She will just love pushing them around in this!  She was so excited!
Andrew was thrilled that Ga Ga knows he loves Skylanders!  He got the ones he was wanting the most and was so excited.
This snowman from "Frozen" is his favorite character right now.  He was so happy when he opened him!
As Papa was making pancakes Andrew was setting all of his toys out from Ga Ga and Papa- ha!  I guess he wanted them to join him instead of us!
He settled with sharing a chair with Olaf.
Papa makes the best pancakes, they were so yummy!  We are so glad we got to celebrate in their new home for the first time.  After breakfast we packed up and headed back home because I had a ton to do for Christmas Eve!  I was so excited to host it in our new home!
I never take as many pictures as I intend to!  But this is my sweet niece, Mary.  She and I are 7 years apart and she and her brother were always like my little sister and brother growing up.  We grew up right down the street from each other and I love her and her brother so much.  Mary has moved to South Carolina now and is expecting a baby boy in June!  We are so excited for her and Justin.  It was so fun to go through Andrew's special baby clothes that I had saved and send a garbage bag full home with her!  She is Andrew's Godmother too. We hadn't seen her in 2 years since she didn't make it home last Christmas.
Kerigan loved Justin!  She wanted him to dance with her all night!
Then she made the rounds to Uncle Tim!
This is probably one of my most favorite pictures ever.  Since our dad passed away, Tim reminds my mom and I so much of him.  They have the same mannerisms and look so much alike.  We love spending time with Tim and Cindy and our kids enjoy them so much.  The way Kerigan is looking at him just melts my heart.  Since my kids never got to meet my dad, this is the next best thing!
Mary with Kerigan
And just for fun- this was them 2 years ago on Christmas Eve!  She couldn't believe how much Kerigan had changed!
Buddy the elf had mixed up their magic reindeer food for them to sprinkle on the lawn, so we went outside before bed.
They were both really into this.  Andrew was really thinking about where he wanted to sprinkle it, and he spread it out in several different places.
Kerigan pretty much dumped her whole bag in one place and said "Look mommy!"
There is just something so magical about doing this.  I love it so much.
When they came in they wanted some hot chocolate and a cookie before bed while they picked out Santa's cookies.
Daddy read "Twas the Night Before Christmas..."
And they had to track Santa one more time on the iPad.  They had fun doing this most of the evening.  When I was a kid I would have loved doing this!  Isn't it amazing to think about how much technology has changed in our lifetime?  
We left the cookies out for Santa!  My favorite Santa cookie plate was the only thing that broke during our move.  I was kind of sad about it because I loved it.  But I am excited to get them a new one for next year.  I have already started looking for the perfect one!
This just makes me laugh.  After the kids were in bed we opened presents with mom and Jim.  My mom was so exhausted from moving and unpacking and wrapping all the stuff for the kids that she never even got Craig's gifts wrapped- Ha!  Poor Craig!  It was super funny, and the truth is Craig could care less about getting any presents at all so he was totally fine with it.  Ha!
I seriously am excited about the year that I can actually have everything wrapped and ready to bring upstairs before Christmas Eve.  As much as I love it, there is a part of me that just wants to cuddle up with hot chocolate and watch "A Christmas Story" marathon!  Ha!  I did have most things done, but had a few last minute gifts to wrap and set up. Santa brought the kids and I an iPad mini, which I had fun playing with until about 1am!  I wanted to get all the apps for the kids in folders so they thought Santa did it.  I think it was about 2am before the stockings were stuffed and everything was set out for the morning.  I honestly love playing Santa.  It's that "magic" thing again that gets me every time.  The wonder and joy on the kids faces, and the fact that neither of them ever question how these things magically happen or that it could be daddy and mommy doing it.  I am treasuring these years because I know they will fly by.

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