Saturday, December 26, 2015

christmas eve celebrations

Ok, moving on to Christmas!
This year on the 23rd we headed to Ga Ga and Papa's house to celebrate with them! 
Mom always makes everything special- snacks the kids love, and she makes a special dinner.  It's something we always did as a family when I was a kid, too.  Then we would open our presents from just each other.  It is something I looked forward to every year, and now my kids can't wait to go to Ga Ga and Papa's too!
The best little visitors stopped by!  We were so excited Mary and Nash were here from South Carolina.  We had missed them!
We were so happy to see them and have them join us for dinner.
 Then before bed the kids always talk Ga Ga into letting them open one present.
Ga Ga made an "oops" and accidentally let Andrew open one of his that should have been opened after something else.  I'm sure that's never happened to anyone else!  Ha!  He was excited, but confused.  
Before bed they played with their gifts... and had ice cream.  Because, why not?  Ha!
Then once the kids are in bed, the adults exchange gifts and we always have the best time with lots of laughs!  It is seriously one of my favorite things ever.  Not getting presents (although my mom and Jim definitely spoil us!) but just watching everyone open, visiting, laughing at the joke gifts (usually from Craig!) and being together.
Craig came home one afternoon with this for my mom and he was chuckling to himself.  Not very often do we find things that say Ga Ga! (Unless it has to do with Lady Ga Ga!  Ha!)
My mom found this for me, which was reason for more laughter!  I laughed and laughed.  There is nothing that is more "me!"  She knows me well.  Ha!
Then Jim and mom found this for Craig- more laughs!  Ha!  We just had the best time.
Then in the morning the kids woke up excited and ready to open gifts from Ga Ga and Papa!  They like to have their own little "Christmas morning" at their house.
Do you think they are spoiled?
Finally... the anticipated game to go with his gift from the night before!  He was so thrilled!
I have started feeling out of the loop this year with not knowing what some of the new toys are!  I had never heard of Little Charmers but they were high on Kerigan's list!
She is really into art and had seen these princess stamps- a perfect gift for her!
She loved this cheerleader outfit from Papa!
You can see she kept it on the rest of the day!  Ha!
She had been wanting this Fur Real friends unicorn.  She was so happy to get it from Ga Ga!
Thank you hugs!
And the kids gave Papa and Ga Ga their gifts... they got a Shutterfly calendar with pictures of the kids!  
Then Papa always makes the best pancakes and we all enjoy them!

After breakfast we packed up and headed home.  It was starting to SNOW!  It hadn't snowed the whole season and we were so bummed.  So when it started snowing on Christmas Eve day, we were so happy and surprised it was going to be a white Christmas after all!
We made it home and got things ready to host Christmas Eve at our house this year with my dad's side of the family.  We were so thankful that everyone made it safely.  The snow stopped in time to get the roads clear so everyone could come!
Lucy's sweet mama made these AMAZING Disney Christmas cookies.  I was reminiscing about our Disney trip last year, so these helped me get through the fact we weren't going this year!  Ha!
I mean, how adorable are they!?
More yummy treats!  Don't you just love snacking on sweets for days?  Ha! 
My sweet mama and I, slaving away in the kitchen!  Ha ha.
We had delicious ham, homemade rolls, baked beans and macaroni and cheese casserole!  Yum!
This picture is so sweet to me.  I grew up with my niece and nephew- they were like a brother and sister to me.  We are 7-8 years apart but still all had kids around the same time.  It is so fun for me to watch our kids now play and grow up together too.
I think this is my favorite picture all season- Nash entertaining everyone, standing on his present!  Ha!  His Great Grandpa Bill would be proud!
Christmas chaos- gift opening.  The kind of craziness I love!
Andrew loves this little guy to pieces.  He thinks he's his brother!
My beautiful niece Mary and sweet Nash!  What can we do to get them to live closer!?  SC is just too far.  But it does give us a good excuse to make an annual summer road trip!
Peek a Boo!
After everyone left, Ga Ga and Papa spent the night and we took the kids outside to sprinkle their reindeer dust!  Such a fun and magical tradition.  We were so happy it snowed- the night before this would have been dust sprinkled on brown grass!  Ha!  It's just not the same without sparkling in the snow!
Then in recent years we have loved tracking Santa on the iPad.  I never want to forget the excitement from especially Andrew on this night.  I am savoring every single year... because let's face it, he's going to be 9.  I just want to cling to these years with all my might because they are the most special, magical evenings we spend together.  Believing something without seeing.  It's so amazing.  Don't worry, we don't forget the real reason for the celebrations.  But while they are this age, the magic of Santa still surrounds us.
We read "The Night Before Christmas" and the Christmas Story from the Jesus Storybook Bible.
Elf Buddy brought the kids a new Santa plate this year, since when we moved our other one broke.  This one is so special, Buddy even painted their names on it!
Then they each picked a cookie for Santa and we set it by the fireplace!  As soon as they were nestled all snug in their beds...
... Santa came!
(1:00 am... Santa was tired!)

And to all a goodnight!  

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