Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Celebrations - very long with pictures

My mom arrived late Wednesday night to spend Christmas with us. Joel worked on Thursday, then got a half day off on Friday. Our wonderful friends, Jim and Pam, came over on Friday for some lunch and hanging out.
Pam even brought the lunch with her! She made a delicious calzone-type filling with chicken and then had the kids help her use crescent rolls to form the "wreath" of yumminess.

It was nice to have a relaxing and festive lunch with our family. Pam and Jim are our kids' "Texas grandparents" and spoil them rotten. It's such a blessing to have older adults in our lives to dote on our kids, but also encourage, lead, and challenge Joel and me. The day was especially sweet for me as my mom was here with us too!
This is to prove I was there. They also brought gifts for the kids.Jett was a little interested in opening his gift...a soft book with rattles on it.
Rylee LOVED her new chapter book! And, the twins liked their books about character.I was playing with the flash on my Nikon, trying to soften it. Then, Jett got very interested in being the subject.Christmas Eve was spent in jammies wrapping gifts (for me), cutting blocks of wood and making a last-minute gift (for Joel), and playing with Nana (for all our kids). Joel's cousin, Chris, arrived in the early afternoon. Then, we headed to church for the 4:30 service.
We enjoyed going to Olive Garden for Christmas Eve dinner. It was a delicious treat for all of us! The kids discovered a love for OG this summer.
I forgot to take pics during our dining experience, so I snapped a few shots as we were preparing to head home (yep, a few were in the loo).
Christmas morning brought squeals of delight!
Our kids open their stockings first. Well, first they ran to look at all the gifts that had been placed around the Christmas tree!
Then, they went to unload their stockings.Jett wasn't interested in his own stocking, but he liked exploring the contents of Asa and Jenna's.I didn't film our annual hunt for baby Jesus because I was feeding Jett. But, once the kids found all the figurines for our 6 nativity sets and Jesus was, indeed, in the manger, we read about the birth of Christ in Luke chapter 2. Then...we shared presents!The kids helped bring the gifts from the front living room back to the respective recipient in the back living room. We took turns going around watching the kids open each gift. I really liked how it helped them focus on who gave each one and really checking it out before tearing into their next package.
One of my absolute favorite parts of Christmas morning is watching the kids open the gifts they got from their siblings. The giver is usually just as excited as the one receiving!In this case, Rylee was thrilled that Jenna and Asa picked out the jewelry box she had been asking for!
Jett got a few wrapped gifts, but he had the most fun emptying the used paper from a big box we put it in.
Jenna has been asking for a pair of binoculars since we used a set while camping back in May. She was beyond excited that our church family in Pennsylvania would send her some for Christmas! And, I love to hear her say "binoclears" just slightly wrong.
Asa had a completely Star Wars and Lego Christmas. He got seven sets of Legos and loved every single tiny piece!
Asa also got this giant "tinkertoy" set. It's wood corner pieces and pvc pipes that he can configure into a tent of his choosing. Then, you throw a sheet over it and ta-da have a fort!
I finally put the camera away and stopped taking pictures of everyone opening gifts. I wanted to enjoy the moment and figured the photos end up looking pretty much the same anyway.
We went to church (which I absolutely loved, by the way). I think we should have a church service EVERY Christmas Day. I mean, hello?! What exactly are we celebrating? It was splendid.Sharing the joy with friends is always fun!After going to church and having lunch, the kids pulled out their new gadgets and got busy.They also enjoyed some time in front of various screens.We gave Uncle Chris a picture frame with the kids' handprints. This photo will go in the middle.
And, Nana was busy filming the excitement, reading with kiddos (that's her and Rylee above), helping care for Jett, and cooking. We all agreed her visit was way too short!
And, seriously. I am blessed. Just look at this handsome man who loves Jesus and his family and is this good lookin' to boot!

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