We woke up on our Christmas morning (December 28th) to a white world outside!
We got our white Christmas!!
The kids woke up around 6:45am...the earliest they had ever gotten up! I was just getting out of the shower and had to really scurry to get ready, slip my pjs back on, stick breakfast in the oven really quick and race upstairs to our room before they tried sneaking down to see the tree. They were eager and waiting.
We read a couple of chapters of the Christmas story out of the easy readers just like Ammon used to do growing up. It helps remind the kids about what we are really celebrating. I treasure this time to gather everyone together before the craziness and unwrapping fury begins. Haha...we did fix their bed hair during that time too!
Then we lined up in age order, youngest to oldest, and headed down the stairs to the family room where shrieks and squeals happened. We tried something new this year and I kind of liked it. Normally we open stockings and gifts and then eat breakfast whenever we get around to it. We are normally starving by the time the wrapping is done. It sounds funny, but I don't understand what stockings represent these days. I know that in the pioneer times that's all they had for Christmas, but now...not sure why we do them...hmm.. Anyway, this year, we had the kids open their stockings first so they could really enjoy the little things like candy, chapstick, tiny dart guns, bubbletape, etc that they had received.
Then we enjoyed our traditional Christmas morning breakfast. I love this because it comes together SO fast since the monkey bread gets itself ready all night. This year I tried really hard to ask them if I could make cinnamon rolls instead, but they wouldn't have it. Hailey firmly told me General Conference is for cinnamon rolls, and Christmas is for monkey bread! ;-) Haha...so I complied and we had monkey bread, scrambled eggs, baked candied bacon (Ammon's favorite), and fresh fruit.
I have to admit that starting the gift wrapping on a full stomach was rather nice. It was a good change.
The next hour was crazy though! Our family room is so TINY now for our family, that having seven people plus gift and wrapping paper and cardboard boxes made it so cramped and hard to see everything going on. It was fun though...fun and crazy!
But the expressions were priceless...I wish I could have captured them better but everything was so fast and we were so cramped, that it was tricky. There were looks of shock and tears when Brynlee received her new jewlery box. I was so pleased! There was cheering when Ethan got a new hoody sweatshirt and we whooped and hollered and embarrassed him well with new boxers he got in the same package! There was falling over with enjoyment when Ethan got the Legos he wanted...and lots of babbling from Paisley when she opened her one gift we got her...her new rocking horse. Hailey was thrilled with her Easy Bake Oven, the one thing she had asked Santa for.
Unfortunately this year there was evening some crying with disappointment. You see, in our home, we only really do one gift from Santa per child...everything else is from Ammon and I. Ethan got his new nerf weapons, Brynlee the jewlery box, Hailey her Easy Bake oven and Karli? ALL she wanted was a gymnastics mat. That was the only gift she asked for this year and she was consistent, no matter who asked her. I found a GREAT price on one from Amazon and ordered it before Thanksgiving. TWO days before Christmas, the company emailed me and told me due to Hurricane Sandy, their warehouse couldn't ship the mat until a week following Christmas. I was so disappointed! There was no way to remedy anything by that point. We printed a picture for Karli but it was still hard to see her sadness. Once she opened her other gifts, she was ok but the best was when true to their word, the company sent her gymnastics mat six days later. We told her Santa was probably tired, and had used UPS this time.
Someone was thrilled!
And a great part? Not only did they refund us $50 but they sent this quality bean bag they sell to preschools for free to makeup for their error. Karli thought it made the perfect throne! ;-)
While we relaxed the rest of our Christmas Day with no where to be for once and I prepared our special (fancy) Christmas dinner, the kids played and enjoyed their toys. In our little bubble, it truly felt like Christmas. Some stayed in pajamas all day, a few donned their new clothes, Hailey made cookies in her Easy Bake oven and Ethan and Ammon battled for almost two hours total with swords and nerf guns. They seriously were bruised the next day. I'm glad they have each other.
And someone even tried to sneak ornaments off the tree when someone left her alone on the couch!
One of the most fun was having a baby around again. Paisley was so excited with her only gift...a rocking horse. She even knows how to say "neigh" now when you ask her what a horse says. She is still so delighted by it! She spent the rest of the morning playing with everyone's wrapping paper...
Do you love her sixth teeth that came in this month?
We enjoyed a special dinner that night...it was delicious!! We always do beef for Christmas (the kids really don't love turkey or ham that much) and tried bacon wrapped fillet mignon this year. We will probably do a different marinade next year, but is was SO good! Since there were so few of us, we didn't need much to feed everyone but we felt so decadent. Growing up, the special candle lit Christmas DAY dinner was what I looked forward to the most. That's part of my family's tradition we bring to our Christmas now. We also had twice baked potatoes, rolls, glazed carrots, Christmas jello, green bean casserole and
sparkling apple cider.
We started a new tradition of watching Mr. Kruegar's Christmas after dinner while the food settled. Then we finished the evening with our traditional dessert. Chocolate Chip Cookie Ramekins topped with vanilla ice cream. We went to bed tired, full and content that night.
Perhaps it was the little things I enjoyed the most this year...even being pregnant again. Having Ammon home for a week was HEAVEN! Ordering 75% of Christmas through Amazon was a dream too...loved it...I only had to go to three stores to finish Christmas shopping and UPS delivered the rest! I taught each of the four oldest kids how to wrap this year and while it was cumbersome at first, they LOVED it and started signing the gifts they wrapped for each other, FROM each of them. It was funny to read the tags because you knew which child had wrapped it depending on who it was "from". ;-) I enjoyed seeing how the wrapping got better and better over the month, although the tape usage was a bit horrendous!
I also loved how grateful the kids were for clothes this year...yes, clothes! Normally I buy them new clothes in the fall and it's not really that big of a deal. This year, we used everything from last year so by the time Christmas rolled around, they desperately needed things. Most of their Christmas this year was clothes not toys (especially since we have SO many toys and we're moving) and they were thrilled about it. That was such a treat to see them excited about things they actually needed. I too saved things like a new make up bag I needed for Christmas when normally I would have just given it to myself in November since mine was ripped. Needing instead of just wanting was a good change. We appreciated things so much more.
But perhaps what I loved the most this year, were the homemade gifts. Normally, we've let the kids go out and buy something for each other, which has been sweet. We've even drawn names. This year though, we are so much more focused on saving money and the kids don't have that much to their names anyway...even with their weekly allowance. We encouraged each of them this year, instead of spending their hard earned money, to MAKE gifts or cards for each other to express their love.
I was so completely awed by what they came up with and I think we'll continue this in the future. Out came special projects they had each made at school or activity days.. Ammon and I loved them! In the days preceding Christmas you could hear tape being ripped and questions of "Mom?? How do you spell special or handsome, etc?" Brynlee for instance, asked for the tiny jingle bells and my scrap ribbon so she could make bracelets for each person. Karli divided up her three candy canes she had gotten into pieces and taped them on her cards. Hailey used her love of drawing fonts to make fun cards for everyone. It was touching to see how creative they each were.
It's these little things I know will change as they age and grow and the things I will miss the most as Christmas pass in the future. I think making gifts for each other will be something we will keep from now on and a personal way to show love for each other and good to teach them to save their money as well. It will be fun to see how the gifts change as they mature and their talents deepen over the years.
Hailey's scene she made in school and Brynlee's clay project from Activity Days.
The load of cards and "gifts" the kids made and created.
And finally a few last images from December...
Everyone's ornament for 2012 was a Liberty Bell from Philadelphia. I picked up one for each of us while on our big trip in October as a rememberance of our trip. More on that trip next week.
Love these darling kiddos of ours!
And this handsome guy too...
Dressed for church in our Christmas best...thankfully everyone but Paisley fit in their outfits from last year!
And our beloved blue house...although cramped and small and driving me bonkers, I know I'll miss this little house the most next year. Ammon has decorated the outside so beautiful each year (we missed our lit deer that finally burnt out and died last year) and has made our pointed roof small home feel like the best dressed little gingerbread house. I stood outside last night and soaked up the view from the street....yep...I will miss this little house of ours the most.
And finally I'm done...Merry Christmas to all! Time to bring on 2013!