This was probably my favorite Christmas morning so far, even counting the ones when I was a kid and rushing down the stairs to see exactly what Santa had brought me.
This has been the first year that Bailey has really gotten it.
And by it I mean Santa. And presents. And magical reindeer food.
And since Bailey finally understood, she made sure to talk to Avery about it incessantly, so Avery seemed to get it too.
Jared arrived home from work Christmas morning and the girls took off for stairs. They immediately remembered that Santa came the night before and left some presents for them under the tree.
Can you sense Bailey's excitement?
Can you also tell we have a 13 month-old in the house?
No ornaments on the bottom half of the tree.
And only bite-mark-resistant ones on the rest of it.
Eat your heart out, Better Homes and Gardens!
Christmas morning was fun. And it took FOREVER! The girls just kept pausing to admire or play with their gifts. They were just so excited about everything.
"Kit-Kat! I love Kit-Kats" *hugs candy bar*
Pretty sure she has never even had one before.
"A book?! YES!" *hugs book*
"Look, Mom! New underwear!" *hugs underwear*
(Remember how she asked Santa for underwear?)
Their excitement for the littlest of things was sweet and just so innocent. They were excited for underwear for Pete's sake!
I want my kids to appreciate Christmas for what it is - not a time for mile-long wish lists, crowded stores, and overspending - but a time to reflect on the reason for the season. (Corny but true.) A time to spend some carefree days with those we love.
Every year when December hits, the media is constantly giving advice on how to avoid certain family members or deflect uncomfortable dinner conversation over the Christmas holiday.
Thank God I don't have that to worry about.I am grateful that I don't have to utilize any special psychology methods to diffuse stressful situations at holiday gatherings.
We just have fun.
Don't get me wrong, I have blood relatives that I don't want to see, so we don't. And it isn't a big deal for me. We spent the holidays with the people we wanted to spend them with - minus Jared's family that is so far away.
I think that plays a large role in keeping Christmas stress-free for us. The only real stress we experienced was the hustle and bustle of shuffling kids around to different places and extra whining due to missed naps.
We celebrated Christmas early at my parents' house this year. And instead of the traditional Christmas spread - which we had two days later on Christmas Day - we made pizzas. Everybody chipped in - kneading crust, adding toppings, and baking them up. We weren't stuffed to the gills like usual and had much more time for sitting around opening gifts and laughing instead of worrying about loads of dishes.
One of these days I will have all three children content for a picture at the same time.
It will happen.
We went to the Christmas Eve church service.
We took all the usual in-front-of-the-tree pictures.
We soaked in the amazement of our toddlers on Christmas morning.
Christmas afternoon was spent with my other grandparents - Ronnie and Joyce.
And prime rib.
(And even more prime rib.)
My grandma Joyce has had a rough year.
She was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer this past July. After surgery, a long recovery, and chemotherapy ever since, she has been a fighter. She just finished her last treatment a week before Christmas, and things look good right now. So this Christmas was a little extra special, more reflecting on the important stuff and cherishing those people we can sometimes take for granted.
I guess that about sums it up.
The only other thing that needs said: If you are debating buying a 125-piece play food set for your children, DON'T.
Cheap, cheap, and cheap are the words that come to mind.
Oh yeah, and regret.
The kids (and the puppy) love it, but Mama definitely does not.
I hope all of you had a happy, relatively-stress-free holiday, too!