Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas Eve

After celebrating our little family Christmas on Christmas Eve morning, we had the rest of the day to just relax. Well, Eric worked after we opened up the presents, but the kids got to just hang out and play with their new toys until it was time to go to church.

Since we were visiting Eric's family on Christmas morning and then hosting my family in the afternoon, rather than cooking a big dinner at home, we went to our favorite Thai/Chinese restaurant, which happens to be right by the church and placed an order, then drove around the lake and looked at Christmas lights until the food was ready while singing the Christmas songs that came on the radio.

When I was growing up, my dad always made a treasure hunt for us-starting with easy clues that took us around the house when we were little, and eventually elaborate adventures around town when I got my driver's license. We would have to make phone calls, recite silly poems to neighbors and 7-11 employees, etc until we finally found the prize. The prize was always matching Christmas pajamas so we'd look cute on Christmas, but we looked forward to it every year anyway because of the fun of the clues.

It was definitely a tradition I wanted to keep going with my kids, but we're getting to a number of kids where it doesn't make sense to buy brand new pajamas for everyone every year, I'd rather spend that money on other things-adorable pajamas for 4 kids is not cheap! So this year we started a new tradition. I bought red and green pajamas at the kid's resale shop, none of them match but they're all red and green. Next year I'll just have to buy red and green pajamas for Jeb and Vivi (oldest boy and girl) and the younger ones will wear hand-me-downs.

Then I needed a special prize for the end of the treasure hunt. I decided to get Christmas treats. So this year, each kid found a traditional Christmas treat at the end of the hunt-eggnog, chestnuts, and one of those chocolate oranges that you bang to break into slices. Then we got the snacks ready, made a big bowl of popcorn, and curled up on the couch together to watch VeggieTales: Saint Nicholas, which tells the story of the actual Saint Nicholas and talks about giving and loving. There's a great part in the movie where Nicholas talks to a nun who is handing out loaves of bread, and asks her if she gives because it makes her happy, and she says "No, I give because I AM happy" and talks about God's love for us and the gift of His son. It's probably my favorite VeggieTales movie.

Here are a couple of pictures from the evening.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Eric and I were up and excited before the kids, we had to coax them out of bed! We did stockings first, which were little things like chapstick, pencils, new toothbrushes, and this cheap pair of heaphones I got for Jeb at Five Below that made his day!

Another new tradition we started is having the kids help us pass out presents instead of having them parked in their spots the whole time. We started with Journey, and went up by age order to pick out a present, read the tag, and pass it out. The kids really enjoyed finding out whose present they picked.

"Why did you give me wood??"


The kids had fallen in love with the book Cupcake by Charise Mericle Harper when we got it from the library a couple of months ago. They loved it so much that we used up all of our renewals on it, and then we decided to leave it at the library for other kids to discover. Then we ordered it for Journey's 'something you read'. She opened it up and just saw a tiny part of the back cover and recognized it. This picture shows her mid-gasp, and it's one of my favorite pictures of the day!

Remember the picture I posted of the suspiciously same-sized gifts Eric and I bought? Yep, we bought each other Keurigs. Our coffee pot was a gift the year we got married and has started going on the fritz lately, so we had discussed getting a Keurig or just a regular coffee pot, and then both of us pretended that we didn't really need a new one yet while secretly planning to get it for each other.

Jeb got Eric a new lighter, since ours is really finicky. It was a thoughtful gift that he came up with on his own.

I just love her surprised faces! After all of her presents, she kept saying "Oooh! Thank you everyone! Merry Christmas!!!"

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We 'mustache' what you think of our mustaches!

Making good use of a long day in the car running errands

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Twas the night before Christas...sort of

For a number of reasons, we decided to start a new tradition in our family. Our own little family Christmas is now on Christmas Eve day. It worked out better than I expected it to, and was much more relaxed for everyone to just have the whole day to spend together at home. So, on Christmas Eve Eve, we put the kids in their Christmas pajamas, and let them sleep in our room. Eric and I put on some Christmas music, poured some wine, and wrapped all their gifts together. present for Eric (in blue) and Eric's present for me (in pink) are suspiciously the same size...

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Hanukkah was early this year, falling on Thanksgiving and during our Disney trip, so we celebrated with our family a litte bit late. Latkes are always worth the wait though!

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