Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas with Momma & Daddy!

Christmas at our own home is really special, and it's so wonderful that we get to open our presents with just our little family...something I wouldn't trade for the world!
On the Sunday before Christmas I did insist on a timed photo in front of the tree--mainly because I knew there would be no way I'd get one on Christmas morning! 
We also opened a present from Aunt Stacy on Christmas Eve morning that may have resulted in some serious excitement in our house...it was a huge stuffed JAKE!!  Elyse loves her Jake and has already invited him to several tea parties! 
It was a huge bonus a few years ago when we had to push Christmas with my parents back to Christmas afternoon instead of Christmas morning. This gave us the opportunity to always have Christmas at our own home and once we had children we knew this would be even more important!
So...this year we waited until Elyse woke up...she actually slept in until almost 8:00 which is unheard of for the most part!  We had everything all ready to go and Hubby & I even had the chance to shower and get ready for the day before she woke up!   I woke up at 5:30 because I was so excited...only to have to wait 2 1/2 hours to open presents! 

Finally she woke up!  Elyse discovered her present from Santa & we exchanged stockings...followed by a continued tradition from my childhood...
 the reading of Luke 2 before the craziness of opening presents begins! 

Elyse was all about the present opening, but we still ended up opening several of her presents just because she was so excited to play with each new item as it was opened!

She wasn't real sure about the tricycle in the beginning, but then we went for quite the ride around the house!  I think she'll catch on very quick--especially once we can get outside with it this Spring!

After the presents were opened, Hubby's mom & dad came over for an incredibly simple breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls.  We wanted them to be able to see Elyse on Christmas Day...and of course, Mamaw couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a tea party with Elyse & Jake! 

Whew....I think that's it for our Christmas celebrations!  All in all I think we had 6 total family gatherings, with the first one being on December 8th & the last one being on December 28th.  20 days of celebrating Christ's birth, 20 days of spending quality time with family, and 20 days of counting our blessings over and over again. What a perfect way to celebrate! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas with the Grands!

Christmas with the grandparents & our siblings always promises to be a great time...and this year definitely didn't disappoint.  We celebrated with Hubby's family on Christmas Eve and had a quick dinner together before we all headed to Christmas Eve service at our church.  I hadn't been to a Christmas Eve service in several years & it was honestly really nice to gather together, sing some carols, partake in the Lord's Supper, and have a candlelight service in honor of Christ's birth. 

My sassy girl before we headed out! COULD NOT get her to smile!

Elyse was fascinated by the candlelight service!

After the church service, the kiddos were raring to go!  Presents were piled under the tree waiting to be opened and I think it took about 10 minutes for paper, tissue, and boxes to be filling the floor!  


Christmas morning was reserved for our little family of three (another post on that to follow) but after more presents and a quick breakfast, we headed down to my parents' house for Christmas with my family.  Poor Elyse was WORN out because we had to forfeit her nap for present opening...or at least we tried to forfeit it! 

I tell you what...having a photo session with a two year old and a 7 month old who just learned how to crawl is a difficult task!  But we got a few good shots--otherwise they're all blurry from two very busy little girls! 

This year my parents moved away from "Santa gifts" and instead did Papa & Gigi Piano Presents.  All the big presents were piled under the grand piano waiting to be opened...we figured Elyse & Harper didn't really need to think that Santa came to visit in two separate places. 

One of the biggest hits were toothbrushes for the girls...electric for Elyse--she LOVES it!

I need for you to pause a moment and appreciate Elyse's hair!  ha!

The headband is still holding on!

And about 3/4 of the way through present opening...she crashed.  She literally slept for nearly an hour just cuddled up next to me as we continued to open presents, talk, and laugh all around her. We did save her last big present for the end so she could actually open it herself--

A shopping cart to go with her new kitchen!
 She loved it and was so happy to take her babies for a ride!
We were all exhausted once Christmas Day came to an end...especially Elyse....but we couldn't have asked for a better Christmas!  We are so incredibly blessed to be able to spend time with so much of our family & for everyone to be within a 30 mile radius makes it all that much more enjoyable! 

Christmas with the Great-Grands!

Well..Christmas has officially come and gone and 2013 only has a few remaining hours...but I want to get my Christmas recaps up because let's be honest...we had a pretty AMAZING Christmas this year!
I am super blessed to still have both sets of grandparents living and we still have Christmas celebrations with each of them.  Christmas gatherings with the great grandparents started and ended our Christmas week and I can't really think of a better way to bookend our Christmas holiday this year! 
  We started off Christmas week with my dad's family Christmas on Saturday afternoon.  Almost everyone was able to attend and it was so fun for Elyse to play with her cousins!  The kiddos all opened their presents, we had a yummy meal and then it was time to go our separate ways.  Even if it's just for a few short hours, I'm always so thankful when our entire family can gather together & be reminded of how truly blessed we are! 


And then last night we gathered back at my parents' house with my mom's parents and had some more fun opening gifts.  There was yummy pizza, lots of laughs, and even some tears when a certain 2 year old didn't understand a choo-choo train belonged to her much younger cousin and not her! 

The result of taking away the choo-choo train!

Ummm...can we say GORGEOUS baby! 
We are so so so incredibly blessed and while our Christmas gets a little hectic going from place to place---I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.  The timing has been adjusted, gift giving traditions have changed, and lots of new faces have been added over the years--but one thing certainly hasn't changed and it's our ability to gather together as family and put aside any minor differences we might have to enjoy the blessings that God has poured out on us over and over and over again. 

Next up...Christmas with the Grands!