...all 18 of us!
Here's the breakdown: my parents (+ a dog, not pictured), my big brother, his wife and five children, my big sister, her husband and two children, plus me and my little family of five! And YES, we all stay at my parents' house. And YES the children nap and sleep ALL NIGHT (well except the nursing baby..she might have gotten up during the night, but I don't know because she isn't my baby:). Not quite sure how we make it work, but we just do. Each family has a room and what happens behind closed doors....well stays behind those doors:) While the kids are awake it gets a bit loud and crazy, but FUN. It is exactly how you would expect it be with 10 kids ages 9 and under in one house for 3 days!
Back to Christmas Eve. Our celebration started with the candlelight service at my parents' church. We nearly filled two rows of pews! (And that is without my dad present. He was still out delivering packages on his "half day". He is a soon-to-be retired UPS driver.) This church service is my favorite service of the entire year. The atmosphere invites peace, quiet and reflection. It allows me to remember the true reason for a Christmas celebration...even with many squirmy children surrounding me:)
|No pictures were taken after the candles were lit...|
it was far too dangerous!
And then FINALLY...after much waiting...Grandpa came home! And the gift opening could begin...
|They were all excited...not just Grandpa. I promise.|
|This girl had THE BEST reaction to her gift!|
|He was less than thrilled by this homemade gift from Aunt Bear:)|
It wasn't quite the skid steer he was wanting...
After all the fun we tortured the children with one last picture with Grandpa & Grandma....
|Grandpa's bedtime snack with all his little beggars:)|
Christmas morning was nice and relaxed. We woke up leisurely (after 8 am!) and ate a delicious meal of Christmas Morning Scones (aka - Cinnamon Chip Scones) and egg bake.
My big kids got "EXACTLY" what they wanted from Santa! (They exclaimed this many times as they opened their gift from Santa in my childhood bedroom on Christmas morning. It was sweet and innocent and so sleepily enthusiastic. I wish I had videoed it, but I was still half asleep myself:) And just as I suspected, this WAS Isaiah's last year of believing in Santa. And I am okay with that. He is a smart kid and he put two and two together. Between the gift for Charlotte that he helped me buy at Target and a couple cousins that don't believe in Santa...well it wasn't difficult to figure out. But now he is "in the know" and helping keep the magic alive for his sisters!