Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas 2013 Celebration, part 1

Just three short days after returning from Mexico we were thrust into full family mode with our first Christmas celebration. We spent Christmas Eve with my family...

...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!
After the service we returned to my parents' home for homemade soup in bread bowls. So filling and delicious! Thank you mom for all your fabulous cooking.

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...
Each grandchild received one gift from Grandpa and Grandma and it was PERFECT! Everyone got their turn to be the center of attention and enjoy the spotlight. Somehow this year we all chanted the gift receiver's name as they opened their gift and it just made it that much more fun. Sure it was LOUD (and wild at times!) but so very fun. I hope it becomes a tradition:)

After all the fun we tortured the children with one last picture with Grandpa & Grandma....

they mostly cooperated!

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!

Part 2 coming soon...


  1. I just love this post and have already read it 3 times. I probably love it so much because I was there and enjoyed everything you wrote about. It really was a wonderful Christmas. I am so thankful that we were all together. My heart was so full watching all the cousins play together and the excitement they had during the present opening. An added bonus was listening to them sing happy birthday to Jesus...there were lots of big smiles.

    1. Oh no! How did I forget about singing 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus?!? That was a pretty great moment.