Friday, March 28, 2014

Christmas in March?

I realized I never really did a Christmas round-up, which I promised to do back in January, so I thought I would do a short little post about our Christmas before Easter gets here at least. This year we were sick a lot of December, so we ended up taking care of Christmas presents mostly at the last minute, as in, the week of Christmas we started our shopping/present making. However, the last minuteness didn't stop us from having a great Christmas.

We actually had snow through a lot of the month of December, so even though we had been sick, the Christmas cheer was still working its way into the house. This was the snowy view out our kitchen doors a lot of the month, give or take some of the snow, although Christmas Day was one of the few snow free days of the month.

Having the Christmas tree up before everyone got sick helped too. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we put up the Christmas tree the day we bought the house and then decorated it for a Christmas party the day after we moved in. Here is our family after the Christmas Eve service in front of our tree. Please forgive the graininess of the picture, I'm not entirely sure what caused that.

We let Will open one present on Christmas Eve, it was a pair of Christmas pajamas for him to wear that night. Then Jake read The Night Before Christmas to him before bed.

On Christmas Day we woke up and I made some breakfast; Will even got to try chocolate milk for the first time, it was a hit. Then after eating breakfast together we read the Christmas story from Will's Jesus Storybook Bible.

Next we opened stockings. We got Will a little car at Ikea while we were there in November that was in his stocking. He loved it and probably played with it for 10-15 minutes straight, which was nice because it gave Jake and me time to open our stockings and then watch as Will enjoyed his car, along with giving me time to set up the tripod to take another family picture in front of the tree before we opened presents. 

I took a few pictures of Will in his Christmas jammies in front of the tree, and then we took a few family pictures. With how much Will moves all the time I have to take at least a few pictures in order to try to get one that isn't completely blurry.

After pictures it was present time! We followed a guide that I heard about a few years ago for our gifts to Will that we really liked, and plan to continue in the future with him and our future kiddos as well. You only buy four presents: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. He had already gotten part of the something you need the night before since he was in desperate need of new pajamas, but his Christmas pajamas came in a set of two, so I just wrapped the two sets separately so that he could open one on Christmas day as well. He had also gotten his something you wear the night before, it was the vest that he wore to the Christmas Eve service, and he looks stinkin' adorable in it. He got the Sandra Boynton book But Not the Hippopotamus. We have a few of her other books and he really likes them so we thought we would add to the collection. 

The last present was the real hit though, even more so than the car that was in his stocking. Will got a set of Mega Bloks and loved them.

I pointed out as I was taking this picture how much Will is like his daddy. He had to read the instructions before playing with his new game.

It made us even happier that we had gotten him so few presents when we saw how much he loved playing with the couple of new things that he had, and we didn't have to try to force him to come open more presents while he was busy playing with his new toys already. It really worked out well overall, and we would highly recommend using this system or something similar as it simplifies and cuts down on the materialism of Christmas, which enabled us to be able to focus more on just being a family and playing together, as well as on the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place, the coming of our Savior.

Oh, and for anyone wondering, Jake got me a phone case since I had been walking around since September without a case for my new phone, as well as a Lumineers record.  For Jake I got a framed picture of him and Will that had been taken at a photo booth during one of Joplin's Third Thursday events and Dominion, which is a strategy game that we both really like. Will seemed to think my phone case was actually for him for a good portion of the morning until it actually got put on my phone.

Later on that day we headed over to Jake's parents' house to have Christmas with his family. We all had lunch together, and then, after the kids had taken naps it was present time again. We were blessed with a lot of nice things from his family, and Will got some more new pajamas as well as some puzzles, and a latch board. For both sets of our parents we made a snowman family for them to put up around Christmas time. It turned out really cute and we labeled each family member on the snowmen. You can kind of see Jake's dad holding it in the midst of all the craziness of this picture. We had wanted to find out the gender of the baby to label his snowman as well as a surprise, but he didn't cooperate at the ultrasound we had the week before, so we just left the name off with the promise to fill it in once we knew the name.

We all had dinner together that night and then played games and finally headed home. It was a full but good day.

On Saturday we celebrated Christmas with my family, and since my parents were in the middle of a bathroom remodel we hosted all 15 of us over here, well 14 actually since my sister didn't take up much room since we just Skyped with her in Romania. Having the basement with basically nothing in it turned out to be a great thing that day. We just sent the older kids down to play in the family room that was virtually empty and let them run wild. We had a great time with my family as well. We opened presents first and then sent the kids off to play while we prepared breakfast for dinner, or brinner as we call it in our house. You can see my sister in the background as Will plays with his new vacuum in this picture. For a little ambiance we also set up a "fireplace"  on the tv thanks to Netflix.

It's hard to convey through pictures how truly crazy it was here that day with six kids ages 7 and under running around, along with eight adults, but it was fun, and we love having a home that we can comfortably host groups like this in now.

All in all we had a great Christmas where we got to spend a lot of time with family, which we love doing, and Will loves playing with his cousins. Even though we were sick through much of the month of December we were still blessed with good times, family, and food, and most of all, stopping to remember that our Savior came to earth as a baby.


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