Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

Another great Christmas is down in the books! Christmas 2014 didn't disappoint, and now that it's over I'm taking a moment to reflect back and appreciate it.

S and I stayed up late on Christmas Eve, wrapping presents, putting together the big Santa gifts, and stuffing stockings, all while we relaxed, drank eggnog and watched Christmas movies. Pretty much my idea of a perfect night! L's big Santa gift was a "big boy" bike, and L2's was a "big boy" scooter. R got a pretty cool V-tech suitcase toy that plays lots of super annoying amazing music! I was so excited to see their faces on Christmas morning: to see that Santa had come, and the cookies had been eaten and all their presents. It's not about the presents though, not really….. it's about the magic and the fact that when they come downstairs and see all those things that weren't there the night before they truly believe that something magical happened in the house while they slept. That's the moment I look for on Crhistmas morning.

And that Crhistmas morning magic? As usual, it was there in all its full glory. OK, it wasn't movie perfect, not by any means. L2 is not a morning person and was pretty cranky, and L was in full toy/present overload and R was more interested in trying to pull apart everyone else's stuff then his own. But we were together and carols were playing and I had a cup of hot coffee, and in all it's imperfectness, it  was a perfect Crhistmas morning!

We try to do stockings, then fill up our coffee, and then do presents one at a time, youngest to oldest. This is not easy with three little boys, but we kept it as calm and un-chaotic (is that a word?) as possible.

Of course, everyone got a ton of  toys. Like we need more of them, but what are you going to do? L got a lot of clothes, which he desperately needed since he's growing like a weed. Thankfully, he is still at an age where he thinks new clothes are cool too. I think all three of them were especially thrilled at the amount of candy and treats they got in their stockings!

I even feel like I managed to do good shopping for S, who is pretty impossible. He got a lot of camping stuff, new work shirts, a new beer making kit, and some other odds and ends. He is one of those people that really never wants anything so you have to find stuff he needs that is still fun to give as a gift. Plus I like buying him clothes, since he always looks so handsome!!!

After presents we put in the Santa Claus (another Crhistmas tradition) and made a yummy breakfast of cinnamon rolls, breakfast casserole an mimosas! Then it was time to head outside and test out the new toys!

L hopped right on his new bike, I was pretty proud of him. He took one tumble, but it mostly just scared him. And don't worry, he will be wearing a helmet. The one he got for Crhistmas just doesn't fit his big noggin so it need to be exchanged!

L2 wasn't as interested in his scooter, but I'm sure he will warm up to it! R, however, thought it was a great toy and spent the morning standing on it and pushing it around!

 We also got a wagon from S's aunt and uncle, so S put that together and gave the boys and one of our neighborhood friends a ride! I'm pretty excited about the wagon actually, I think it will come in handy at things like the kids sporting events!

Yes, it was a great Christmas. I'm always sad when it's over, but I'm also looking forward to a New Year and to getting back into our normal schedule. While it's nice to be spontaneous and give our schedule the heave-ho during the holidays, with three kids a little structure is a Godsend!!!

I hope everyone experience the magic of Christmas, and that you felt the love of family and friends as strongly as we did this holiday season!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

Wow, it really feels like this Christmas season has just flown by! I can't believe tomorrow is the big day, and then it's back to normal life! It always makes me a little sad, when it's almost over, but I'm trying to just soak in every moment. Especially these few precious years I have where my kids are young and fully believe in magic and Santa and Elves on Shelves. It's a beautiful thing, to see Christmas through the eyes of your children and it definitely brings a whole new meaning to the season.

Today we went to our friends house for Christmas Eve brunch, and it was great to get out of the house, eat yummy food, relax and let the kids play.

While the grownups ate quiche and drank mimosas the kids ran around like crazy people, decorated cookies (and then ate them!) and played in the bounce house!

I love that we have such great friends right around the corner, and I love that my kids get to spend time with friends on special holidays, especially since our families aren't here!

After brunch we headed home for some much needed naps, and then it was time for Christmas Eve "dinner". This is a favorite tradition of mine from when I was a kid. We don't do a big dinner on Christmas Eve, instead we pull together all of our favorite snacks and appetizers and just snack the day/night away. I always make way too much food for just us, but when else do you have to opportunity to put all your favorite foods our and go crazy? (Also, every knows calories don't actually exist on Christmas!)

(R is a big fan of the snacking all day tradition too!)

We let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve. It has to be something from a friend or neighbor, it can't be one of their "big" gifts, but it adds into the excitement for them. Tonight the opened a present from our wonderful neighbors across the street and got some cute clothes!

And finally it was time to put our the milk, cookies, and carrots for Santa and his Reindeer and do our tradition of reading "the Night Before Christmas" in front of the tree. This year we also added in "The Grinch stole Christmas" and "The Elf on the Shelf".

Trying to get all them to sit still for stories wasn't easy, especially since they are all bursting with anticipation for tomorrow! But we got it done, snapped a few pictures, said goodnight and goodbye to Frosty (our Elf) and got everyone to bed with promises that Santa would come once they were asleep!

Now some of Santa's elves (S and I!) have a long night of putting together presents!!! Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A California Christmas!!!!

We're back!!!

We packed up our car last Thursday, grabbed L from school on our way out of town, and headed down to California to visit my in-laws for our annual Christmas trip. We go down pretty much every year (as long as the dates work out) for the weekend before Christmas when they do their big family Christmas party. Every year I am torn and super stressed out about this trip. I'm not a huge fan of traveling over the holiday, I hate leaving the house and the animals this time of year, and it always feels like I have a to-do list ten miles long, but every year we have an amazing time and I'm always so happy we went. This year was especially a whirlwind of a trip, we got in late on Thursday, drove to Whittier and Corona on Saturday to visit family and for the party, and then headed home today. We managed to pack lot in in a few short days though, and the boys always have such a blast with their grandparents and aunts and uncle!

S's dad waited until we were all there to decorate his huge tree (I'm so jealous of their tall ceilings!!!) and L and L2 loved helping hang up all the ornaments. R pretty much just got into things and got in the way, but he had fun too and managed not to break anything!

(A quick family picture before our long day of driving!)

The Christmas party this year was at S's aunts house, which is a few hours away in Corona on their horse ranch. Since we were going to be passing by we decided to leave early and visit S's aunt and uncle on his other side since we hadn't seen them in a long time, and they had never met R. It was a long day, but it was so great getting to see so much family!

(another family picture, this time with Uncle in it!)

(The horse ranch. This place is crazy beautiful!)

On Sunday we exchanged presents with family, and the boys got majorly spoiled. They were so happy with all their cool toys, the biggest hit being a huge set of car tracks that light up in the dark and have motorized cars. The big boys played with it pretty much all day. They got a ton of other stuff also, to be honest I'm surprised we managed to fit it all back in the car!!!

Now we are back and relaxing at home. It was a great trip, but I'm happy to back… nothing feels as good as being home at Christmas! Tomorrow it's crunch time to get ready for Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa Claus…. I know him!!!!!

Well, we ventured out for the yearly Santa visit last night. We went to the same place we went last year,  the Santa there is great and even better there are never any lines and the kids get to actually spend a fair amount of time talking to Santa, as opposed to the mall where they just shuttle them on and off his lap as quick as possible!!!

I wasn't sure how it would go…. Santa is always a little hit and miss. This year I figured L would be good, since he's really excited about Santa coming on Christmas Eve and has a full Christmas list for him. I was pretty sure L2 wouldn't have anything to do with him, and R I wasn't sure. Imagine my surprise when L and L2 ran right up to him and gave him a huge hug! It was so cute! I did have to bribe L2 with a candy cane to sit next to him, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

Poor R however was not having it. It doesn't look too bad in the picture we got, but he's actually just taking a breath between sobs! Poor baby!

Two out of three happy isn't bad though, so I 'd say it was an overall successful Santa visit! And R was fine as soon as we took him back, so I'm assuming he's not going to be scarred for life!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

O' Christmas Tree

By far one of my favorite parts of Christmas is getting and decorating the tree. We do a live tree every year, and although it would be easier to get a fake tree we love the smell and feel of the real thing, not to mention getting to go and pick it out!

 This year it was especially fun pulling out all the ornaments as L asked what everything was and what it meant. We have a fair amount of ornaments, some handed down from our families and a lot collected by us over the years. We have a few for the dogs, Stella and Charlie, back when they were our only babies. We have one commemorating our first Christmas when we lived together, one from the year we got engaged. We have one for our first home and one for each of the boys first Christmases. We have Disney ones that have been given to the boys as gifts, and ones that the boys have painted and decorated. I love going through and remembering all the good memories, and what each one means.

(Both of the big boys attempted putting the star on, but it ended up being too tall and Daddy had to do it!)

It wasn't all roses and sunshine and reminiscing. I'm not going to lie, trying to decorate a tree with delicate ornaments and three kids five and under was a bit stressful, but everyone had fun and nothing got broken! R thinks the glittery balls are the best thing ever and spent the whole night stealing them off the tree and then trying to eat them. L wanted to hang all the ornaments in the same spot where he could see them all (Like all on one branch!) and L2 just wanted to be in the fray and wanted to touch and hold everything!

So now we have a beautiful tree (which is thankfully in the front room and behind a baby gate, so the kids don't have free range on it!) and the presents under it are slowly growing! I love just sitting with all the lights off except the tree light with a glass of eggnog and enjoying the moments!!!