Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016

Guess who snuck into our house on Christmas Eve and left all kinds of goodies?

(Yeah, you're seeing that right; we caught the big guy on camera!)

L was so excited, and was literally up at the crack of dawn. Thankfully my parents spent the night on Christmas Eve and are also early risers, so they hung out with him in the loft while we got another 20 minutes of sleep!

(That's L2 collapsed on the stairs in the background. Even on Christmas morning my middle child is not a morning person!)

L was the first one in the room, and was so excited to see that Santa had come. And see that bike in the corner? We had an almost crisis with that when L went into the garage on Christmas Eve and swore there was a bike in there. The bike had "disappeared" when he tried to show us, but Santa had left a note with it on Christmas morning. Apparently Frosty was suppose to hide the bike because Santa's sleigh was just getting way to heavy to carry everything, but I guess he didn't do a very good job. As soon as Santa and Frosty realized L may have seen it they swooped in and took the bike away, and when Santa left it for the morning he put a note on it explaining everything. 

As soon as we got the kids settled in opening stocking the adults got situated with coffee made with Kahlua, put some Christmas music on the speakers, and we spent the rest of the morning opening presents.

The boys got a lot of really nice things, including a wii and a ton of games from Santa, and they were all very grateful! After presents we made a big Christmas breakfast (including kringles, these delicious pastries that my sister sent us all the way from Wisconsin) and then just relaxed and let the kids open and play with all of their gifts.

Since we just do appetizers on Christmas Eve we usually make a big Christmas dinner. This year we moved away from the tradition stuff and S made tri-tip and we had Fleming's potatoes and creamed corn and rolls. It was amazingly good and we all ended the day stuffed and happy!

 Merry, merry Christmas from our family to yours! I hope everyone's hearts and home were filled with love this holiday!

Christmas Eve 2016

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. You still have the anticipation of Christmas, there are gifts to be wrapped and toys to still be put together. But it's also the day the celebration officially begins. In our family, Christmas Eve is a day to eat and drink and play games and watch movies. We put out a huge spread of appetizers early in the day and spend the whole day grazing. 

 If family is in town, like this year, we play card games. And it's always Christmas movies all day.  This year my parents came in to town, so we set up our card table (AKA we dragged the "dining room" table into our living room) and played shanghai while the kids played around us.

We let the kids stay up a little later and watched Elf as a family. Can you believe my parents had never seen it? It's pretty much my favorite Christmas movie!

And then our last Christmas Eve tradition, reading our Elf book one last time and The Night Before Christmas in front of the Christmas tree.

And finally, we tucked the kids into bed and all went to sleep so we could wait for Santa to come.

Lol, yeah right. We tucked the kids in to bed and I stayed up until almost midnight wrapping and doing stockings and putting together gifts and making sure everything was perfect. And, I admit, around 11 I started getting a little stressed and overwhelmed. But it all came together, and even with the stress Christmas Eve will always be my favorite. Because, at the end of the night right before bed, when I'm the only one still up, I get a few moments by myself to take in the magic Christmas. I love taking the last look at the tree and the stocking, taking in the calm and beauty of it before the madness of Christmas morning happens. I love the hope they hold, the promise of an amazing day to follow. I love those last minutes of still being excited and anticipating Christmas, before the big day actually comes.

Like I said, Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year.

Friday, December 16, 2016


We finally made it to our annual Santa visit, and while it wasn't a complete success, it was better than last year! This year both L and L2 were happy to sit with Santa and take pictures, and R was the only hold old! I'll take it, and look forward to a year when all the kids are good with Santa and I don't have to be in the picture!

(R clinging to daddy!)

But at least we got a cute family picture out of it!

The saga of the gingerbread house

Several years ago, when L was very young and our only child, him and I tried to make a gingerbread house at Christmas. It was a complete failure and I've never attempted it again. Well, this year I decided that maybe it was a fluke all those years ago, and we had Frosty (the Elf) bring the boys a gingerbread house.

Spoiler alert: That disaster all those year ago? It was not a fluke. I have decided gingerbread houses are not meant for mere mortals, and they are actually quite impossible.

But regardless, the boys has a blast making it (and eating a lot of the candy as they went!)

Hey, it doesn't look like the picture, buy it's our little run down, probably a foreclosure, definitely neglected gingerbread house!

Royal Ranch Holiday Party

I really love our sweet little neighborhood. Every year our HOA puts on a holiday party at one of our parks, and they really do great job. Last year was actually the first year we went, (the party is wonderful, the advertising for it not so much!), and this year we had it marked on our calendars as a "must-do" holiday event.

They didn't disappoint. The park was filled with bounce houses, a train ride, visits with Santa, food trucks and even horse and carriage rides!

(I swear, he had fun! This was just a brief tantrum!)

We had such a good time hanging out with friends, and it put us all in the holiday mood!