Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas 2013, Part 1

Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to be better at blogging about our Christmas as soon as it happens. And then every year Christmas comes and goes, and I put off blogging about it for weeks. I'm just pretty much done with Christmas by the time it's over. I thoroughly enjoy the holiday - especially now that we have children - but come the end of December I'm just ready for it to be over. I'm one of those people who *almost* always has the house un-holidayed by New Years Day . . . ready to start the new year with a clean slate. 

Because of this, I was planning to just do one blog all about our Christmas. However, I had 99 photos picked out that just had to be part of the post, so I decided to break it up. I thought 99 was just a bit excessive for one post, ha! Our Christmas pretty much always happens in three phases, and this year was no exception. This post will be all about our small family Christmas that we had on December 23rd. 

This year, Chris and I decided to get the children one large joint gift and just a few small individual gifts. We set a budget and our plan aligned well with the budget. Well, I ended up getting their big gift at half the cost of what I had anticipated! This allowed for them to have more than just a few other small individual gifts, which they thought was great.

We woke up on the morning of the 23rd, had breakfast, then jumped right in to gift opening. Stockings first!

Our kids are both obsessed with flashlights. Anyone else's kids like this? So, this year in their stockings, they each got a flashlight of their very own. These have been a HUGE hit. They use them every day.

Brenson especially enjoys his flashlight!

After the stockings, we had them open their joint gift. They were so funny about it . . . kind acted like they didn't know what to do with this huge gift sitting in the living room, ha!

What is it? An art easel! This gift has also been something that they've enjoyed a lot. Brianna uses it more than Bren right now, but he does enjoy it as well.

Side story about the art easel: The night before our Christmas celebration, we were putting the easel together in our bedroom after we had put the kids to bed. We have a strict rule that the children are not to get out of bed once we put them down for the night. They are both great about following this rule, so we didn't close our bedroom door while we were assembling the easel. Well, Brianna had been calling and calling for us, but we couldn't hear her because we were in our bedroom (and we have a split bedroom floor plan). She broke the rule, got out of bed, and came walking in our room! Chris and I both reacted by screaming "Get out!" at her and scared the poor child to tears. We found her back in her bed trembling and crying, and we felt TERRIBLE. She's not used to being yelled at, and I think it just startled the poor thing. She didn't see anything, so the surprise wasn't ruined, but she was really upset about the whole incident. 

Brianna loves to help hand out the gifts.

I got a Lego car and a scarf (Bri is holding)!

Brenson was eager to help give Daddy a few gifts, also.

Yay OKC Thunder!

We took our time and really took turns opening gifts, and the kids were great about it. They were patient and really enjoyed watching each other open.

They got a new microwave for their play kitchen. They wanted to play with it right then!

Brianna opening.

They both received several new things for their play kitchen and it has all seen a lot of use so far.

She was so excited about this wooden pizza making set that she hugged it!

We have made MANY pizzas with this little set :-).

Brenson also got some wooden sandwich food.

The Melissa and Doug brand of wooden food and kitchen accessories is the best in our opinion!

More opening!

They loved to help me open my gifts.

We also got them each a movie.

Bren got The Return to Neverland and Bri got a Tinkerbell movie.

Bren also got his first "big boy" Bible. This is something we got for Brianna a few years ago, too.

He was very proud! He carries it every Sunday to Bible class.

His name is even imprinted on the front.

Bren also received some dress up clothes. Both of the Bs love to dress up, but Bren didn't really have any of his own stuff. We thought this construction worker outfit was so fun! And to me, the goggles look painful, but he loves them!

After all the gift opening was over, I had to take my annual photo of the children laying in the wrapping paper. We don't pick up any paper as we go. Rather, we leave all strewn about and pick it up at the end. It's more work that way because we have to be super careful to sort through every piece and make sure nothing important is thrown away, but I also think it's much more fun!

I adore this photo! My favorite from Christmas 2013.

We let the kids play for an hour or so, had lunch, then put them down for their naps. After nap, we mixed up sugar cookie dough to make and decorate cookies later that evening.

It did snow a bit this day as well. Nothing stuck, but the flakes were huge and so beautiful. It was definitely a fun bonus on the day!

After the dough was refrigerated for a bit, we rolled it out and cut out our cookie shapes.

Then, we baked them, let them cool, and decorated them.

Brenson helped Daddy decorate one cookie then decided all he wanted to do was eat.

We let him have this one cookie, and he was thrilled!

Brianna, on the other hand, wanted to decorate a bit and sample a bit as she went along.

Still working on his cookie!

We told him to smile for the camera so we got his camera face. Love it!

But I think I love this one even more, ha!

Do you notice that all of our cookies are round? I'm not sure what went wrong, but we couldn't get the dough to keep its shape so we went with round cookies. I was really disappointed. I mean, who can't do sugar cookies? Baking is just NOT my talent. I had to work really hard to not let this ruin my day because it just frustrated me SO much. I wanted everything to be perfect for the Bs, but I felt like I had failed. You know what though? They didn't care or notice! Lesson learned :-).

She was so proud of her work. We kept her cookies on a special plate just for her to eat as there was a lot of licking going on while she was decorating :-).

This was the first time we've done this, and I think we need to make it a yearly tradition!

Haha, this face!

All in all, it was a really great day! I'm so thankful for my little family and the joy they bring to my life!

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