As I've mentioned before, our holiday season was definitely a little more low-key than usual. However, it was still a great time spent with family and friends! So, here is a little recap of our Christmas festivities!
Each year, pretty much since we've known our friends Ross & Tia, we have gotten together for a special Christmas celebration with them. This is something that I generally host at my house, but I knew I wouldn't be up for it this year. Besides, my house was not very festive! Because of this, my sister decided to host the little get-together at her house (they have joined us each year since they moved here 3 years ago). It's especially fun now that we all have kiddos, and this year Tia's friend Cynthia was also able to join us. We cooked taco soup with all the sides and just had a nice evening being together!
Brianna and Chloe Jo . . . always so excited to see each other!
I believe this is the only family photo we have of our family from Christmas this year since I ended up with the flu during the actual Christmas holiday.
We have all the kids exchange gifts, which is always fun. Brenson decided that I needed to be tied up in this Christmas ribbon (and thankfully it fit around me!)
We let Sadie open her gift first, and of course all of the older kids had to be right up in her business!
I don't have photos of the olders opening their gifts, but they got some really neat stuff! From Ross and Tia, Bren received this magnet board with magnets of different shapes and colors. It also came with little cards showing you how to create different things out of the magnets. It's been a big hit around here, and I think it will be especially great for longer car trips. Brianna received a small telescope which she has also had a blast exploring!
It's always a fun time with our dear friends that are like family!
Because we weren't travelling this year, working out the logistics of when to have our small family Christmas was easier than it's possibly ever been! We typically celebrate our small family Christmas on the 22nd or 23rd of December, but this year we celebrated on the 24th. When the kiddos got up that morning, we had all of their gifts wrapped and waiting for them. They were SO excited! However, we're mean parents and made them eat breakfast first :-)!
This was the second day of me not feeling 100% but the first day that I was feeling really bad. I tried hard not to be a party pooper, though!
Brianna and Brenson both got new toothbrushes, a small toy, and fun glasses frames to play dress-up with in their stockings this year. Doesn't Bri look adorable in her glasses?
And Mr. B looks so handsome! He wears them well!
After opening our stockings (including stockings for the babies), we dug into the wrapped gifts. I know some people leave part of their gifts unwrapped, but I like to wrap them all! We also open them one at a time and really spend time just enjoying the process.
After opening this gift, Brenson was pretty much finished with the gift opening. We kept asking him if he wanted to open something else, and he would say, "Not right now", ha! He LOVES this drill set!
Brianna, on the other hand, wanted to rip into one gift after another!
She already had a small set of these Magformers, so we bought her another set. She and Bren both LOVE building things with these. They are a GREAT gift, albeit a little on the pricey side.
They both even got their own new box of sidewalk chalk. We go through sidewalk chalk very quickly!
Brianna was PUMPED to get an Elsa dress-up dress. She couldn't wait to put it on!
We also bought her an Anna dress. She's gotten a ton of use out of both of them already.
Aside from the drill set, Brenson's favorite gift was the little gas pump you can see in the photo below. He really enjoys that thing! Brianna liked the dress-up clothes best, although the new princess Barbies were a BIG hit as well.
Every year, I take a photo of the kids in the wrapping paper (which we don't pick up as we go). And every year, it's one of my favorite photos!
After opening gifts, we let the kiddos just play for an hour or so while I rested on the couch (pregnant with the flu is a BAD combo) and Chris made lunch. Seriously, he's a keeper that man! We had put some meat in the crock pot, and planned to make potatoes and gravy to go with it, but neither of us thought Chris would be on his own to cook the meal. He did it though, and it was YUMMY!
After we got lunch cleaned up, I told Chris that I needed a nap! He thought that was a great idea, and we all ended up sleeping for several hours that afternoon. I love this photo of my boys relaxing on Christmas Eve.
My parents had decided to come visit for a few days since they knew that I was planning to spend Christmas Day by myself while Chris and the kiddos went to celebrate with his side of the family. They arrived at about 4:30pm on Christmas Eve, and we all went out to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant in town and then to church. I just kept pushing and pushing myself thinking I only had a cold. In hindsight, there is no way I should've been out like that on Christmas Eve, but I didn't know how sick I was yet.
Funny side-note: My sister lives about 20 minutes from here, but she and her family were gone to her in-laws house in Arkansas. However, we don't have a spare bed for Mom and Dad to sleep in, so my sister left her house key for them so they could use her spare bedroom. When it came down to it, my parents didn't want to drive over to my sister's house and stay there without them, so they decided to stay at our place. I absolutely didn't mind this, but I was very worried about where everyone would sleep. I finally decided that Chris and I would give them our bed, I would sleep on the couch, and Chris could sleep in Bren's bed. But, my Dad wouldn't hear of it! He absolutely insisted that they not take our bed since I'm pregnant. Instead, they slept in the kids' bunk beds, ha! Mom slept on the bottom (in Bren's bed) and Dad slept on the top (in Bri's bed). Lol. I hated it (I mean really, who wants their parents to have to sleep in their kids' bunk beds?!?) but it worked out fine. The kids slept on the floor of our bedroom, and they always love that as a special treat. In the end, everyone was happy, but I sure hated that we didn't have decent sleeping arrangements for them!
On Christmas Day, I woke up feeling even worse than I had on Christmas Eve. Chris got the kiddos all ready and headed out to his parents house for the day, and I just laid on the couch and sat in the recliner all morning. My Mom cooked a smallish (but super tasty) Christmas lunch while my Dad did some reading and entertained himself. I have always thought that I'd love to not have to help cook Christmas dinner, but as it turns out that was pretty miserable! It was no fun having my Mom in my kitchen cooking while I was laying on the couch! I would have much rather been helping and spending time with my Mom! Lesson learned, haha.
After eating lunch, we all sat down and watched the movie Miracle on 34th Street (1994 version). I actually ended up sleeping through part of it, but it was nice to all relax together. It was really strange feeling to be alone with my parents. I have 3 siblings, so alone time with Mom and Dad pretty much never happens and never has. Especially not on a holiday! However, it was also really wonderful to have them here even though I was definitely no fun. Chris and the Bs got home not too long after the movie ended, and by that time we were ready for some noise and chaos. They had a great time at their Meme and Papa's house, so I was happy to hear all about it!
Chris was in charge of photos, so I got 5 photos from him and 2 photos that I pulled off of my MIL's FB page. Ha! I was kind of annoyed that he didn't get more photos . . . I mean I hated missing watching my babies on Christmas, then he totally failed at getting photos. Oh well!
Opening gifts with Meme:
Brianna got several Barbie things and was thrilled!
More gift opening . . . I'm not sure where Bren was?
I was happy to see Bren in this photo!
The four grandchildren on Chris's side of the family . . . soon to be six! Oh, and Brianna ended up not feeling well and running a fever that evening. We think she probably had a mild case of the flu, but it only lasted about two days, thankfully!
Chris's sister and grandparents:
Chris's grandparents with their great-grandchildren . . . love this photo!
On Friday, December 26th, Mom helped me do a bunch of things around the house to get prepared for the babies. We cooked several meals to freeze, sterilized bottles, pacis, pump parts, etc, organized and washed some clothes, and organized the nursery a bit. She actually did the majority of the work while I continued to lay around feeling terrible. That evening, we all watched Frozen together as Mom and Dad had never seen it. It was a really nice day, but by the time Saturday morning came, I knew I was too sick to keep pushing myself. Saturday was the first day that I really didn't get out of bed. Mom and Dad were going to stay part of the day, but we ended up getting a smallish winter storm (with about 3 to 4 inches of snow), and although it was beautiful, they wanted to get on home (and I didn't blame them!)
It was a most unusual Christmas for us, but enjoyable. I didn't like being without my husband and children, but I didn't feel like they should miss out on family time just because I was down and out. I was certainly thankful to not have to spend the day alone, though!