Monday, January 25, 2016

Our "Little" Family Christmas 2015

In the past, I've always referred to the Christmas celebration that includes Chris, me, and the kids as our "little family Christmas", but I think our family is not so little anymore! I'll have to brainstorm another name for it :-).

Deciding when we're going to celebrate Christmas with just our "little" family is always a challenge. This year, we were scheduled to spend Christmas Day at my parents' house, but we don't prefer to travel on Christmas Day. That meant that we would leave our house on Christmas Eve to travel. In a situation like this, we would typically do our little family Christmas on the 23rd, but that wasn't possible this year as Chris didn't have any vacation time left to take that day off of work (due to being off so much at the beginning of the year when the twins were born). We finally decided that we'd spend the morning of the 24th doing our little family Christmas, have a nice lunch, then finish packing our suitcases and loading the van before leaving for my parents' house around 3:00pm. It made for quite the day!

I think we were all super excited for our Christmas celebration. Chris and I decided early in the year that we'd get all the kids one big shared gift (more on that below) along with a few stocking stuffers. They also got each other small gifts, and I wrapped each of them a box full of recycled things like butter tubs, empty spice bottles, food boxes, plastic ladles, etc that I had washed out for them to use in their play kitchen. They knew they'd have just a few small gifts to open, but they were still super pumped. I love that they're easy to please!

Brianna, Brenson, Brooke, and Brecklyn ready to dig in their stockings!

Daddy helping Brecklyn with her stocking.

Momma helping Brooke with her stocking. 

Brooke was allllll about this present business!

Brianna and Bren enjoyed their stockings, as well.

Bren LOVES flashlights, so that was one of his stocking gifts. He has several, but a man can never have too many, right?

Barbie clothes and hair accessories . . . such a little girl :-).

We took our time and let each of the kids have a turn handing out their gifts to their siblings. Brianna gave her gifts out first. 

Even though we had opened gifts with Chris's family the weekend before, the babies were still unsure about tearing the paper. 

Brianna had picked out a cute little book for each of the babies. They were a hit!

Bren waited patiently for his turn to open. 

For Brenson, she picked out a little digger made to use with play-doh. He's really enjoyed it. 

I didn't get photos of everyone opening all of their gifts (I try to be intentional about being in the moment and not just taking photos), but this is what Brenson picked out for Brianna . . . Littlest Pet Shop animals.

I enjoy the mess of paper and ribbons and bows, so we never pick up as we open. It adds to the fun of everything for me.

Of course, the babies loved the paper and ribbons most of all!
{Brecklyn, Brooke}

Our living room is on the smaller side, especially when the Christmas tree is set up. Sometimes the lack of space is a bit frustrating to me, but sometimes I enjoy being close. This day, I was loving being within reach of all of my kiddos. We really just had the best time opening gifts!

At one point, I remember just sitting back and watching my husband and all my littles and getting a bit emotional about it. There were so many Christmases where little waves of grief would wash over me . . . grief because we didn't have babies yet when I thought we should already or grief for babies that we never got to bring home. I always enjoyed those Christmases, but there would brief moments where hurt would pang my heart a little. Observing my little busy crew - just what I had always dreamed of - was so beautiful to me. I am constantly reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness to me. 

Bren had received some binoculars as one of his gifts. He was so cute using them as we were exchanging gifts!

I got a selfie stick! Whoo-hoo for an easier way to take family photos when we're by ourselves!

More gift opening with Brooke . . . 

. . . and Brecklyn . . . 

One of my favorite little traditions we do after we've opened all our gifts is taking a photo of the kids lying in the wrapping paper. I've done this every year since Brianna's first Christmas, and I always think the photos turn out so cute!

It has definitely gotten more challenging as we've added more children :-).

Chris suggested that we try a family photo with the selfie stick. I thought it was a great idea . . . 

but it turned out to be easier said than done!

We really tried . . .

and tried . . . 

and tried!

Finally, I said "Forget it!" I'm throwing my hands up in defeat, hahaha!

About this time last year, Chris and I started thinking about building a playhouse for our kids. We are very thankful for our house, but it's not exactly roomy for a family of six. We thought a playhouse in the backyard would be so fun for our kiddos and a great way to give them their own space to play. As summer ended, we began making serious plans for building a playhouse and decided that it would be a joint gift for all the kids for Christmas. We knew it would be pretty much impossible to keep it a secret from the kids, so we told them exactly what was going on. They've even helped a little with the construction of it, but they were not allowed to play in it until Christmas. The building process has been pretty lengthy. Chris doesn't have a lot of spare time to dedicate to the project, the weather has hindered us some, and the project is fairly large for a playhouse. However, it is almost finished now (and I plan to do a whole post about it eventually), and we are pretty thrilled with how it's turned out. 

Before taking the kids outside to see the playhouse (they hadn't seen the inside of it in a while), we showed them this rug that we purchased for it. 

Yay for playhouse accessories!

Even though this kids were very familiar with the outside of the playhouse, I still wanted to put a ribbon and bow on it for them! The outside is finished except for painting, which we plan to do in the spring when the weather is warmer.

We hope to have years and years of fun and play in this little house! Chris and I have already talked about keeping it for our grandchildren someday. 

At this time, the inside was not completed, but the kiddos wanted to go inside anyway. 

Once it's a little closer to completion and decorated, I will do a post with photos of the inside and tell a bit more about it.

By the time we opened gifts and explored the playhouse, it was about time to start fixing lunch. Chris and I had put stew meat in the crock pot earlier that morning, so we fixed mashed potatoes with stew meat gravy and a veggie tray. It's one of our favorite meals, and it was {for sure} yummy this day! 

So very thankful for our "little" family!

(and the selfie stick, haha!)

We spent the afternoon cleaning up from the morning's festivities, packing, loading the van, and finally leaving to travel to my parents' house (about 3 hours away). We arrived in time to eat dinner with everyone there and enjoy Christmas Eve. I'll do a full post with the details of that visit . . . try to contain your excitement! *wink*

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Fun times!! I LOVE the play house! You'll get a lot of mileage out of that investment for sure!