Even with the rush that came with Christmas we had a wonderful time. PB was off work almost the entire time that the kids were out of school and we love having him around the house. He just makes it more fun for all of us.
We kicked off our Christmas fun by making a Gingerbread house one night. Our boy requested that we do this. He reminded me that we didn't make one last year and that I told him that we would make one this year. He has such a good memory! It was a challenge to keep the children from arguing the whole time but they were able to get it completed without too much refereeing.
The boy gets a little frustrated by his sister's tendency to take over!
It turned out pretty cute and what really matters is that they were happy with the results!
One bonus to this Christmas was that I was able to cross an item off my bucket list. We went on a Horse and Carriage Ride! I have always wanted to do this and it certainly was wonderful. The weather was just chilly enough and all the Christmas lights adorning Downtown Montgomery made it extra special.
The owner of the company was sweet to offer to take our picture for us. And he didn't do too bad a job! Way to go Mr. Horse and Carriage man! :) The boy pretended not to like the carriage ride but I knew better than that. He had a good time but our girl LOVED it! She has decided she wants to do this for her 13th birthday. December birthdays are hard to plan for but I think this will be a perfect birthday evening for her and a few of her closest friends!
Even PB thought it was a lot of fun and he's pretty tough to please this time of year. I like to tease him and call him THE GRINCH because he's not always the jolliest person at Christmas. ;)
After the carriage ride was over we walked over to a little Italian restaurant and had pizza for dinner. The restaurant is in a newly refurbished area of downtown and is so pretty with all the trees lit with twinkling lights for Christmas.
After our yummy pizza dinner we headed back out into the cold winter air and decided to go look at more Christmas lights.
We ended up at the Capitol to admire its huge Christmas tree up close! We got out and walked around and realized just how big that tree was. It was a beautiful sight!
After our pre-Christmas fun was over we had to get ready for our marathon of family Christmas get-togethers! We switched things up this year by doing my Dad and Stepmom's house first. We had a Christmas Eve breakfast and my-not-so-little Airman brother was able to be home for Christmas and it was totally complete when my little sister got off work just in time for us to be able to have everyone there. PawPaw is an expert pancake maker and put his skills to work as soon as we got there. We ate our yummy breakfast and opened gifts with them and had a fun time!
Up early for Christmas Eve breakfast!
Paw Paw was getting ready to serve pancakes!
Chris was excited about getting Christmas lights! (That's wasn't really his present but I was having a box shortage at my house this year!)
Our girl loves Belle and Belle obviously loves her too!
Someone got a little emotional about one of her gifts!
It was a ONE DIRECTION calendar! Yes!
We headed back home with just enough time for me to make my favorite Christmas dessert...red velvet cake! I tried a new recipe this year for this yummy cake. I found it on Pinterest and let me tell you it. is. delicious. It is my new official red velvet cake recipe.
Doesn't it look delicious?
I had to finish wrapping a few presents after I finished baking my masterpiece of a cake and was able to get all my wrapped gifts under the tree. Whew! It was good to be done with everything just in time to go to our next family gathering.
Our "official" family Christmas photo!
It was time to load the car with presents for all our family at PB's parents house. This gathering is extra fun for the children because there are 6 cousins to play with that are all pretty close in age. It can get a little crazy but everyone is always glad to see each other.
Mimi and Papa with all the grandchildren!
Wow...everyone is smiling at the same time! Bonus Christmas photo!
We always have lots of food and lots of presents at Mimi and Papa's house. Everyone watches each other open every gift and it makes for a rather interesting but long afternoon/evening. It's especially hard to wait when you are 9 years old and you have to be patient while watching every one else open their gifts.
The boy was really glad when it was his turn to open up a gift and he received this...a new Lego set!
He didn't waste any time in putting it together! He went to a corner of the kitchen and got to work!
After we opened up all the gifts and said our "Merry Christmases" to all our family we had to head back home to get ready for Santa Claus! Our girl was a little sad to get her elf and reindeer ready to go back to the North Pole with Santa but she was so thoughtful to send a treat back with them.
Chocolate and nuts...Emerson and Chestnut's favorite foods!
She even left Santa a note that he could keep the straw in his milk cup. :)
Everyone got tucked into bed and quickly drifted off to sleep even with the anticipation of Christmas morning. We actually slept in for a change. It was almost 7:00 when the boy walked quietly into the kitchen to ask about waking up his sister so they could see what Santa had brought them!
A new curling iron!
Our girl with her baby dog, Polly!
As soon as they inspected their new things from Santa we got busy with opening our gifts to each other. Every year since our girl was born, PB has received a new coffee mug with pictures of the children on it. It has become a Christmas tradition for us.
The best gift PB has ever bought me (without me picking it out first)! ;)
Our girl didn't waste any time painting her nails with her new nail products! Thank you Santa!
PB had to explain to Polly that she didn't get a gift because of an incident with blow pops the week before. She devoured 6 of them while I was out running errands one day and made a huge mess all over our family room. I was not a happy camper that day! So Polly got her Christmas present a little early this year. :)
We had to quickly get ready for our final Christmas gathering at my mom and stepdad's house. We loaded up the remaining presents and headed back to Montgomery for more Christmas fun! It is usually extra crazy at their house with aunts, uncles, cousins, and even dogs. Polly got to go enjoy Christmas day with us all!
This year we were blessed to have a new member of our family with us. Brooks is my cousins little boy and he is the most precious. With his big blue eyes and perfect round cheeks that are impossible not to want to kiss over and over...he's adorable!
Sweet cousins all together! Our two kiddos plus Brooks, Emily, and Doodle
We ate an insane amount of delicious food and then opened more and more gifts! Everyone buys everyone a gift and it gets crazy with wrapping paper flying around and ribbons being tossed all over the place. We are very blessed with a family who loves us and spoils us so much!
Brooks like his new Penguin and wanted to "kiss" it!
What a mouth! She was so happy to get a new Kindle!
Somebody got new underwear!
Grandmama opening her new calendar from us!
We had a nice Christmas full of fun, family, and lots of food! I am already thinking ahead to how I'm going to try to be more prepared this next year so that I don't feel quite so rushed just in case another bug decides to invite itself into our home. But for now we are settling back into the routine of our "normal for us" life. For us that means school and homework and dance and cub scouts along with all the other things that make up our daily lives. As much as I love Christmas and the fun it brings us, I am glad to be back to our regular every day schedules. Are you back in the routine yet or are you experiencing a Christmas hangover?