This year, I really wanted to savor the holidays with my sweet family and that's just what I did. We celebrated for what seemed like a week and it was great!
We started off Christmas break by making sugar cookies. One of my friends and her kids who are great friends with the boys, came over for a fun play date. Kaden loves to help in the kitchen. It's a tradition of ours to make and decorate sugar cookies each year and we had so much fun doing this with friends (even if I haven't mastered my mom's sugar cookies yet!)
The night before Santa came, my sister and her boyfriend came over for dinner and he brought the boys a gift. They loved getting an early present! A friend of mine also stopped by and brought the boys a bowling set which they played with all night. I'm a sucker, too, and let them open a family gift early. It was our 2012 family book (See a trend with the lateness here?). We sat down and looked through the whole thing together.
After baths, it was time to make a plate of cookies and a mug of milk for Santa and then leave some food for the reindeer. It was pouring down rain, so Kevin sprinkled the reindeer food on the back steps while the boys watched.
When we got upstairs, we read the Christmas story from the Bible as well as Twas the Night Before Christmas. As we were snuggling in with our sweet boys, we heard a crash. The boys thought it was Santa; I thought it was a window breaking. It turned out to be an ornament.
I love Glory Haus ornaments and had purchased a few for Kevin this year. This one, a seashell, was for our week in Sapelo Island. It didn't make it.
After the boys went to sleep, Santa stopped by.
After they opened their stockings and gifts from Santa, they opened some things from us and Kevin and I opened our gifts. Kevin was excited about his autographed Clemson football! I love everything I got and have lived in my Uggs since Christmas (I even wore them to work on Friday and brought an extra pair of shoes in case I ended up in a meeting.). K.C. had a Christmas store at his school before Christmas and we gave him some money to use to buy some gifts. He gave Kevin a Number 1 Dad flashlight and he gave me a pair of silver snowflake earrings which I wore on Christmas. I love the special gifts like those that the boys pick out themselves. Kaden had also wrapped up something special for me - a keychain, a quarter and a small stuffed heart. These things make me smile!
Later that morning, our parents came over for breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls and to visit and see what the boys got. My grandparents always came over to see what my sister and I got for Christmas on Christmas morning and I love that this tradition has continued with my parents and Kevin's parents coming to our house.
We actually did our Christmas morning with the boys on Christmas Eve which was really nice. Kevin's family has always done Christmas on Christmas Eve, so it's nothing out of the norm for us. That whole day, we did nothing but play.
After lunch, we went outside and rode scooters and had a blast. Kaden is still too small to ride his scooter, but Kevin and I were both able to ride him on it. I think we should get our own electric scooters when the kids get older!
On Christmas Eve night, we went to the candlelight service at church. I love the candlelight service, singing carols with the congregation and hearing the Christmas story. This year, our pastor shared this awesome video. It gave me chills.
Another one of the things I love about our service is that the kids have a special part. They got to go up on stage with the choir and hear the Christmas story. This year, they got glow in the dark stars to remind them of the Star that led the shepherds to the manger.
Our sweet baby was tuckered out from the day and had a nice nap in my lap during the service.
After the Christmas Eve service, we always go to my in-laws for fondue. After dinner, we all "hide" upstairs in a closet (it's large enough for all 12 of us) while Santa comes to fill our stockings. My FIL reads the Christmas Story from the Bible and my MIL recites Twas the Night Before Christmas. It's a fun tradition. The boys are still scared of Santa though. They admitted this year that they're scared of him because he makes so much noise and Mimi and Granddaddy's. I think it's cute!
On Christmas Eve night, Kevin and I went down to my parents and spent the night. We helped my mom finish wrapping gifts (it's becoming a tradition), drank hot cocoa and stayed up way too late trying to watch Christmas Vacation. The next morning, we got up and took our time opening gifts. My mom got her first Erin Condren planner and Naked eyeshadow. (I love the Naked3 Palette KT's parents gave me!). One of my gifts from my parents was a gas grill. I can't wait to get it put together and grill.
After lunch, Kevin, my dad, Dalton (my sister's boyfriend), Stephanie and I went on a dove hunt. This was my first time ever going hunting. I did the watching and I shot once. My sister on the other hand, killed a dove.
Later that afternoon, we went over to my grandma's for dinner and to celebrate with everyone. After a great dinner, we did Chinese Christmas and opened gifts. A few years ago, we started doing Chinese Christmas and it's been great. We all have so many things and the family is steadily growing with the addition of our boys, my cousin's precious kids and other cousin's girlfriends and boyfriends. It's fun just to pick up a few $15 gifts and play this game.
This year, Kaden drew the next-to-last number and K.C. drew the last number. Kaden had his eye on an Icee maker someone had opened earlier, so when it was his turn, he stole that. Poor K.C. opened a neck pillow. My uncle who hadn't played for some reason, took it from K.C. which gave him the chance to open something else. He ended up with something girly, so we of course let him choose something else. He ultimately opened something else - a candle - my boy loves candles! He was so sweet not wanting to "steal" anything and I was happy to see that he liked the candle he opened. We've lit it every day since!
Once this game was over, we opened gifts. My grandma has started giving us each one or two presents and some money for Christmas instead of shopping for everyone (there are 22 of us). The boys each got a money box with a key (they love keeping their money and treasure in random boxes hidden around our house so now they have an official, real place to store it) and some little toys. They loved them.
When we finished at Grandma's, we went back to my parents' so the boys could play and open their gifts from BeBe and Hot Rod.
After playing some and taking baths, we headed home with more toys than we need and a car full of love. I thought the boys would fall asleep on the car ride home as it was almost their bedtime and they usually do, but the excitement of Christmas kept them awake. As soon as we got home and made it to their bedroom, they were out though. They even slept late the next morning.
On Thursday night, we went out to where my granddad is in rehab and celebrated with them. He and Nana were so glad to see us and we were so thankful to be celebrating with them. It was different not going to their house (and missing Nana's cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie), but I'm so glad we were able to celebrate the way we were. And I'm continually amazed at my granddad's progress.
Christmas finished for me on Friday when one of my best friend's came to town. We went out to lunch, shopped around for some things for the boys' bathroom and hung out. It was great!
This Christmas was just the best. It wasn't the presents (although I loved everything I received), but it was the time with family and slowing down enough to soak it in.