More Christmas photos from the month of December.
Random photos of family, friends, and Christmas festivities.
Get comfortable because there are A LOT of photos!
We've had such a good month celebrating Christmas with our family and friends.
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Three things I didn't get photos of but wanted to remember.
Will and Ben received special Christmas stockings from my sweet aunt and uncle. They were thoughtfully filled with all sorts of candy and fun things that the boys loved. In the stockings, the boys even got their first red egg of silly putty. It's a classic toy that they've played with over and over. I even showed them the old newspaper trick where you can copy the words onto the silly putty.
One other thing I didn't have photos of was Christmas day lunch with Mark's brother and family. My sister-in-law has family out of state just like I do and it's really nice of them to invite us over. We get to see what everyone got for Christmas and hang out for a little while and since they are close by then we head home.
The boys had well-child checkups on December 23rd. Both were healthy and right on target for growth. That was probably the best Christmas present we could ever hope for. I never take for granted our health, and I'm thankful for quality healthcare workers and doctors who take good care of us. We are blessed!
I forgot to show you Will and Ben's photo with Santa this year.
We received the sweetest package in the mail all the way from Seattle. Our dear friend Kayreen mailed us some very cool gifts. The boys got these clever race cars made out of erasers and they were called "eracers", get it? Witty!
Our "adopted big sister" Ashley came over and exchanged Christmas gifts with our family. She even offered us a free night of babysitting as one of our gifts. I can't wait to take her up on that offer.
Poor Will and Ben have a mom who loves to take photos of them.
If there's a Christmas tree, then they are posing by it for a photo, like it or not, ha!
Will's enthusiasm or lack thereof is obvious in this photo.
He wasn't feeling the Christmas spirit as much as Ben and I were.
I mentioned that we had a magical elf , Bill, visit our house this year here. These are a few of the places we found our elf. He also managed to get in every Christmas tree in our house, he was in my Christmas stocking one morning, he spent some time hanging out in the winter village we had set up, and he played with Ben's Imaginext Batman toys.
In these photos Bill was asleep in the tissue box in the boys' bathroom, he's eating our gingerman cookies in the kitchen, he's reading our Christmas cards by the winter village, and drinking out of our new Starbucks cups.
Y'all this is my favorite! I love all of the Christmas cards we received!
I keep all of the photo cards we get each year. I just looked through all of the ones we've been given since we got married in 2002. The first year we were married I also kept all of the traditional cards we received. It's special to see the names and read the messages from our loved ones. Several have passed away in the previous years, and it was sentimental and sweet to see their handwriting.
I wrote about our Christmas tradition of the boys exchanging books here. We decided to let the boys trade books a little earlier than we normally do. It ended up working out better. I usually wait until Christmas Eve and everyone is tired. I like spacing things out better and it's more enjoyable.
One other thing I did this year that was different with our Christmas traditions was not wrapping our Christmas books. We have enough books to read a different one each night of December before Christmas. Instead of having them wrapped up and selecting one each night we just looked at the ones we wanted to read together and skipped over any that we didn't. I won't ever wrap the books again. Too much work.
Christmas is time for baking! I tried a new recipe this year for Christmas Eve breakfast/brunch with Mark's family. I took Cranberry Bliss Bars (recipe here from SkinnyTaste). If you like the Starbucks version (and we sure do!) you'll enjoy this healthier recipe. My mother-in-law, nephew, and Will were all big fans. Will's already requested that I make some more.
Christmas Eve with Mark's side of the family.
We are lucky to have everyone live close enough to get together for most major holidays. The boys love having cousins to play with. Some of my best childhood memories are from holidays with my family and playing with my cousins. I hope the same for Will and Ben. My sweet nieces and nephews are such fun and the kids always seem to have a blast together. My mother-in-law is a terrific hostess and I really enjoy our time together with Mark's family.
Back at our house doing all of the things necessary to get ready for Santa to come.
Will put out special reindeer food on the front sidewalk.
The boys left cookies and eggnog for Santa,
and they checked Santa's movements on the NORAD Santa tracker.
and they checked Santa's movements on the NORAD Santa tracker.
You can read all about Christmas morning here.
Post Christmas Fun
Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean the fun has to stop. It continued when our friends visited for the day. One of Mark's oldest friends has a son the age of Will. The boys have exchanged books for Christmas since they were little. We've managed to keep the tradition alive. This year we gave Dade a Bible and Will got more books from the I Survived series and Ben got a superheroes book.
Love these boys!
One glimpse of our Christmas decorations.
This could possibly be the last Christmas we spend at this house. I was all sorts of sentimental and nostalgic as I packed away the decorations we've collected over the years. If things happen the way we think they will (Lord willing), then we will begin building our farmhouse this spring, which means that next year at Christmas we would be in a new home. We will have the same decorations but it was still bittersweet to put them away for the last time here.
I wanted to share this quote I came across about Christmas from Caroline Kennedy,
"It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers, But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul."