Friday, January 3, 2014

Holiday Recap 2013

As always, Christmas zoomed by in a blur. We ventured out to get our tree the day after Thanksgiving again this year.

We had a great time this year re-visiting the "reason for the season" with Malakai and teaching it to Desmond. We did an advent calendar that I made from a few inspirations floating across the internet. I may be able to get one more good use out of it next year before it falls apart. They loved to "poke the number" and listen to part of the Christmas story while eating a small treat (sometimes a chocolate chip, sometimes a peppermint mini marshmallow) each night after dinner.

We read multiple books about Jesus' birth connecting it to why we give gifts at Christmas. We even played along with the craze that is Elf on The Shelf along the way. The boys named our elf "Friddle" and he didn't get into any trouble at our house. He also wasn't here to watch for behavior, just for fun. At our house Santa believes in grace, so naughty or nice everyone gets gifts to celebrate Jesus' birth. The boys LOVED waking up to find out where Friddle would be each morning, for us it  turned out to basically be a festive game of hide and seek. Friddle did write them a letter at the end of his time here this season to make sure they understood he wouldn't be back until next year.

Malakai got really into writing lists and letters over the last month. He made a list for Santa that included a snowboard after the big snow we had early in the month. We had a few talks about what would happen if he didn't get exactly what was on his list.

On the 22nd we made like crazy people and took the boys to the mall to visit Santa. We aren't big on visiting Santa. 2 years ago Kai just stood next to Santa while he held Des who was just 2 months old. We didn't even bother last year. Des was at the age Kai was when he was afraid of Santa (2 years in a row) so we just didn't worry about it.  Malakai asked to visit him this year, he was so sweet and very excited that we decided to surprise him after church. Thankfully it was the best time to go as it was just before the lunch rush. We did wait about half an hour but they were both really well behaved through it and rocked when we got to Santa. They both sat on his lap, smiled and kindly told Santa what they'd like for Christmas. I almost cried out of pure shock at how well it went.

Ben has been on vacation since the 23rd so we've thoroughly enjoyed having him home. It also really opened up our ability to get together with multiple parts of the family over the week. We exchanged gifts with my parents and siblings on the morning of the 24th, went to the Christmas Eve service at our church that afternoon and then had dinner and exchanged gifts with Ben's parents, siblings and their significant others. It was a long day, but a really good one.

{gifts at G'Pa + Mima's}

{gifts at Grandpa + Grandma's}

When we got home we let the boys open their traditional gift of Christmas jammies, snuggled up in them and they listened to daddy read The Night Before Christmas.
{my new favorite picture of the boys, so precious and magical}

They were pretty excited and Des took a bit to get to sleep, but once they were out we finished some wrapping and got the house ready for the next morning.

The boys woke up to find a half eaten cookie and a note from Santa. Kai was thrilled, but didn't understand why Santa didn't eat ALL the cookies. Sweet boy.

My sister-in-law Kristi made cinnamon rolls for everyone the night before so we heated those up and had a special breakfast before getting to gifts. We opened stocking gifts from Santa and exchanged gifts from each other. Ben and I haven't done gifts for each other beyond stockings the last few years and it works really well for us. Each kiddo gets a "big" present which I got great deals on so we kept spending very low this year. Kai got a remote control helicopter, which he is learning to use with daddy. We got Des a Little People Nativity set that he loves to arrange and play pretend with.

This year we had nearly the whole day to ourselves, it was very relaxing. We even snuck in a little Christmas nap, which was at the top of my wish list! Late that afternoon we headed to my aunt and uncle's for dinner and gift exchanges.

When we got home Desmond was struggling to go to sleep (that has been his thing for the past few months, we are very tired all the time) so while I waited for Ben to soothe him I lay down and fell 8pm! So we called it an early night.

The next day was pretty low key until we had some more family over for dinner and our final gift exchange. It was nice to fill out home with people, it had been far too long. It's always a nice incentive to keep things clean and tidy as well!
{gifts with great-uncle Richard and great-aunt Jennifer, playing trains in their new chairs with Aunt Nans}

In the days since our Christmas celebrations we celebrated my birthday and the New Year. I'm so blessed by the generosity of our family. My husband put together a small gathering of our immediate families and everyone pitched in with food, all we had to do was show up!

New Year's Eve we spent a few hours with my siblings over dinner, but put the kids to bed at their regular time. They struggle with sleeping all night anyway so we didn't think keeping them up til midnight would be worth it. I didn't even make it. We were watching something on Netflix, Ben paused and got up for a few minutes and I had passed out before he came back. We called it a night at 11:30, which is even earlier than last year when we gave up at 11:50. I do think we should get a sitter and go out next year to do something different…we'll see if I still feel that way at the end of the year.
{reading with Aunt Nans and making glittery NYE crowns}

{showing off our lovely crowns, Kai wore his ALL night and wanted to sleep in it}

Ben's vacation and the holidays have gone by in a blur. Despite all the hustle and bustle we did have multiple chances to spend time just the 4 of us playing and relaxing, for that I am so very grateful.

I'm not much for resolutions but I'm looking forward to setting goals for myself and our family and at the top of the list is to seek God first and teach our boys to do the same.

Happy New Year!

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