Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014 (so far)

We've survived 3 out of our 4 Christmas gatherings...exhausted but happy to be home together and blessed to have so much of our family close enough to visit with over the holidays.

Last week we were all really sick. It was Kai's only full week of school all month and he missed 3 days due to so much coughing and congestion. We got him on antibiotics for his double ear infection and he is already doing better. As the week progressed the rest of us started to feel under the weather. Instaed of their usual jaunt to Grandma's last Thursday we all stayed home sick. Friday was Malakai's class party and I was able to swing by the school and grab all the crafts for him to do at home. I had also gone to have dental work done that morning and taken Des and Aurelia to the doctor, making myself an appointment for Monday. 4 out of 5 of us were prescribed antibiotics. Ben stayed home sick Monday and really should have stayed home more but had too much work to get done to try to do it all remotely from home. It was a whirlwind of a week and a half leading up to Christmas. We did as much as we could in advance to avoid late nights of wrapping gifts and making food for the upcoming events. 

Ben worked a half day Christmas eve and as soon as he got home we hit the ground running. We were all feeling well enough to celebrate, so we headed to church and then to his parents to gather with all his siblings. We had a great dinner and quite the gift exchange.
{Aurelia's 1st Christmas Eve in a dress I made her}

{these boys could hardly contain their excitement} 

Our tradition is to open one gift on Christmas eve (hint: it's always pajamas), read T'was the Night before Christmas, leave cookies for Santa and head to bed. We were out fairly late, and having anticipating as much we brought the PJ's with us and I set the cookies out for the boys who had passed out on the short drive home. 

We had Christmas morning at home, just the 5 of us. The boys even tolerated waiting for Aurelia to sleep in a bit while they snuggled up with daddy on the couch after a quick breakfast. Once I got my coffee we let the kids dig into their gifts from Santa and then from us. Our rules on gifts is to keep it simple, so we always have a pretty minimalist Christmas, and we like it that way. Each kiddo got a few presents from Santa, and 2 gifts from us. Ben and I also got a few gifts from Santa and 1 thing for each other. 

{my precious gifts}

We had a pretty leisure morning and early afternoon letting the kids play with their gifts, read and color and watch a Christmas special. Then we scrambled to get out of the house for our 2 family gatherings that day. We had dinner with my Aunt + Uncle on my dad's side and dessert at my Aunt + Uncle's and my mom's side of the family. Thankfully we snapped some photos before leaving the house because everything else happened in such a blur that we barely took any pictures once we left the house. 

{Aurelia in her Christmas dress from Mima}

We dragged ourselves home just before 9pm, carried sleeping kiddos into the house and snuggled up to watch A Christmas Story (which Ben had never seen), then promptly passed out from sheer exhaustion. 

Today we purposefully planned absolutely nothing. We've been eating at odd hours and watching a little tv between playing with new toys and reading new books together. 

Tomorrow is our last Christmas gathering, with my parents + siblings, and we'll have a small celebration for my birthday as well. The best part is that both Ben + Malakai are on vacation for another 10 days and I'm enjoying ever minute of it. 

I hope you've had a very happy Christmas and here's to a healthy and blessed new year in 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

featured artist: b.lovely photography

Friends- remember that amazing giveaway a while back featuring Amy of Life Love Oils? Well, her family is full of amazing talent and her sister Breanne is no exception. Click on over to b.lovely photography to check out her portfolio of gorgeous images. I just love how she captures families in their natural state.

Lucky for all you locals she is in town, but for a limited time. She is currently running a special, so do yourself a favor and contact her at for more information, including her exclusive pricing and to schedule a session before she's back on the other side of the country. 

We have a session with her after Christmas, once all the craziness is behind us but we are still on vacation. I can't wait to share our photos with you once she's done!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trimming the tree...more Christmastime photos

When we got our Christmas tree we brought it in later that afternoon and decorated it that night. I love watching my kids put ornaments on the tree and marvel over the twinkly lights. I know they won't want to help with this tradition forever, so I try to take it in while it's still fun for everyone. 

Ben snapped a few of these pictures from outside our front window. I love seeing him use his creative talents.

Here are a few more shots of Aurelia in our baby santa outfit. Later I moved her nearer the tree and she stared at the lights and watched her brothers hang ornaments.

Growing up we had to take turns with the honor of putting the topper on the tree after all the other decorations are on. We started doing that with the boys this year...

Surprisingly enough, with a new baby and three kids total our house looks more festive than it ever has this time of year. We've got a fun mix of handmade, gifted, store bought and kid-made decorations  throughout the house. My only regret is not buying a matching stocking and holder when I got the boys theirs years ago. Target no longer carries the silver letters we put on each boy's stocking, nor the type of stocking we got them. They are currently out of stock of the holders that we hang them from, so I'm waiting for them to either restock or hopefully still carry them (or something similar) next year. It's not the end of the world but I just think it would be cute to have them match or at least coordinate. 

More on our Christmastime festivities to come...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

my little santas

Each of our kids has worn this santa costume for their first Christmas time, usually while we decorate the tree. This was first my brother Cody's so it's 20-something year's old at this point. I can't wait to pass it back to my siblings some day for more pictures like these...

Malakai was 5 months at his first Christmas in 2009. Desmond was just over 2 months in 2011 and Aurelia will be 3.5 months for hers this year. 

Love my little santa babies...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Picking out our Christmas tree

Last weekend was our annual trip to the tree farm. A few years ago we were looking for a place to get a tree that would shake it out (because we'd had two unfortunate issues with infested trees). Not only do we get a great tree with all the crawlies shaken out, but usually there is a horse-drawn ride. Sadly they weren't able to acquire horses this year, so it was a tractor ride, but we still had a good time. 

{the girls: my sister Amanda, Aurelia + I, and my mom Tami}

The weather was perfect, not only dry but actually warm! After these photos I tossed my coat in the car. 

{because, why not?}

{My girl's first tractor/trailor ride}

The tractor ride was decidedly more smelly and bumpy than the horses so we got off at the first stop. Just before stopping my mom spotted this bright green beauty and we snagged it without having to look at any others, which is ideal when young children are in tow.

{our sad attempt at taking a photo with our chosen tree}

{I love this little illustration of our tree coming down}

After walking back to the main entrance we settled in by the fire for hot cocoa and candy canes while Ben took care of the tree shaking and bailing business. 

 {sticky, sticky, sticky}

And we headed back home in record time...

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