My mother and grandfather came for the day on Saturday before Christmas to give the kids their presents. She got them an easel, a huge hit I must say!!!
My daddy, step mom, sister and her whole family came on Tuesday before Christmas to spend the week with us. We had such a great time and grandaddy got lots of quality one-on-one time with all the older grandkids since we mother's and grandmother took off to do some last minute shopping and the dads went fishing!! He was a great sport to watch all 4 by himself and the kids had so much fun!!! (disclaimer: my father is not preaching to them; the swing was an airplane all week and they were getting ready for take off!!)
Since Betsy and her family were leaving Christmas eve to go back to their house for Christmas morning, we cooked our big Christmas dinner for lunch on Friday and then opened presents with them. I am so glad we did it that way because after Christmas morning, I was NO GOOD to any one!
James received his first sword from Matthew for Christmas. He got his next 2 from Santa. That makes a total of 3 swords now owned by our 3 yr old son.
Uncle Frank even came on Thursday to spend the night and we enjoyed having him so much. We sat around Thursday night and talked and laughed so hard that my daddy ended up on the floor at one point! I haven't laughed that hard in forever. It was so nice to have everyone in our home!! Below is our attempt to get a pic with the kids and Unkie. Between the glare that for some reason was always on Unk's glasses no matter how many shades we closed and the kids totally over pictures, this is the best we could do. At least Hannah is smiling pretty!
Jon and I hadn't really planned on playing the whole Santa game with the kids but we couldn't resist this year. 3 years old has got to be the best age ever for Christmas! They had so much fun this year and it was so special to watch them enjoying this time year just like we did when we were kids!! It was so much fun to hear the excitement in their voices and the joy on their faces. Below, they are leaving reindeer food for the Santa's reindeer and I realize that we were probably supposed to sprinkle it in the yard and that their are 8 reindeer and 2 plates probably didn't fill them up but the thought of having to clean up "reindeer food" from the yard when it was freezing out side was just unbearable!! And it's a good thing the kids can't count yet!!
Nonie reading to them while James took a breathing treatment. They L-o-v-e-d that old Grinch!!
I feel like I need to address our decision to play the Santa game with our kids, only because of the position my husband holds as a minister. Some people think it's not a good idea to "teach their kids the Santa lie" and that is perfectly fine. NO problem with feeling that way. When I was growing up, I never believed in Santa and it didn't ever bother me. My parents chose not to help me believe that he was real and I don't feel that I suffered in any way for that decision!! Christmas was still just as fun. Jon on the other hand, grew up believing in Santa. His parents chose to help him believe Santa was real while he was a young child. And Jon certainly doesn't feel that he suffered in any way for believing in a fairytale for a few years. We are careful to make sure our children know WHY we celebrate Christmas at all and WHY we celebrate it with giving gifts to one another. But, we see no harm to our children by playing along with them while they are so very young and innocent. Our kids are smart and pretty soon they will figure it out, that there is no way Santa can be real. But we have made the decision to play along for these next few years, while it brings them such joy!! So, I hope we aren't offending any one with our Santa games but if we are, we apologize.
Leaving Santa his cookies!!
Ready for bed so that Santa can come!
The tree after Santa came!
Christmas morning was great!! When they rushed in and saw all the gifts they squealed with delight! James jumped right in, ripping open packages, and exclaiming at every one "This is just what I wanted" before tossing it over his shoulder to grab the next one!! It was great. Audrey on the other hand was so shy that I had to open the first 3 for her before she finally warmed up to the idea. When she finally got into opening her own, she would gently tear the paper and examine each gift carefully before I reminded her that she had more. It was priceless to watch their different reactions!!
I made the huge mistake of taking Jon shopping with me for James this year. I mean seriously, what 3 year old little boy do you know of that needs a double barrel shot gun??? I think daddy is enjoying it more than Bubba is.
It's the simple things in life that bring us such joy!
"No, you can't have the princess back! Get back, get back." Those boys had so much fun having sword fights Christmas day and every day since then! This picture has to be my favorite of the day. Everybody was playing their part to the max. Audrey was prancing around being all delicate when the evil dragon snatched her up and her knight in shining armor came to her rescue (or at least tried too!).
The princess with her Cinderella coach that she has hardly played with since she opened it!
The knight in shining armor is down for the count. He was so funny falling down being dead. A little gruesome, I know, for a 3 year old but he was having so much fun!!!