Friday, December 31, 2010


Almost a week later and I am barely posting about our Christmas.  My computer has been hijacked by lots of ipod touches and little kids.  And I was kidnapped by Angry Birds.  But life is now settling down  and I figured it was time to document these memories before all of the Christmas decorations are put away for another year which will hopefully happen this weekend.         

Raise your hand if you're excited for Christmas and presents! 

Christmas morning at our house is a free for all.  There's no structure or routine.  Some of the kids check their stockings first.  Others run for the big, unwrapped gift from Santa while others choose to open presents found under the tree.  It takes hours to wrap all of these gifts and minutes to have them all unwrapped.  

Morgan told Santa she wanted "toys" for Christmas.  She wouldn't give any more details than that so I took her shopping down the toy aisle and she loved all of the Baby Alive dolls.  She loves the one that Santa chose for her Christmas surprise.  She spends lots of time feeding her bananas and pushing her around in her stroller.   

This girl has been obsessed with Rapunzel after seeing the movie "Tangled".  All she wanted for Christmas was a "Punzel doll".  And Santa delivered just what she wanted, at least until she saw Morgan's doll and she decided she didn't want anything to do with her 'Punzel doll whose mouth wouldn't open up to eat bananas and drink juice.

Everyone loved the gifts Hadley personally bought for them.  Gavin really loved his new Chia Pet.  I think he even said something about it being his favorite gift this year!

Mia and her new pink Santa hat that Hadley gave her Christmas.  She loved it!

The only thing Griffin wanted for Christmas was a "big boy Star Wars bed".  He's still sleeping in a crib and thought it was time to take the step to a big bed.  He's big enough that he just climbs in and out of his bed every night and morning.  Imagine our surprise when we tried to order a bed from Santa's workshop a few days before Christmas and found out it would take 4-6 weeks for special orders.  So it's a mattress on the floor for now.  And he couldn't care less!

The big present for Jack, Ryan and Hadley was a surprise Mexican Riviera cruise in January.  This present was quite the headache.  We had it all worked out and purchased.  A fun Carnival cruise.  The Splendor.  Maybe you've heard of it.  It made the news when it started on fire and got stuck in the middle of the ocean for several days.  The first sailing after repairs was going to be our trip.  January 16th.  Then a few days before Christmas they announced that the repairs were more extensive than initially anticipated and would need to cancel all cruises until mid-February.  Not sure what we were going to do since this was the bulk of my older kids Christmas and a trip to Disneyland just wouldn't compare to a cruise.  We lucked out and were able to book the same cruise ports with Holland America.  Can't wait!  It's always so nice to get away in January after the excitement of the holidays has passed and the cold hasn't.

We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of gourmet french toast with homemade syrup made by Gavin and then got ready, and by ready I mean, we got in the car all fully dressed in our jammies and went up to my parents' home for brunch and more gift exchanging.

Grandma kept the doors closed to the living room and wouldn't let the grandkids in until all of their parents were ready to capture all of the memories.  Looks like the line to the best ride at Disneyland.

First things first.  A picture of the big kids with the same (handmade by mom) stockings we've had since we were little.

Then it was time for the gift opening.  Youngest to oldest.

Morgan shows her excitement and gratitude to grandma for all of her Christmas gifts.

Rilee and Hadley opened their matching gifts together.

The boys can always count on grandma and grandpa to get them all "Jazzed" up.  New hats, hoodies and basketballs.  And two very happy boys!  Now if they could just get home to play their new Xbox.

I am blessed with an amazing family!  And now I have a framed picture to prove it!

Grandma and Grandpa surrounded by their grandchildren (minus the Rushing 5)

As Griffin went to sleep in his new bed for the first time I told him not to worry that Santa was delivering his big bed as soon as it was all made at the workshop and then we could get rid of the crib in his room.  A look of panic came over his face as soon as he heard those words come out of my mouth.  No the crib stays right there!  And my big bed will go right here! (pointing to the mattress on his floor).  Maybe he's not ready to grow up as quickly as he thought.  So for now . . . it's just the way he wants it.

Another favorite part of Christmas is being able to catch up with friends while they are in town for the holidays. 

We've spent a week doing lots of this and that.  Playing with new toys.  Sleeping in.  Staying in jammies all day long.  Watching lots of new snow fall.  And wondering if we still have two teenagers (one not quite a teenager) who live in this home.  There have been a few sightings when they get hungry enough to leave the basement to come up for a quick bowl of cereal and then head right back downstairs to play their new Christmas gift.  The Xbox

Now time to get my house ready for a big New Year's Eve bash tonight.  Wishing you all a very happy celebration tonight.  Excited for all of the adventures the new year holds.  Happy Twenty Eleven!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 24 {'Twas the night before Christmas}

We started this tradition a few years ago and it's quickly become one of my kids favorite things to do during the Christmas season ----- gathering together with their cousins the night before Christmas for dinner, starring in the nativity play and receiving their very own wise men gifts.

You probably don't need me to tell you that these three little 4 year old boys stole the show.  They seriously have to be the cutest wise men, ever!

Ryan made a great Joseph again.  I think this is a recurring role for him.

Hadley quickly took over as the director and handed out all of the parts to everyone.  That's probably why she ended up as the narrator and with the most speaking parts.  Mia was downstairs and didn't want to come up and participate in the beginning.  Then she walked into the room and couldn't get into character quick enough.  Sadly the part of Mary had already been claimed but that didn't stop her from carrying around the Baby Jesus and thinking she was the star of the play.

Jack really took his role as "Innkeeper #3" seriously.  Armed with a knight's shield and breast plate.

Aunt Rae read The Fourth Wise Man to all of the kids after the play ended.  Which meant it was almost time to pass out the wise men gifts. Gold = worldly gift.  Red = sentimental/spiritual gift.  Green= necessity. (Sorry about mixing up the colors this year Rae. :)

The red gifts (sentimental/spiritual) were the biggest hit this year.  I made photobooks for Morgan and Ryan (was hoping to get them done for all of the kids but ran out of time.  Next year!).  Morgan kept saying over and over, "I love this book!  I love this book!"

Jack and Hadley got scripture stickers and Jack immediately went and got his scriptures so he could start putting the stickers on the verses.

Ryan got a photo book full of his football highlights from his years in little league football.  He loved it!  Don't let that middle finger and serious face fool you!

Then it was time to open all of the cousin gifts.  Jack started and was excited to get two new books, maybe not initially as he was nervously looking for the gift receipt, but he read a few chapters and decided they look like good books after all.

Ryan got a gift card to Barnes and Noble

My girl can't get enough of arts and crafts and was very excited with this AG pom-pom scarf kit.

Morgan loved her new princess barbie set.

But Griffin was the winner.  None of us even realized there was a contest going on but Griffin let us know.  "I'm the winner!  I'm the winner!  My present is the biggest!!!"  And he was right.  His present definitely was the biggest present.

Mia could barely hold her new gifts.

Nothing is better than new Christmas jammies.  They loved them so much we decided to let them stay in them for several days!  Love Christmas break!

Even Nan and Papa joined in the fun via Skype.

One last thing before going to bed.  Cookies and milk for Santa.  And sparkly food for the reindeer.

Jack and Ryan had their own little plan.  They secretively ran around the yard setting out piles of reindeer food.  Funny thing . . . those reindeer must have been seriously hungry because all of their piles were gone in the morning.

And here's a little peek of our family room after Santa's visit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 23 {Neighbor Gifts}

The kids love delivering the neighbor gifts and passing out their friends' gifts too.  I was surprised how excited Griffin and Mia were to do the friend gifts this year.  They loved driving around to their friends houses and got so excited to get out of the car to take their gift up to the door.  

Simple and sweet.  Thin Mints.

Griffin gave his buddies a growing dinosaur.  Here's his best scary dinosaur face.

Jack and Ryan gave footballs and annoying horns to their friends.  Hadley gave hot chocolate and pink marshmallows.  Mia gave her friends a little fairy doll and had a hard time not keeping one for herself.

Morgan still needs to pick out her gift for her bestie.  Grace gave Morgan the sweetest Christmas present this year.  She made her a fleece pillow and gave her a Christmas story book.  Morgan is so lucky to have Gracey as her best friend!