Thursday, December 26, 2013


Apparently, because I'd missed out on some of Christmas Eve, my body was NOT willing to miss out on Christmas Day.  Just like those commercials of the kids going to Disneyland the next morning, unable to go to sleep because they are just "too excited!" - that was me upon going to bed (and not falling asleep until midnight) - and then not able to fall back asleep after 3am.  Well, let's just start this most special of days bright and early.  =)

I got to be Santa Claus and put the presents out (we wrap in big boxes, so don't let the pic fool you - plus, none of the presents actually fit under the tree based on where it's located).   I packed for Sunriver, shredded some rotisserie chicken, and prepped for breakfast - and watched "Miracle on 34th Street" while I merrily hummed about (headache free - Hallelujah!)  

Mikayla actually never fell back asleep after waking up super early too - her and John snuggled together in the bedroom for a couple of hours before the family finally decided to get the party started at 6am.  (We're crazy, I know). 

We torture the kids and make them wait until we have the perfect camera shot of them racing down the hallway to see the's kind of a fun game to play.

And, definitely worth it to capture these expressions.  =)

Stockings come first - including Sydney's special treats.  

Then gifts from the kids to each other and us.  They were very thoughtful and attentive with what they picked out this year - well done you two!!!!

The big gifts were the last ones.  Mikayla and I finally joined the family with I-Phones (which I've been obsessed with since receiving) - and John and Brayden opened John's final gift - the very-hard-get-our-hands-on "PS4".  (Again, spoiled).  

Breakfast morning was our typical.  Though, I've got to be honest, by the time breakfast arrived at 8am, 5 hours after three out of four of us actually woke up - we were kind of getting a little cranky.  Especially as Brayden was determined to record our annual "What were the highlights of this year?/How do you believe God wants to work in you in 2014?" questions we ask on this morning.  Brayden was the only one with a decent night sleep, and was not required to take his ADHD medicine - so, I think you can see where things might not have gone so smoothly.  ;)

By noon, we were out at Mom and Dad's house.  A few shots of some of her decor:

Christmas dinner comes early for our family - at about 12:45 this year.  It's always concluded with a family rendition of "Partridge in the Pear Tree".  This year, Nati gets the award for being the one who couldn't rein in her goofiness.  Usually Brayden gets that honor.   And, for the record, dinner was delicious.  (And, yes, John took the picture again - we forgot the tripod.  I need to add that to my "Take out to Mom and Dad's Christmas Day List")

It's always difficult to control the kids' patience with all those gifts leering at them....torturing them, and then having them have to wait until dinner is over, all the "clean up" has been done (not sure when they'll realize it would go a lot faster if they chipped in more!) - and we all change into our cozy clothes.

But, finally the time came to distribute all of our gifts and set up the rotation on which each group got to open up and when.  (It's quite a process, because we really want to emphasize being grateful and letting everyone see them open the present others put time and effort into picking out for them).

The first couple of presents were ones that were "alike" for all the girls and then the boys.  Walkie Talkies to use in Sunriver for the girls -

And, these super cool "Bunjee" Gaming Chairs for the boys.  They are pretty sweet, let me tell you!

On to some random photo shots-

We got Dad a book of memories for him to fill out (an Autobiography) - he wanted to know where he could Google to access the information - or who would be writing it out for him.  =)  Dad has an incredible memory, so I'm excited to see this get put to use.  

The boys, however, didn't quite "get it" - I couldn't help but snap this as they awaited their turn for Dad and Mom to be done opening....

To fill some of the lulls, a contest was made as to who could make the most shots of rolled up wrapping paper into the box in the middle of the room.  Brayden was victorious!  =)

Traig, AKA "Ferb", got himself a blanket he'd really wanted for out at Harlow during the night time camp fires. 

 The "Hump Day" commercial has been an "inside joke" with Michael since one of the gals he works with came in one Wednesday repeating "Mike, Mike, Mike".  I couldn't resist getting him this shirt.

The finale gift was another picture book for Mom and Dad - "Volume 2 of Bragging Rights".  I realized two Sundays before Christmas that the last one had been put together in 2009, so it might be time for another.  Because of coupon and shipping restrictions, the whole thing had to be compiled by 9 o'clock that night.  Nothing like a little pressure.  ;)  But, I think it prevented me from over-thinking it - and between Michele shooting me pics all day and providing "Interview Results" from the kids, we got it done with a little time to spare.  So worth it when you see the smile on Mom and Dad's faces....

Next year, I will also write down on my list that I need to avoid a Christmas Eve migraine and get more than 3 hours of sleep the night before Christmas.  But, besides that, there was very little I would have changed - we are so blessed.

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