Friday, December 26, 2014

Scenes from Christmas 2014

The presents have been opened, the food cooked and eaten, the movies watched, the memories made, the love shared.  Christmas 2014 is officially in the books, and it was a great one.  When I was growing up, Christmas was always big and fun and so wonderful, but to see Christmas through the eyes of your children?  There is just nothing in the world that trumps it.  If I didn't receive a single thing, it would be fine because they were so happy and so excited to see what Santa had brought.  This was the first year that all three kids really "got it," and understood that Santa was coming and they'd have presents in the morning, and their energy and excitement was palpable, and certainly contagious!  So here are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in pictures, and 'm sure you can feel the excitement and the joy we all experienced this Christmas. 

I loved that this was how our Christmas started.  Ben was up a little earlier than usual on Christmas Eve, so I got him out of bed and we just snuggled on the sofa and watched cartoons before everyone else got up.  We stopped traveling on Christmas 3 years ago just so we could enjoy more moments like this, instead of having to be on the road during the holidays.  We were able to get up slowly and on our own schedule, relax and enjoy wonderful quality time together.

But then it didn't take long before we were all anxious to get up and start baking!  All the kids were excited to help make Christmas cookies, so I let everyone help in shifts, so it wouldn't be such a battle in the kitchen.  It worked beautifully!  Ben was up first, and who knew he would be such a great helper!  Better than the girls!  He did exactly what I asked him to, and he really channeled his energy into what he was doing.  I may have a new dinner sous chef!

Then the girls helped.  They really did a great job, as long as I gave them very specific tasks.

Christmas Cookie and Candy Bark 

Hershey Kiss and Pretzel Candies

I really wanted to make good ole fashioned roll-out, cut-out Christmas sugar cookies, but was so hesitant because of the mess.  I am all for doing pretty much anything in the kitchen, as long as I can contain the mess, an I wasn't so sure that we were going to be able to contain this!  But, I figured if there was ever a time, it was Christmas, and that messes can be cleaned up.  So we jumped right in!  The mess was certainly made.  But the girls had a ball.  And the mess wasn't as bad as expected, and cleaned up quickly.  They were so proud of their cookies and were so excited to leave them for Santa!

And this kid in this t shirt kept me smiling all day. Don't Stop Believin', y'all. :)

I actually ended up spending most of the day in kitchen, without really meaning to!  After all our cookie baking and candy making was done, it was time to cook our Christmas dinner.  Christmas Day is always so busy with present opening and playing, that I didn't want to be cooking all day, and would rather do it Christmas Eve.  That way we can munch on cheese plates, and from relish trays all day on Christmas, and make a traditional ham and vegetable soup with the ham bone for dinner.  It worked out perfectly.  We made a great dinner using Alton Brown's City Ham recipe (no-fail, easy homemade ham recipe that I've done a few times, and it delicious), and all homemade sides: mashed potatoes, green beans, mac and cheese, and collard greens.  I c an't believe I didn't get a picture of everything else, but at least got one of the main attractions, the ham!

My beautiful, beautiful blessings all dressed for Christmas dinner.  Not sure what I did to deserve them.

Waiting for dinner!

And of course, after dinner, we went ahead and changed into our (custom Goat & Lulu :)) pajamas, hunkered down for hot chocolate, popcorn, and Christmas family movie night!  We settled on Mickey's Christmas Carol, and cuddled up next to the fire.

After the movie was over, we got out our Santa cookie plate, and selected a nice variety for him, added a mug of milk, and a few carrots for his reindeer. :)

Then once the kids were all nestled and snug in their beds (after giving stern warnings against sneaking out or coming down to mom and dad's room), Santa's elves got to work!  We had two big presents to put together, and the rest to set out, and stockings to stuff, so we had to get going.  Scott worked on the girls' Barbie Jeep, and I hammered away on Ben's Thomas the Train and Track.

The train was much easier than the jeep!

It didn't end up taking as long as I was expecting, and by 10:00, all was complete!  Santa had come, left tons of wonderful gifts, and went on his way!  So his elves promptly popped a bottle of their favorite champagne, and watched movies on tv!

So then the fun began on Christmas morning!  Scott was afraid the girls would wake up and come downstairs, and see everything before we were ready, so we went ahead and went in Ben's room to get him up so he could go upstairs and wake up the girls.  We sent him up yelling, "Santa came, Bee-Bee and Gay-Cee!  Santa came!"  They came bounding down (once we were ready, of course) and were most excited to see Elsa and Anna dolls than they were about the Jeep!

Ben just giggled and giggled riding his train. Definitely his favorite gift. :)

The girls wore their Elsa and Anna dresses, hats, and shoes all day, only to take them off to switch, and when we went outside a little later on.  And then the dresses went right back on!

I made my mom's breakfast casserole the day before so all I would have to do Christmas morning would be to pop it in the oven, and that was awesome!  I also fried up some bacon and put a little Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree together for the kids.  Both took no time, and yummy.

Best breakfast casserole ever.  Thanks, mom!

Scott had fun jamming with his little musicians and their new guitars.  Ben had some creative ways of playing, but Brantley was getting the hang of it. :)

The funniest part of the day, though, was when Frozen came on one of the movie channels, and Brantley insisted that she and Grayson act out each and every scene of the whole movie in their own respective characters.  It was HILARIOUS!  She and Grayson (and Bennett too,for that matter!) pretty much have the whole movie memorized, and so they sang every word, ran around the room, proposed marriage, and did everything else in the movie.  It was so, so funny.

After Frozen concluded (thank goodness), we went outside to ride in the Jeep!  And of course, the girls wanted to wear their new cowboy hats, cowboy boots (from our trip to Nashville!), and bandannas. :)  Gracie will need some practice, but Brantley got the hang of it pretty quickly.  Ben was fine to swing first, which was great, since I was a little afraid we would have a fight on our hands!

It was a very mild and sunny day, but a little damp from a rainy Christmas Eve, but we had a fun time outside with the kids.  We came back in and changed clothes again (back into the dresses for the girls :)), and did more lounging.  Scott took the ham bone from yesterday, and with a bunch of veggies, made a delicious ham and vegetable soup that is only rivaled by my mom's.  It was the perfect easy meal to a fun filled day of love, family, and celebration.

We had a very Merry Christmas, just relaxing at home and spending time with each other.  I hope that you enjoyed your day, with family or friends, with food or serving others, and reflected on what beautiful blessings you have in your life.  Merry Christmas, friends!  See you next week!

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