We had a lovely holiday this year and it seemed so much more relaxed and less hectic than last year. We began our Christmas celebration in church, where the kids took part in the yearly St. Pat's Christmas Pageant. I could point out all of the hilarious and embarrasing things they do, but I'll let you watch it and find them all for yourself. The play was called "Birds of Bethlehem" and they sang "Joy to the World" and "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem." Behold....
After church we went to my Grandma Neltner's house, or G.G.'s house, as her great grandkids call her. Lots of fun was had by all.
|Albert and Poppie|
|My cousin got ANOTHER "Marge in Charge" hat from the exchange. Everyone was jealous!|
|Clearly, Marge is, in fact, in charge.|
|My Aunt Sherry brought a "grab bag" of gifts for the little ones.|
We left G.G.'s with too many presents in our hands and sweets in our bellies! We got home late, but not too late to leave cookies for Santa!
|And Santa came, even though our tree was only half lit.|
|The Kindness Elves brought "The Giving Tree" for the kids before saying goodbye until next year.|
|Classic Margot face. She's probably saying, "What Da Heck?!"|
|Graeter's donuts for breakfast!|
|First gift....I was holding my breath because I wasn't sure if she'd like....|
|....her Ninja Turtle Jammies! (She loved them!)|
|Minion jammies and kitty cat robe.|
|Albert got books.|
|Goodnight Moom ABC's! Now we can stop bothering the library for it!|
|A Roald Dahl set (she loved The BFG and Matilda).|
|Margot's craft box|
|Lincoln Logs from France! They match her Daddy's old set from when he was a kid.|
|Margot gets slippers to match the rest of us (see Sylvain's in the background? We LOVE these things!)|
|Warm clothes for Albert!|
|Comic book for Papa!|
|A bathtub book for Albert, but he only wanted the paper.|
|After presents, I got to do this for a solid 30 minutes and it was HEAVEN, I tell you!|
|Grammy and Poppie came with more gifts!|
|Mulan and Shang dolls for Margot, Pocahontas and John Smith for Sylvia!|
|Some baby snuggles...|
|Uncle Jordan helps Sylvia make her jewelry box.|
|He was impressed with the glitter grout!|
|Mamie and Mark arrived with MORE gifts!|
|Sylvia finally got the elephant she's always wanted.|
|A dry erase board with easel for Margot. She loves this thing!|
....and there was plenty more. By nap time the kids had been showered with gifts and we spent some treasured time with the grandparents. We watched about four episodes of the original season of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and snacked on coffee cake and casseroles. Mamie brought tons of art supplies for Sylvia and play dough for Margot so they had a great time playing with those while Mamie and Mark were here. After naps, we put everyone in real clothes and headed out to Grandpa's house for dinner and....more presents!
|Margot shows Albert how to ride his new motorcycle rocking toy.|
|But he's clearly already an expert!|
|New games! Sylvia got Goldie Blox and Margot got Trouble.|
|I have this exact same picture with the girls as babies on Christmas Day.|
|Grandpa and Albert, best buds forever.|
We had a lovely evening and dinner with Gran and Grandpa, John, Jess and Jordan. We weren't out quite as late as the night before, but the kids were exhausted by the time we got home!
The day after Christmas we cleaned out the playroom to make way for all of our new toys and the kids have been playing their hearts out ever since. I love all the games and art and crafts for the girls and the sensory toys for Albert. We did our best to really keep it simple for Santa this year, but when you have a huge family the gifts start to seem a little excessive. We put some toys away to pull out later when the new toys lose their charm. I'm guessing in February when we're on our tenth snow day and we're all ready to snap, those hidden toys will come in handy!
All in all, it was a beautiful holiday! I could write more about how blessed and lucky I feel to have such an amazing, close family and three beautiful, healthy, funny, kind kids, but that's for another day. For tonight I'll just say that 2014 was so good to us. I was almost sad to see it end. Albert turned six months old TODAY and his baptism is right around the corner (this Sunday)! I can't believe how quickly time is flying and I'm desperately trying to enjoy every single second with these precious babies!