(please feel free to sing to the appropriate tune)...
On the first day of Christmas (Saturday, December 22), our lucky family got to spend it...visiting with our family.
we visited with Gigi's brother; our Uncle Joe & Aunt Ginger. In a matter of 45 minutes, we had attempted to fly a remote helicopter, built & played in a tent in the basement, blew bubbles with a large fan, fed a cat outside, shoveled the driveway (for fun!), opened gifts, ate candy, and climbed into the attic. The kids had a blast and we're thinking that maybe Uncle Joe & Aunt Ging need to be on the babysitting agenda asap because it was so much fun that Grey is still talking about it. (hi Aunt Ginger! We're not kidding!)
After Uncle Joey's house, we headed to my parents' house (Abba & Chum) to celebrate the holiday with them, my sisters, and their boys. One of my favorite Christmas moments is when the local fire department rides around my parents' township with their lights flashing to alert families & kids to come out to the road to meet Santa - who just happens to be in the back of the fire/ER truck. The magic and excitement of seeing those lights and rushing to get shoes and jackets on in time to go see Santa makes my heart well up. I really love it and was all kinds of momma-choked up watching my kids get so excited by it.
We enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner, played Christmas-themed games (which proved Tasha & I know an astonishing amount of Christmas carols), and spent the evening opening gifts, drinking wine, and having a fierce fooseball tournament.
So, I guess this is a good time as any to inform all of my non-family/close friend readers (that don't already know this firsthand) that we have a situation right now that Grey is sort of obsessed with weapons. We do a whole lot of talking about how we a) don't shoot people, b) we don't shoot in the face, c) guns are dangerous, d) swords are dangerous, e) we don't hit too hard, etc, etc, etc, etc. So, in any case - after all that, Grey does know that we (as in his Daddy, Grandpaps, and uncles) shoot animals - mainly bucks & bears. So when you see pictures (like a lot of them) that look like the one below, please don't be alarmed - Grey
asked demanded the necessary: "Daddy, be a buck!" beforehand.
I honestly need to follow up my "You might be married to a Redneck" post with "You might be raising a Redneck" post. Is it the sweetest thing ever that my husband (and all men in our lives) oblige - or the redneckiest thing? Jury's still out.
And because my husband is bar-none the handsomest, most thoughtful fella around; he went into cahoots with my Mom to get me an ice cream cake celebrating the fact that my blog hit the 2million pageviews mark. (thank you to all of my readers!) But seriously, he's the best because he really is...but also because the cake was reese's cup ice cream cake. Grey and I practically ate the whole thing ourselves.
|I had already swiped a finger into the icing before this pic - I have a problem.|
Then the babies were very sleepy and it was time to trek out full bellies and vehicle - full of loving, thoughtful gifts back home to get some rest for our next day of Christmas.
On the second day of Christmas (Sunday, December 23), my lucky family got to spend it.....visiting with more family.
We headed up to Brandon grandma's (Mimi) house for dinner with our aunts, uncles, and cousins. We enjoyed another great meal (wearing loose pants is a requirement during Christmas season, seriously.) and then spent the afternoon up to our necks in wrapping paper - cause nobody does Christmas gifts like Mimi does for the grandkids.
All of Mimi's grand and great-grandkids were there to celebrate except for our cousin Cara who is currently stationed in WA with the army. As part of Mimi's Christmas gift, we brought our iPad and got Cara on the line to be able to spend part of the day with us. We even got a pic of Mimi with all of her grandkids at once.
Santa even made a last minute drop-off delivery for the kids in Mimi's breezeway with giant stuffed animals for each of the kids. Grey was determined to spot a glimpse of him out the door - but alas, Santa was here and gone before we could catch sight of him!
And then we loaded up our sleepy kids and our full bellies and got into our vehicle - full of loving, thoughtful gifts back home to get some rest for our next day of Christmas.
On the third day of Christmas (Monday, December 24), my lucky family got to spend it with....even more time with family!
B had to work on Christmas eve morning, so the kids and I did our best to get through the day without (hardly any) time outs and kept our grubby paws off of the Christmas cookies we'd been collecting from our previous days of Christmas. Then we were off to Christmas eve Mass only to squeeze into the very last pew (because we cannot get out the door on time...ever) and attempt to endure our children very ungracefully and unquietly sit through the Christmas pageant and mass. Oh, it was pretty painful and I was terribly embarrassed the whole time. Thankfully, it's called the "children's mass" for a reason since there were 7-8 other parents bopping up and down in the vestibule of the church trying to quiet their own gremlin children.
When we got in the car I told Grey that it was very disrespectful the way he was behaving and that it was Jesus's birthday. And we were at Jesus's house and that ain't no way to behave at a birthday party for baby Jesus and we needed to say a prayer to say sorry. Grey folded his hands and said, "Dear Jesus, I'm sorry I was bad for your birthday. Amen." Then he looked me square in the face and said, "I can get presents now." #defeated
We headed home in time to meet both sets of grandparents for a little Christmas eve drink & snacks. I had found two cute drink recipes from pinterest: one for the grown ups (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and one of for the kids (The Grinch).
The kids got to open one gift (jammies) and then were shipped to bed so Santa could come. The grown-ups spent the rest of the night laughing and telling stories around the table before too late and Santa really would have to come.
On the fourth day of Christmas (December 25), my lucky family got to spend it...(big surprise!) with more time with family (and friends too!)
Since it was a long three days of Christmas and driving and playing prior to Christmas morning - I (very impatiently) resisted the urge to wake the kids up shouting on the top of my lungs, "It's Christmas, It's Christmas, wake up!" (which is exactly what I have always done my whole life) because the kids really needed the sleep. So I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling until finally we heard a the old familiar sounds of babies waking on the monitor.
We spent the morning watching the kids light up in delight while opening gifts, shoving our faces with Christmas cookies, and become increasingly aware of our inability to fit into our clothes (oh, that last one was just me - cool).
Gemma's favorite gift is a toss up between her new silkie (Sarah's Silks Mini Playsilk) and the bubba she promptly guzzled down after opening gifts.
Greyson's favorite gift is a tie between his new bow & arrow set and his very own pack of 'green gum' from his stocking.
After a morning of excitement, we made our way to stop for a short visit at my Aunt Dar & Uncle Mike's house where my extended family was having Christmas dinner. We got to visit with our cousins Adam&Lea (in from Baltimore), Michael (in from Pittsburgh), Kara (who was getting ready to study abroad in Ecuador - you can read about her current adventures in Quito here at her blog) and my Aunt Lisa who was fresh back from a long stay in Minnesota.
Then we headed up to Pappy & Gigi's to fill our bellies up (once again) with a delicious meal, laugh and play, eat too many cookies, and open gifts.
|sometimes Grey is the buck!|
Then we all sang Happy Birthday to baby Jesus and happily stuffed our already full selves with cake.
And after no naps, and full bellies and a vehicle loaded with gifts - we made a final stop at our family friend's house as is tradition every Christmas, to finish the busy day with a few drinks and laughs. Grey was 100% checked out (fast asleep on the couch) and Gemmi was happy to stay awake and hang with everyone. She even got to spend some time with her
future boyfriend Layne.
And THEN we loaded up our sleepy kids and our full bellies and got into our vehicle - full of loving, thoughtful gifts back home to get some rest from Christmas.
The fifth day of Christmas (January 7th), my lucky family got to spend it....with (you guessed it) even more family.
My kids are doubly blessed with Orthodox heritage on both sides of their family. My late grandmother Irene (my middle namesake) was Serbian Orthodox. And Brandon's Mom's family (Gigi) is Russian Orthodox. So we get to celebrate one more day of Christmas every January 7th because of our families' heritage- which I love.
It also means that our decorations and Christmas tree has to hold out for a holiday that stretches from December 1-January 8. Our tree just barely made it this year -
'Orthodox Santa' dropped off a present each and joint present for the kids. (Is it weird Grey was wearing the same jammies on both Christmas mornings? hah). Grey got his favorite; more green gum! Gemma got a box of ribbons and they got together the movie Brave (which we have since watched approximately 746 times).
Later on Orthodox Christmas, we visited with my Grandma's family for snacks and drinks (she was 1 of 14 kids!) and then met up with Pappy & Gigi for dinner to celebrate.
It was a wonderful holiday season and we got more than we deserved in both delicious and abundant food & drink and also in beautiful and thoughtful gifts. But there is no gift (or food for that matter) that can take the place of the time we had spending it with our family and friends. Having our family and especially our kids surrounded by so much love and so many hugs and smiles is what Christmas means to us.