Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Whirlwind

There were so many people, gifts, and food crammed into a 24-hour time period, it was challenging to capture all the special moments this Christmas. Here is a photo heave recap of Christmas 2014.

Christmas Eve: Fire, Family, and Food

I spent most of the day baking, before heading to church for the Christmas Eve service. Our church does not offer a nursery because the Christmas Eve is a "family service". However, it was impossible to keep three 17 month olds and a 3 year old sitting quietly in a pew for more than two minutes at a time. We sat in the very back completely against the church so the kids could walk around without distracting others. Unfortunately, the windowsills were lined with lit candles, which put an abrupt halt to the trio's free roam. While I had hoped to stay through communion, we left immediately after I read the scriptures.

Our evening was spent in the company of my extended family. Cookie decorating was a success!

The younger cousins played together while the adults conversed and ate.

It was after nine before we were back home and had the kids in bed. Jesse and I stayed up cleaning and wrapping presents.

Christmas Morning: Santa!

Jackson was extremely restless all evening, which yielded little sleep for Jesse and I. When Jackson awoke at 7:30, we let him play on the computer while we groggily got ourselves together and waited for the trio to wake up. It was nearly 8:30 before we made our way downstairs. There was so much excitement no one was quite sure where to begin.

James and Amelia worked together to open each present while Maddie paced around and clapped.

Jackson opened all of his presents in a matter of minutes, then moved on to help his siblings.

Here were some favorites from the morning:

Amelia loved riding on this $5 Craigslist find
Maddiefavored the drums, until James and Amelia stole the drumsticks from her
James and Amelia continued to tag team with each present
The donated kitchen was a big hit among everyone
This drum playing Elmo caused the biggest reaction from James
Maddie used Jackson's new chair as a trampoline because she was too light to properly sit in it.
MiMi and PaPa arrived shortly after the kids opened their presents to receive Christmas cuddles.

Here's our one and only family photo from the day.

Jesse and I put the trio down for a nap since they were already overstimulated and our day would only get busier. Jackson played with his giant action figures while Jesse and I began fixing our lunch contributions (deviled egg, rolls, corn, green beans, pound cake).

Christmas Lunch: Pajama Party

Don't you just love big families? We decided to stray from the usual couch picture since the cousins can no longer fit on one couch. The cousins outnumber the adults 2:1.

While you probably wouldn't notice, I am not wearing matching pajama pants in our sibling shot because the pants only halfway covered my behind. My other sisters resolved the problem with longer shirts, but I would have had to wear a dress to be comfortable in those pants.

The few pictures I took of people eating were horribly unflattering, but the kids finished decorating and eating the last of the sugar cookies.

After lunch was the chaos of opening presents. The only downside to having so many kids in one place is the fact that it's impossible to see everyone's reaction. I wasn't even sure who got what or where my own kids presents came from.

The girls wanted to play with each toy before moving onto unwrap the next present.

James weaved in and out of his cousins and played with wrapping paper. He spent most of his afternoon opening cabinets and taking ornaments off the tree.

Christmas Dinner: Round Three

After leaving my sister's house, we drove directly to the in-laws' house for our final Christmas gathering. The drive was an hour and everyone except Jesse (aka the driver) fell asleep on the way. We all awoke groggy, though everyone perked up when we were greeted by loved ones. Jackson must have still been full because he chose to forgo dinner and play with his cousin.

Sweet baby Davis celebrated his first Christmas.

It isn't often that Jesse's extended family has dinner together. I tend to follow "the more the merrier", so I prefer having everyone in one place.

I didn't have a lot of space left on my memory card so I tried to ration it by only taking a few pictures of the kids opening presents.

MiMi was compelled to buy this triplet stroller along with a multitude of diverse baby dolls. Of course, our little mama bear favored the stroller.

On the ride home, Jesse stopped at two houses with large light displays. Both homes had music synced on a radio station. To be in the middle of nowhere, they were quite impressive!

Christmas Evening: The Aftermath

We had the van tightly packed with garbage bags and laundry baskets full of presents. The kids were immediately taken to bed before Jesse and I began the monumental task of unloading and sorting items.

After all was said and done, the trio received this mammoth collection:

Jackson is the proud owner of a dozen more action figures, cars, a telescope, and more. He has slept in his tent the past two nights (before crawling into our bed).

In the words of Jesse via his Facebook status,
We are very grateful for our family this Christmas! If we could physically symbolize the amount of love and support that is given to us, this abundance would only be a drop in the bucket. Gratitude and love to all of you! 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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