Despite the fact that it never really felt like Christmas to me, the holiday itself was just wonderful- all I could ask for and more. We had happy healthy children, lots of family, good food and many smiles. There are so many pictures I want to post so I will try to let the pictures do most of the talking. Some pictures aren't as good because I seem to have lost my own camera (MAJOR bummer) so some were taken with my small cell camera (no fancy smart phone for me). The better ones were taken by others and I stole the pictures off of Facebook.
I thought Christmas morning was awesome when I was a kid. It is 10X better as a mom. I LOVE Christmas morning with my kiddos.
Here they are, awake and excited to see what Santa left!
They must have been very good kids this year! The girls each got a "Happy Napper"- which I thought was kind of a waste of money but they kept BEGGING for it, so Santa decided they deserved it. Kenny got a bucket of 1600 basic lego blocks (to go with the many sets he has collected) and Jacob got the Harry Potter years 5-7 Wii game he had been asking for! There were many more fun things as well!
Santa even brought them each a brand new pair of PJs! I would like to say I am one of those cool parents that let them open it Christmas Eve so they could wear them right away, but I did not. So, this was taken before bed on Christmas night.
After they opened presents and had
It was baby Claire's first Christmas! Here she is with my Grandma.
It is a newer tradition to decorate Christmas cookies with the kids. One of the reason is to take the focus off of gifts since many in my family can't really afford to buy a lot of gifts this year (including us!), especially for such a large family- not to mention that it really isn't what Christmas is about anyway. We agreed no gifts at all but would spend time together and make cookies. My parents ended up getting them all a little something anyway and the kids had a wonderful time!
This is Meghan, Kenny and my niece Kaylee- working hard on those cookies!
My beautiful nieces- Kaylee, Kristen and Savanna- they all made beautiful cookies!
Of course, the kids got bored after a cookie or two and went on to other things (like playing with the fun stuff Grandma and Grandpa bought...) and there were so many cookies left to be decorated- so I did a rush job and got them done so they could all be enjoyed...
A baker I am, a decorator I am not. Simple, but yummy!
Monday, we had an annual brunch at my house with Aaron's family. We were extra fortunate to have Aaron's mom and step-dad, Bob in town from Florida for Christmas! With 9 adults and 7 kids, my house was cramped (no one else's house is any bigger than mine- and our house is central to everyone) but we all still had a great time!
This is a very rare shot of Aaron together with his mom and dad. A very good picture, even if candid. I wish it would have occurred to me to take a picture of the three of them looking at the camera. (Thanks for snapping this one, Bob!)
Aaron's sister, Sarah with their dad, Chuck
Aaron's sister, Rachael with their dad (Sarah's husband- Jeff in the back ground)
Aaron's step-mom, Debbie and Jeff
Aaron's step-dad, Bob with Mom, Janet and Aaron (who is apparently telling an important story!)
I meant to gather all of the kids together to take a group shot of them before they all left, but in the chaos, I forgot- but here are a few random shots:
I love watching my children actually playing happily together- a rare occurrence indeed! They are playing with the hexbug nano-bots Kenny got for Christmas from Santa.
I found this scene quite interesting and humorous. The girls got some Barbie dolls for Christmas. Last week, sadly, Aaron's grandfather passed away (see previous post). It was the girls' first funeral experience. It must have been on her mind. Ellie was playing funeral. The Barbie in the box died and the other Barbies (sitting on top of the other box, as a bench) are attending the funeral!
I love this- this is classic Meghan- all dressed up! She is opening a build-a-bear gift card from Grandma Janet for her birthday! Monday was my nephew Joey's 5th birthday (you can sort of see him to the left of Meghan and his big brother Kurtis to the right) and the girls birthday is coming up on January 4th, so we also had a mini birthday party. The original plan was to take the 3 birthday kids to build-a-bear but then decided it probably wasn't the best plan for the day after Christmas, so she gave gift cards instead.
Ellen and Meghan are both all dressed up in the new dress up dresses from Aunt Rachael and playing happily with the toys that Aunt Sarah gave them!
Bob took 3 different pictures of Jacob assembling his new lego set and Jacob was so focused he had no idea his pictures was being taken! When I showed him this picture, he was surprised- he really didn't know his picture was taken!
Kenny is holding an AMAZING blanket that Aaron's mom, Janet, crocheted for us and also one for Sarah's family just like it. A few months ago, when she knew they were coming to visit, she asked all of us our favorite colors but didn't tell us why. She incorporated our favorite colors into the blanket. Aaron's favorite is blue and Jeff's is yellow. So, she made the top and bottom blue and yellow since Jeff and Aaron are the heads that "hold the family together" You can see the light purple binding all around the edge- that symbolized Christ surrounding us and protecting us. Then, in between are the colors representing each person. It is just absolutely beautiful- so very touching and I love the story behind it. Definitely something we will treasure forever!
So, this is a small glimpse on what it looks like to have 16 people in one small room, though you can't quite see everyone. I LOVE this picture. Only a family that really loves each other could be this cramped and still be happy! My children are incredibly blessed to have 6 grandparents that love them dearly. They are also incredibly lucky to get to spend time with ALL 6 of them this Christmas.
In closing, I had to include one last picture. We have 1 dog and 2 cats. How do they handle all of this chaos?
I love the look on poor Pebbles face here. It is like she is saying "Help me!"
It was truly a wonderful Christmas with lots of family and lots of fun!!