Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Christmas Morning at our House

We've been doing Christmas morning pretty much the same for a couple of years now.  Stockings on the mantle.  Sugar cereal in the tree for breakfast.  We still do "Something you want, Something you need, Something to play with, Something to read."  It's helped me over the years to have some purpose in buying their gifts.  I LOVE buying Christmas gifts.  I like to think of what will bring them the most joy.  But I DON'T like buying stuff just to buy stuff.  This year, they plotted out their own list and told me much of what they wanted.  But there were a few surprises, too.  

Chris read to them upstairs while I did a few last minute things.

This has become a traditional picture, but this year, all five of them didn't fit all the way across on one stair.  So obviously Nathan had to be the center of attention!

I like to catch their reactions as they walk down the stairs.  These moments are magical, and I want to remember their sweet faces.

Stockings are first.

This is how I did their gifts this year.  They each had a certain wrapping paper that was at the bottom of their stocking.  That's part of the excitement of Christmas morning, finally finding out what gifts are yours.

 And now, just some pictures of the boys with some of their gifts.  I just love their happy faces.  I love how much they love the traditions we have.  And I love the expressions of joy on camera.

 Nathan is VERY fun to watch on Christmas morning.

I'll leave you with that.  Thanks for indulging me and making it all the way to the bottom of this post :)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 2014

Our Christmas Eve was wonderfully casual and laid back.  Chris had to work for part of the day.  We went to Costco to get a few things for our Christmas meal.  There's that excitement in the air, even at Costco.  Nathan could barely stand it, to wait ONE more day until Christmas.

We started a new Christmas tradition this year.  The boys really wanted to buy presents for each other.  They drew names and tried to keep it a secret from each other.  That only lasted about two days and there was much drama because the secrets didn't last long.  But after they all got over that, it was really fun.  They had a $25 limit and they were so into it.  It was sweet how much they really wanted to get their brothers exactly what they wanted.  Asher made a scavenger hunt for Joseph, so he had to find his present after three or four clues.  He planned this for weeks and was so excited, almost nervous for Joseph to get his gift.  All in all, it was a success and a fun new Christmas Eve tradition.

We had taco-in-a-bag this year for dinner.  The kids LOVED it and I loved how easy it was (and hardly any dishes to wash!).  The kids got cans of soda and made their taco bag.  That may become a new tradition as well.  Then we went to a late Christmas Eve service and tucked everyone and finished up preparations for Christmas at about 2:30 in the morning.  Christmas is tiring for the parents… whew!

Christmas morning… we are ready for you!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Oh, December…

Christmas 2104 came, and now it's gone.  As fast I just typed that, that's about as fast as it felt.  It was here, and now it's gone.  Today was our first day back homeschooling and I just ran to Starbucks for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up because that's what kind of "first day" it was.  Christmas break wasn't long enough or relaxing enough, but it was sweet and I guess I'll just accept the fact that Christmas for mothers is not restful.  Maybe Christmas for grandmothers is restful??  Someone give me some hope out there!  
Anyway, here is a photo recap.  This first picture is just b/c I found it on my phone and I just love this kid.

Chris took the boys to the Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas concert while I Christmas shopped.

Samuel likes cleaning better with his skates on.

Chris took me to the Michael W. Smith/Amy Grant Christmas concert.  I laughed because the concert was filled with all of these older looking people, and then I realized that most of them were our age.  Time does funny things to you, like make you feel like you are forever 27 on the inside!

Jopie had a yucky cold that scared us to death one night.  Praise God for this machine that  has kept us out of the ER with him many times.

Also, these are their Christmas lists.  I took a picture because of the sweetness of their handwriting and their requests.  Sorry about the upside-downness of this picture.

We slept in most of December and made leisurely breakfasts.  It's such fun being in the kitchen with the boys as they are learning to do things for themselves.  

Christmas dinner for our monthly dinner club…. it's more than a dinner club, but I'm not sure what else to call it.

A Favorite Things exchange for the moms in my homeschool co-op… catered almost exclusively by Trader Joe's ;)

We spent one night at Great Wolf Lodge.  Thanks Uncle Bryan and Aunt Tess for the gift card!  We loved and it, and so appropriate, you know, us being Wolfes and all!

Had to do a wolf ear picture.

Sitting back and watching my boys make cookies and hang out in the kitchen was a highlight  I love to see them enjoy each other.  

I got this from a sweet friend for my birthday and I would say it's changed my life, but that's being sort of dramatic.  But it has changed my mornings… and it's made me spoiled because when I was in a hurry the other morning and didn't make myself maple syrup flavored frothed milk to go on top of my coffee, it just wasn't the same.

We all shared a bear claw at Panera.  Those things are so tasty.

A night in downtown Fort Worth.  It was cold, but we got the obligatory picture anyway.

Annie with baseball friends.  I think this picture should really be called Riley's fan club… what other senior in high school would come to Annie with a bunch of moms and kids??  We love you, Riley!

We made cookies for the neighbors.  I had made the dough off and on the week before and we baked it all in one day.  The oven was on all day, and we slowly added to the 35 plates (we have lots of neighbors on our street).  By 6:00, we were ready to deliver.

The sports wagon is good for lots of things.

These sweet faces helped decorate the almond sugar cookies with almond icing.  Yum!

We had Christmas dinner with Brian and Leighsa.  I say we make it a tradition.

Christmas Eve Costco run… I actually like errands of Christmas Eve.  Everyone is so festive.

Our very gourmet Christmas Eve dinner was taco-in-a-bag this year.  The kids LOVED it, and it's so easy to make, and you can eat it sitting on the counter.

Christmas Eve service with the Sartains… a tradition two years in the making.

Presents all wrapped and ready under the tree.

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

Two days after Christmas is Graham's birthday.

Also, the Thompson Tribe came to visit, all 13 of them!  Yes, I said 13.  We had a FULL, happy house.  16 kids and 4 adults.

But the most important thing is that they came with Sarah Pearl, my namesake.  We bonded while Niki was trying on clothes.  And let's be honest, I look pretty good with a girl baby ;)

She obviously loves me.

Almost all of us at In-N-Out, with Ms. Diana… one of our favorite Kanakuk friends :)

Steel City Pops, where I had given up trying to make everyone look at the camera.

Asher loved Sarah Pearl.

This is where the whole visit went downhill.  Graham broke his arm at the roller rink (a man ran into him and knocked him down) and cold weather and icy conditions were predicted.  As a side note, I'm not sure his anesthesia meds had worn off when I took this pictures.

The Thompsons had to leave a day early but we got a birthday donut in first.

Samuel's birthday present was this.

Father/son bonding at its finest.  Although let's not talk about the results of the game.

The rest of us stayed home and rested.

And organized closets and changed sheets on the bed, the things that never seem to get done that much once the school year starts.

Then I had a cup off coffee in this cup… again, the frothed milk.  Yum.

That's all folks.  A fun time was had by all, and I'm tired.