The first weekend in December, we went to the Lighted Implement Parade in a neighboring town. Always a bunch of fun as you tell from the smiles on the kids' faces. Blake and I really had some laughs that night. I tried putting him on my shoulders, like Morgan was on Rich's, but each time I'd go to take a picture I'd have to let go of one of his legs, which made him feel like he was going to fall, so he'd grab my head right around my eyes....turns out that makes it pretty tough to take pictures! The whole situation had me laughing so hard I'm not sure I got the few blurry pictures I did :-)
The following weekend was the annual Firefighter's Christmas dinner. The kiddos did the best ever going up and seeing Santa....might have helped that Blake had just been Santa's elf in the local parade a couple weeks before. :-)
The kids thought their gifts were awesome! Morgan got a box of Crayola stuff and Blake got Transformers. Blake thought he got the bext gift out of everyone because he had helped Santa in the parade. ;-)
The following day was Morgan's Christmas sing at school. The next weekend I went to an annual Cookie Exchange as well as Morgan's dance performance. And the week before Christmas the kids had school from Monday through Wednesday and I was there each day with one or the other or both of them with their parties :-) Then Friday before Christmas, Rich's family, including us, got together with one of his uncle's families and spent the evening together. Morgan and Blake LOVE Rich's cousin's kids, so it's always nice to get together with them when they're home from Virginia :-)
Christmas Eve, Rich's brother got home from the Marines, so they cut down their Christmas tree that morning. It was a special tree from Rich's brother Doug's memorial garden. (If you can't tell it's also a Douglas Fir.) A young Douglas Fir will be planted in it's place in the garden and it will be cut down when it's the right size to use for Christmas as well.
The kids also got their Christmas pj's from Grandma and Papa :-)
We then headed to my parents' for Christmas dinner with them. We opened presents, put together Happy Birthday Jesus cupcakes, played a dice/gift game that we used to play at my grandparents' and made little reindeer candy canes.
Christmas morning was nice at home. We had plenty of time to open gifts together. We started off by opening up the gift of Jesus (it was the Jesus from the kids' nativity)...it was the last activity of our Advent. Then the kids found the Christmas pickle before they could open any more gifts :-)
Morgan discovered her new Christmas stocking! I had been working on it since she was 7 months old, but I finally got it done-ish....I need to sew on a different backing and put the liner in it still.
Blake being his usual goofy self :-) He was definitely having fun :-)
After we were dressed, we headed off to Rich's grandma's for more gift opening, brunch and the Christmas shot (of whiskey or whatever everyone wants...none for the kids of course!) Then on to Rich's parents' for more gifts and dinner. The kids had a blast with their uncles ;-)
The Monday after Christmas we tried not to put much away because my parents were coming over that night to see what everyone got. In the meantime, we also had Rich's best friend and his family stop by. And since I don't have a chance to make Christmas breakfast like my mom used to, I tried making some monkey bread from scratch that morning-YUM! :-)
Tuesday morning the kids had a dentist appointment. Then that night Rich and I took the kids to my parents then met up with his parents and brothers to go to a Red Wings game. As we were trying to squeeze past people to get into our seats, I was nudged and looked up to see people from our church! What a coincidence to drive 2 hours away from home and not just happen to see people we know, but be sitting right next to them! After the Red Wings won the game, we headed out to get dinner (at 11pm) at a place called Pizza Papalis, where I had my first Chicago style deep dish pizza! We made it home at 2 am...not used to be up so late anymore!
Wednesday we picked the kiddos up and worked at getting the house in order.
Thursday, the kids had a Tea Party at Rich's parents' with their 3rd cousins in the afternoon, then that night we had dinner and exchanged gifts with Rich's aunt's family.
Friday was spent trying to get more things in order (it really does take a lot to try to find places for things in a tiny house) and then we used up Morgan's Book-It coupons, before they expired, at Pizza Hut that night. I always loved Book-It when I was little and I enjoy doing it with the kiddos now too! :-)
Saturday, New Years Eve, we had Rich's brothers over. He wanted them to come hang out with him for a little bit while they were home for Christmas. The kids had a BLAST playing with them! We didn't end up going to his parents' for their New Years party and opted for a New Years evening at home.
Sunday, New Years day, we went back to Rich's parents to celebrate his youngest brother's birthday before he headed back to the Marines. The kids ended up staying the night there. Rich went back the next morning to get the kiddos and say good-bye to his brothers since they were both leaving that day. I ended up putting away several of the Christmas decorations.
This last weekend we finished up all our Christmas activity with an extended family Christmas with Rich's Dad's family. It was a really nice time. We had a soup and salad dinner, then a gift exchange, followed by a group picture and a special pudding that I can't remember the name of. It's really good and FULL of calories! LOL!
Okay, I think that covers it! I had hoped for a more relaxing break with lots of time just doing fun things with the kiddos that we don't have time to do anymore since they're in school, but it didn't quite work out that way. If we weren't away, we were working at keeping the house in order so we could move through it-LOL! It was nice to have the time with the family though. :-)