We have been very busy Christmas-ing. My sister in law (SIL) came in from Arizona and spent about a week and half with us. She just left yesterday. (We're all missing you already!) The boys loved spending time with her, as did we. I enjoyed it so much more than when we took the boys to Arizona to visit her because it was less stressful having the boys here and in their own beds/rooms and stuff. We all had a wonderful visit and I tried to talk her into moving here but I don't think I succeeded:).
My SIL also took tons of pictures while she was here. All the ones I post are ones that she took. Unfortunately, we have very few pics with her in them, since she took most of them. We didn't even realize this until the night before she left and then it was too late. Of all people, I should have thought of this because I often think that about myself. I am normally the one to take most of our day to day pics around here so I am in very few of them.
This was our first year to send out Christmas pictures of the kids. We ended up receiving many also, which made me very happy. I so enjoy looking at the pics of everyone's kids and seeing how they have grown from the prior year. I always keep them around the entire year so I can compare them the following year.
We spent Christmas Eve with my entire family at my sister's house. We had our traditional fare of my sister's famous lasagna, along with all the trimmings, including lots of wonderful desserts. When everyone was finished eating, one of the kids read the Christmas story from the Bible. After that, my niece read a poem in honor of my grandmother (my dad's mom) who passed away this year. And lastly we opened our gifts.
Here are some of the pics taken there, including the who's who of my siblings and parents.
These first three pics are Nick, Ben and my great niece, all playing with the other's toys.
Here is the who's who mentioned above:
This, of course, is the husband, also known as the dad (he doesn't want me to use his name on the blog:). He is sitting next to my dad.
This is my lovely mom (MaMa) and she is holding her beautiful great grandchild.
Here is my dad again with his lovely wife (Papa and Mimi):
This is my only sister (the one who makes the best apple pie and also the best lasagna I've ever tasted - she is also my best friend:) and next to her is her husband.
Here are two of my three brothers. The one sitting in the chair is my sister's twin. They are a year older than I am. The other brother in the picture is a few years older than the twins.
And this is my oldest brother with his grandchild. He and I are the only two children, of the five of us, who have curly hair, although it may be hard to tell in this picture. The similarities end there however, since he looks more like my mom and I look more like my dad.
And now, a couple more pictures of the youngest member of our family get together. She is my great neice. Isn't she a cutie? Her sister is a cutie too (pictured above with the yellow hard hat on her head.) Isn't it wonderful that God makes little ones so cute?
If you click on these two pictures (above and below) you can see her beautiful blue eyes.And a couple more shots, just for fun.
This is the piano that will be moving to our house in the spring, since we didn't get to it before the winter set in. Aunt D showed the boys how to play the keys nicely with their fingers, rather than pounding with their hands:).
And the grand finale:
Yes, my husband can fall asleep anywhere. While he was sleeping in this chair, there was absolute chaos around him. The boys were wrestling with their cousins, all the kids were playing with toys and everyone was talking so it was very noisy.
We spent Christmas at our house with just us and my SIL. We had a very fun and blessed Christmas. The boys received some wonderful gifts. We only had to put together two of them, which was great. I always take everything out of the box it came in and, if it requires assembly, I put it together and then I wrap it. I think they enjoy it so much more when they open it when it is ready to play with.
Santa brought a mini-trampoline, which I think will come in handy for many years to come, since Nick has a lot of energy and I have a feeling he might be the kind of kid who needs some movement while he learns. I read about one homeschooler who would jump on the mini-trampoline while counting or working with flash cards or they would go bounce a certain number of times between subjects or something like that. The boys had both played on one at a friend's house so I knew it would be a big hit.
Santa also brought a parking garage, which is also a big hit, although when asked, the boys seem to always say that their big tape measure is their favorite gift. We have been teaching them how to measure things with their big tape measures. They also receive Tinkertoys, which I really like, and Lego's, which are also fun. I had never played with Tinkertoys before. They are so great for creativity. The boys really like both the Legos and Tinkertoys also and have been playing with them a lot. They received a toolbox full of playdough toys, which has been loads of fun too. So we now have lots of fun things to do to spur creativity.
We got them the leapfrog spelling thing that helps one learn how to spell three letter words. I kind of thought it would not interest them that much until they were a little older but they really like it. I normally try to stay away from toys with too many buttons or sounds but I have bought several of these kind of toys that help with learning the alphabet, letter sounds and beginning spelling. I really think these toys have helped them a lot so far.
My mom got them a riding toy that is a 'digger' (excavator) and it also came with a small hard hat. It is very cute and they both enjoy it and have done very well with taking turns, thankfully. It is often hard to share a new toy nicely but they have done very well this Christmas.
We also received a new zoo pass for 2009, which I know we will use a lot and some other toys, puzzles, books and CD's/DVD's. We all had fun while the boys were opening their presents because they wanted to stop and play with (or read) each present before moving on to another present.
We did stockings last, which I think was opposite than intended but, oh well:).
Ben is playing his harmonica, in case you couldn't tell what that was. It was a stocking gift. While they were opening their stockings, I was still building with the Tinkertoys:).
We should not have any issues with not having enough toys to play with for quite some time. Fortunately I had been busy purging toys before the arrival of the new ones. I am also sorting through all of our children's books. It is hard to keep up with them but I like to go through them every once in a while and sell off the ones that are becoming too simple for the boys.
Somewhere in here us three adults also opened our presents and stockings but that is not as interesting. Suffice it to say that we all had a lovely Christmas.
As for New Year's, we didn't do anything, go anywhere or celebrate anything. We didn't even watch any parades. We just enjoyed a quiet, normal day.
Hope you had a joyful holiday season.