Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December and Christmas

 Some Decemberish pictures! First up--the book of Christmas books hanging out by the fire. One of my favorite traditions. We spent hours here every day.

And the felt nativity that I made last year...still missing Joseph and the third Wise Man. Haha...maybe next year I'll have time to finish it!

Two of my favorite ornaments. :-)

We got a piano! It was very exciting, and pretty much every second someone was playing Christmas carols on it, which I LOVED.

Making salt dough ornaments with the kids one day after school...

I made a garland out of salt dough snowflakes, and I was super happy with how well it turned out.

Always magical. Always.

The girls had their winter recital early in December and I love this grainy iPad photo of Jules silhouetted against our first snow.

A few Luke shots...

One day Isaac spent I don't even know how many hours making snowflakes. He was on a mission.

Neil and I quote this line to each other all the time when the kids are being crazy and we have one of those forced crazy smiles on, so when I saw this shirt in the grocery store it was a must-buy.

One day I bought myself another 100 MagnaTiles, because it was something I could play with the boys while I was lying on the couch with the heating pad wrapped around my poor aching leg. There were a ton of things I couldn't do this Christmas that I normally do, and doubling our MagnaTiles was a great way to alleviate some of the boredom.

Luke made a pretty amazing trio of mugs for his preschool teachers and my mom.

More MagnaTiles...

Gingerbread houses! This was actually a really sad night--Jules was just in a wild mood and kept picking on the other kids, and finally was told that if she did X once more she would lose her gingerbread-house-making privileges. She did, and we stuck firm, and it was so darn hard and miserable and awful, but...we haven't had that particular issue since.

Luke's preschool program. Epic as always. Love love that smile!

Abigail was Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol. I loved watching her perform! She was so cute and knew all her lines and songs.

Luke was less impressed. Hah!

Nathan could hardly wait for the curtain call to be reunited with his beloved Abigail...

December was an exhausting month. I really envied Luke's ability to just conk out whenever and wherever and sleep through ANY noise.

One day the kids frosted sugar cookies after church while Neil and I lay around reading. Abigail was in charge. :-)

More lying around reading. It's what we do best.

I love this photo so much. My sweet boy.

Dinner by candlelight some random night (sometimes I pull out our special-occasion stops hoping that it will make a weeknight dinner a little more enjoyable) + our favorite Christmas cookies + playing the bell chimes.

More bell chimes--Neil's parents gave these to us a few years ago and they are so fun! We've gotten pretty good at our carols. ;-)

Christmas Eve dinner: our favorite green salad, roasted potato salad with Dijon and goat cheese, ham, fresh bread (I meant to make crescent rolls, ran out of time, and really regretted it later because I tried a new recipe for the ham and hated it), cranberry fluff salad (oh SO good!), my grandma's Jell-O salad that my kids are obsessed with, and a lemon-poppyseed bundt cake. We go for broke cooking on Christmas Eve and take the rest of the weekend off. :-)

Just about ready for dinner on Christmas Eve. Neil made a really yummy cranberry punch (he also did a huge share of the cooking, so I don't mean to imply that the punch was his only contribution!) and Abigail was in charge of the table.

Our little crew all decked out in their new jammies.

And Christmas Day aftermath! As I mentioned above, here is how our Christmas goes: Christmas Eve is really planned and elaborate and fun--we make a big fancy dinner, we play the bell chimes, we all talk about things we're grateful for and read Luke 2 and discuss the birth of the Savior. And then on Christmas Day we stay in our pajamas all day and just play with new toys and games. We don't cook--everyone gets a box of their favorite cereal for Christmas (like the gross sugary kind that we never EVER buy, except Isaac and I pretend like we have some standards and insist on Cracklin' Oat Bran), and then everyone eats leftovers or cereal or whatever all day, whenever they want, and they read or play games or nap...whatever. I walked in at one point to find the boys sitting on top of the table eating Jell-O out of the serving dish and I just told them to wipe up anything that spilled onto the floor so it didn't get tracked onto the carpet. The only one I worry about actually monitoring food intake with is Nathan. And everyone does whatever they want to all day--no chores, no dishes, no rules. In this case Neil and I worked on a puzzle for six hours. :-) It's such a lovely mental respite from the usual daily stuff!

See? Kind of chaotic but blissfully so since it only happens once a year.

We finished about half an hour after the kids went to bed and then we cleaned up the house, vacuumed, ran the dishwasher, and went to bed with a clean slate so that we didn't have to spend our anniversary cleaning up.

I love doing Christmas this way--it is the perfect low-key awesomeness. When I was a kid we always got dressed up and went to parties on Christmas Eve, and I LOVED that, but this way is pretty perfect for us right now.

Long live winter holidays!

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