Well, we Christmas-ed our way all through last week until Monday. We were exhausted but have never felt so loved! It was such a special year having our girls with us. Even if they won't remember any of it, it was still a great week spent sharing Amelia and Mae Parker with our families.
On Tuesday, we celebrated with Stephen's parents, brother and his fiance. Our girls are the first grandkids in their family, so to say their spoiled is an understatement. We had a FABULOUS dinner and then enjoyed time opening gifts together.
On Thursday night, we got together with my dad's side of the family. This year has been filled with such joy and such sadness.
We've celebrated with a wedding, the birth of 4 new babies, an engagement and a pregnancy announcement. But we've also grieved terribly the death of our uncles Bill and Jerrie. It just wasn't the same. Nothing has been the same since they both passed. Their passings have left such a huge void in us. We're confident in their faith and know they are rejoicing in heaven together. We all can't wait to be reunited with them one day.
Typically Friday the 23rd is our stay at home, bake, watch movies day. It's one of my very favorite days of the year.
Late that afternoon, I noticed a Target box in our carport. I asked Stephen if he had ordered anything he said no. The box was addressed to the girls. When I opened it, I knew exactly who it was from!
You may have read this story on Facebook already but here goes...
Early in our college years, my good friend Angela thought it would be hilarious to secretly sign me up on an online Jewish dating website. jmatch.com....yes, this is a real thing. I started getting random emails from guys and had no clue what was going on. Days passed and finally she fessed up to it. It's been a running joke with us for 13 years or so.
So, we're now the proud care-takers of Ira Rosenstein, our Mensch on a Bench. (The Hanukkah version of Elf on the Shelf)
I can't make this up. More on Ira later.
We ended our Friday night with our annual tradition of eating take out, watching White Christmas and snacking on sugar cookies. It's the best day!
Amelia seemed quite intrigued with the music! Maybe she'll love this tradition as much as her mama!
Saturday morning welcomed Christmas Eve, which required a family meeting and wardrobe layout for the girls. We had to make sure to get in one last use of as many of our Christmas clothes as possible.
We hit the road Saturday morning to have lunch at Stephen's grandmother's house a little over an hour away. In this family there are 3 sets of twins. The oldest set (boys) is 15. The middle set (boy/girl) were born in June of this year. Our set (girl/girl) was born in October of this year.
The weather didn't cooperate for an outdoor group pic so we settled for an awkward angle self-timer pic. Not the most flattering angle for us, but it'll do. And, Stephen's dad and his brother's fiance both had to work, so we're missing them in this pic this year.
Saturday night my mom's family got together at my grandparents house. Normally, we get together Christmas morning for breakfast, but with Christmas on Sunday this year, everyone's "traditional" plans had to be altered. BUT, we still had breakfast for dinner and it was wonderful as always.
Grands and great-grands in the living room...
"Adults" in the kitchen. I'll never make it to the big table for Christmas breakfast.
Is anyone else like me...your grandparent's house is one of your favorite places on earth? This house means so much to our family and holds years and years of memories. It's home.
Sure it's way to small for all 25 of us, but I can't imagine being anywhere else on Christmas morning.
Back in November we had family pictures made. One of my cousins had the big group shot made into a canvas for our grandparents. Such a special gift.
Arabelle...I mean Elsa...checking on Amelia. So sweet.
We came home that night to find Ira starting his 8 nights of antics. (Yes, we've embraced our Mensch.)
We dressed the girls in their Christmas gowns and snapped a few last pics before bedtime.
Our best gifts ever.
Our first Christmas Eve as a family of four. What a difference a year makes!
Christmas morning, we failed at opening gifts. Fussy babies, bags to pack for the day, bottles to make for the day, getting ready to be at church on time...it was just alot and we didn't want to rush our sweet first moments with our girls.
After church we had lunch (which was breakfast) at Stephen's grandparents house and opened gifts there.
One proud Pop...
Later that afternoon / evening we had another great dinner at Stephen's parents house. Unfortunately no pics from there. I think all the running around and being passed around for two solid days was starting to get to them. Both were getting fussy and were sooo tired Sunday night. We had to leave early to get them home. I think it's the quickest they've fallen asleep for bedtime ever. Poor babies.
BUT first, old Ira was found in Stephen's stocking when we got home. Apparently he heard we were going light on stocking stuffers this year and thought he'd lend a hand.
Monday morning, the day after Christmas, we opened gifts with the girls. Again, it's nothing they'll remember but it was a surreal moment sitting there with them thinking about all the years to come and the memories made the same spot around our tree.
Several years ago, we started celebrating Christmas at my parents house the day after Christmas. It's so easy and laid back. No running. No rushing off to be somewhere else. It's the perfect quiet ending to our busy holiday.
Our nephews love their cousins SO MUCH!
For the last 3 or 4 years now, my dad has come up with some kind of game to end our gift opening. He'll have money, gift cards or random gifts to give away. This year he played it "Deal or No Deal" style. We have so much fun with this and all look so forward to it!
Christmas may officially be over, but Hanukkah trucks along. Monday, Ira was found giving an introductory course to some new friends who have shown up after his arrival.
That wraps up our week-long Christmas!! We hope you enjoyed the holiday with your family and friends making life long memories together!