Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Celebration #3 ~ Our House

Our third and final Christmas celebration took place last Sunday at our house when we gathered with Uncle Paul's family to watch and cheer our beloved Panthers to another victory against the Atlanta Falcons to score a spot in the NFL Playoffs!  Go Panthers!  We are so proud of the season our team has played this year and are hoping for our first Super Bowl victory for the team and our bright new quarterback, Cam Newton.  Cam is already pretty notorious coming out of his collegiate football career with the cherished Heisman Trophy after winning a national championship and becoming the #1 NFL draft pick in 2011.  He also shattered Peyton Manning's record of first rookie quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his first game and 4,000 yards in his first season and first rookie quarterback to rush for 700 yards. So all this star needs now is a Super Bowl victory!  Let's give it to him, Panthers!  ;-)

While the rest of the family watched the game, Emma and I (the girly girls) watched a movie that I DVRed over Christmas for us.  Emma and I both share a love of the Mandie book series that I read as a young girl and passed on to Emma, and we have since discovered that several movies have been made based on the books.  When I saw that "Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas" was showing on TV, I knew I had to record it for her.  We enjoyed watching the adaptation and dishing about how much was changed from the books.

After the game and movie were over, we gathered around the Christmas tree.  Since Papa and Nana could not be with us due to illnesses, Uncle Paul read the Christmas story to the kids from the Brick Bible and then we exchanged gifts.

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The bright colored pictures in these Bible stories are a big hit with the kids...and I love them too!

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The big kids listening sweetly to the story. 

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Reade was having a little trouble being patient and listening to the story.

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Brody wanted Daddy to read his own book to him.

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Reade was happy to have a cool new nerf gun to use when the zombie apocalypse starts. 

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Lanny and Reade will protect us from the zombies!

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Emma opens her presents carefully to avoid tearing her pretty paper and ribbons.

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Evan got a cool new Lego dragon castle to work on. 

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And Brody has been loving his new shopping cart and kitchen all-in-one set.

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I will have to share pictures soon of how cute this little boy looks cooking his meals for us and feeding Daddy plastic food.  There is just nothing cuter!

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Emma got some pretty special gifts.

I found this book this summer at the North Carolina History Museum and just had to get it for Emma.  
And I also have to share a picture of this gift for Emma and Cate.  I got Emma the skirt and necklace set with a matching skirt for Cate from this sweet Charlotte friend and Mom.  If you have little girls, you have to check out her Etsy shop, Little Red Poppies.  
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Daddy putting Brody's shopping cart kitchen together.

Now, Christmas is over, the decorations have been put away until next year, and a new year has begun!  What will it hold for us all this year?  I just pray for God's blessings on all of us for the coming year, and I know that no matter what, God will be with us!

Christmas Celebration #2 ~ In the Rock

After we finished the Christmas morning festivities, we got the kids dressed and headed to the Rock (the nickname for Daddy's hometown of Rockingham) for Christmas with Grandma and Great-Grandpa.  We all met for an appetizer style lunch in Hamlet and some more gift opening before going to Great-Grandpa's for present opening with Grandma.  Daddy's family has grown so much that we have to meet at Great-Aunt Dava's Women's Club instead of someone's house.  The kids always have a great time together.

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Great-Grandpa smiling for the camera while he opens his presents from everyone.  He had a tough year with his health, but I think he looked great at Christmas and was very happy to be with everyone.  He loves watching all of his great-grandchildren playing.

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All of the kids enjoyed watching Evan playing on the kindle. 

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Brody just looking cute in one of his favorite poses.

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We all bring miscellaneous gifts every year and usually play a lively game of "Dirty Santa."  I brought this cute and girly apron this year that I found at Home Goods.  I thought one of the younger women would like it.  Aunt Dava switched the game this year to one where we have to move the gifts around the circle to a Christmas story to see who ends up with what gift.  Uncle Garry LOVED his apron!  Haha!  The funny thing is he does really enjoy cooking, but I am sure he prefers a more masculine apron.  Luckily, cousin Hudson traded him to give the apron to his girlfriend.  

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We enjoyed chatting with Great-Grandpa.

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Evan passed out the presents at Grandma's and Great-Grandpa's.

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Brody and cousin Grady are ready for their presents.

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Brody digging in.  He got even more toot toots 'cause you can never have too many toot toots!

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And Evan got some more Skylanders.

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The boys just love Grandma.  Brody has finally started saying Grandma recently, and he ask for her often.

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Grandma has always been one of Evan's favorite people.

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I helped Grady open some of his presents.

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And all the boys loved his new car.

Christmas Celebration #1 ~ Christmas Morning

Christmas morning is one of our most special traditions to share with our kids.  While we have done Santa in our house for the last few years, we do strive to teach our children what Christmas is really about and to teach them through all of our traditions about Jesus' love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.  For now, it is hard to not do Santa when so many others do, and the kids see and hear of him everywhere.  He is more of a "character" in our stories though than a real person.  If I am honest, I really can't remember a time in my childhood when I actually believed that a real Santa figure brought presents to my house.  I think I always kind of knew the presents were from mom and dad, and it still felt pretty magical to me.  I think if we really came out and asked Evan about Santa, he would reason the same way.  Instead, we focus on teaching him that Jesus is a real character and that his story is real.

Eddie and I consider ourselves very lucky that so far our kids have kindly allowed us to sleep on Christmas morning and actually give us time to get up and get dressed before going downstairs to see their presents. Evan woke up first and patiently waited in our room until we were dressed, and Brody awoke.  Mommy and Daddy were still pretty tired from the duties of the night, but we didn't have to go downstairs and have pictures of us with crazy bed hair in our pajamas another year.  Haha!  I intentionally want the boys to have crazy hair and wear their Christmas pajamas though because that is part of the Christmas memories.

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We left our milk and cookies out for Santa.

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We had promised Evan that he and Brody could open their presents from each other on Christmas Eve. 

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Brody calls Evan "Edah" and he doesn't say his own name yet...just "me." 
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Evan picked out and wrapped Brody's gift.

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It is a cute little dinosaur toy that transforms into a car.  Brody prefers the car. 

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Evan got the new nerf gun he wanted. 

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Brody drove his little car all around until bedtime and then he didn't want to let go so he fell asleep holding it.

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A sweet letter Santa and our elf, Brewster, left for the boys.  Evan read the letter to us.

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Our stockings were filled.

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Santa informed Daddy that it was his job to set up Brody's train table.  Haha!

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The train table all set up.  How often do you think it will look this "perfect"? 

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Brody got some special trains from his favorite show, Chuggington.

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And a little pirate ship, some puzzles, and a little drill set just like daddy's.

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Evan got his own Kindle Fire with a green case, the new Skylanders Wii game he wanted, his very own real bow and arrow set with a target, and finally got Super Mario Bros. for Wii (which Mommy has wanted for a while but refused to pay $50.00 for it since it never got reduced in price).  

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Brody playing with his little dinosaur car while waiting to go see what Santa brought him.

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He loves his "cah." 

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Sweet brothers on Christmas morning.

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Big brother loves taking care of his baby brother.

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This face says it all.  His Chuggington "toot toots" were definitely his favorites!

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He doesn't say all the characters names, but he identifies all the characters by name correctly.  

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Evan enjoyed playing with little brother's toys too.

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Checking out his "toot toots."

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Evan checking out his pile.

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Excited about his bow and arrow.

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And his very own Kindle.  The Kindle is more than a toy and is also so educational for him.  I have it set up to limit the amount of time he can play games and apps, but he has unlimited reading time.  Since the day after Christmas, he has already read the first three books in the Magic Tree House series and is almost through with the fourth book.  I am so impressed with his reading and just hope to inspire a love of reading that will last him a lifetime. 

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Brody enjoyed his trains all morning.

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We did pull him away from the trains briefly to check out his other gifts.

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I just love his little sweet face as he drives his trains.

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Evan got right to playing his new Wii games.

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The joys of Christmas

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Evan opened his stocking to reveal a new movie, candy, and cool new underwear.  

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Brody also got a new movie and underwear in his stocking.  Ha!

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And candy!

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