This post was hard to do. There were SO MANY pictures from this day. We really had a great Christmas day. Our family feels settled this year. This time last year, Isaiah and Laila has been with us for 8 months. They had never experienced Christmas before. We were still figuring out this thing we call our family. This year, was different. We are a family. We know it. We are settled in it. Isaiah and Laila were so excited about Christmas. They knew what it was like and couldn't wait to experience it again.
We started our day by having the kids put on their Christmas jammies. Some people laugh at me, but I won't let them put them on until Christmas morning. I have had too many Christmases where they have pooped, peed, or thrown up in them during the night. Then, we can't get the cute photos in the matching jammies on Christmas morning.
We met on Rick's and my bed to read the Christmas story. Then, we headed downstairs for pictures.
After pictures, it was time for the stockings. I LOVE stockings. I think they are so fun. Then, it was time to open the gifts. We pass everything out and take our time taking turns opening everything.
One of my favorite moments was when Abby opened her "big gift". We put it in a Wheat Thins box. She does love Wheat Thins, but she thought that was her gift.
She was trying so hard to smile and be happy about it.
Then we told her to open the box.
This is a real smile. She was very happy to get a DS Lite
Grandma got everyone Cowboys gear:
Not sure about this face!
I LOVE my "Pink" Cowboys warm up suit!!!
It is so comfy!
Rick's and Laila's Cowboys gear was on back order. Hopefully they will get something soon!
This is one of my favorite pics from the day. Our Christmas Morning Brunch
We stayed in our jammies ALL DAY!! It was glorious. The kids played. Rick and I took a nap. On Christmas night we have "Fajitas Fa Jesus". Julie joined us this year!
It was Christmas all over again when Ms. Julie came over. We all had gifts to exchange.
Ms. Julie has been a part of our family since Sam was a baby!
The day could not have been better. It was a great Christmas!
After church service on Christmas Eve, our family festivities began. The kids got to open 2 gifts on Christmas Eve night, their ornament and their "secret Santa" gift. Each year, I get the kids an ornament that represents something from their lives. Here is the list for this year:
Cody: Football Ornament (He played football for the first time.)
Lauren: Blender Ornament (She has really loved learning to cook this year.)
Abby: Piano (She has taken an interest in learning to play the piano.)
Sam: Basketball Ornament (Rick is going to be his first basketball coach.)
Isaiah: A Fireman Santa (He had a fire truck bday and has been very intrigued by Santa this year.)
"Secret Santa" gifts are where the kids draw names and buy a gift for the sibling whose name they drew. They have a $10 limit and love shopping for each other.
After the gifts are opened, our food is ready. We have an appetizer feast that is so yummy. It consists of sausage balls, pigs in a blanket, lil' smokies wrapped in bacon with brown sugar, cheese ball and crackers, and Christmas treats.
All ready for the feast!!
This year, we saved our cookie decorating competition for this night. I have to say, this is probably my least favorite tradition. It is messy, time consuming, and I am not very good at decorating cookies. I prefer to take more of a "server" role by baking the cookies, getting all the supplies ready, and helping them. I did make a couple of cookies so that I could be in the competition.
This was Isaiah's and Laila's first year to participate. They really enjoyed it.
Rick takes this competition very seriously. Here were his prized cookies.
The ornament was his entry.
Cody made Charlie Brown with a Santa Hat.
I was really impressed with his creativity!
Isaiah's were more "abstract"
Laila ate her entry so we will just show her playing
her favorite Christmas gift, her guitar.
Lauren made a gingerbread man with a Santa hat.
I made a snowflake.
Abby made Rudolph, complete with a red nose!
Sam made a blue candy cane with marshmallows.
And, the winner was...
Abby!!! Her use of the swirled chips as her reindeer and her red nose
inside of the marshmallow gave her the edge over the rest of us!
Her prize? She got to be the first to open a gift in our rotation on Christmas morning. Not to mention the glory of winning.
I could not end this post without showing my absolute favorite cookie. Abby made this cookie of Africa. Swaziland is the white spot at the bottom. She did it free hand, no cookie cutter! This girl is always thinking of Africa. I can't wait for the day when I get to take her on her first trip there!! Christmas Eve night was fun. We nestled everyone into bed for the night. The anticipation of the next day could be felt in the air. I am not sure how much they all slept, but I know that Christmas day did not disappoint.
We attended Christmas Eve service at church. It was our chance to all dress up as a family. I love seeing everyone look so pretty and handsome. It is so funny because when I look at this picture of our family, it doesn't look that big to me, but when I look at other families with 6 children, they look HUGE! I guess for us, it looks just right.
Isaiah's tie choked him. That was a battle we decided not to fight
I loved being at church together. I spent most of the service with Isaiah and Laila crawling all over me. My favorite parts were the kids' video that Lauren, Abby, Sam, and Isaiah were in and Isaiah and Laila dancing with their little friends during the last songs of the service. I like being able to take time in the midst of our traditions and focus on the reason we are celebrating with our church family.
On Christmas Eve morning, we had brunch with friends at the Goad's house. It is one of my favorite traditions because it is not just for the kids. I enjoy it so much. It is relaxing, yummy, and great to celebrate with others.
We got a quick family picture
The kids were hilarious. The weather was nice enough for them to play outside. They were beating each other up on the trampoline. We only had a few minor injuries.
My cinnamon rolls
Really big kids
Big kids table (nice face, Cody)
The adult table minus Rick(who was taking the picture)
At the end, we took a group picture of all 20 0f us. You should have seen Steve running down the stairs after setting the timer on the camera to get in the picture. We were all cheering him on. The picture turned out surprisingly well. Here it is:
This was a great start to our day of Christmas Eve festivities.
Every year, we do Christmas baking. I like the end result, but the process is challenging. 6 kids in the kitchen, flour flying, fighting over whose turn it is, trying to make 5 different things and messes everywhere. All of these factors are a recipe for bad memories and grumpy muffins. So, this year, I changed it. I decided to bake one item with each kid. They could pick what they wanted to make. It gave us one-on-one time together. Each kid got to do way more than if we were all baking together, the mess was easier to manage, and it was much more enjoyable for me. I think this is a tradition I will keep!!
Cody was first. He chose to make fudge. We made a plain batch and a batch with walnuts.
We like to bake in our jammies.
The finished product!
Sam chose chocolate truffles. These are the most time consuming of our treats, but they are definitely my favorite!
Mixing the ingredients
Forming the truffles
The best part: enjoying our hard work.
Abby chose to make Chocolate Oatmeal No-bake cookies.
Working at the stove
Mixing it all up
The finished product
Lauren's favorite Christmas treat is Peppermint Snowball Cookies.
Crushing the peppermints
Cooking with my girl
Lovely, artsy photo
The finished product
I decided to let Isaiah and Laila help me make the sugar cookie dough for our cookie decorating contest. We needed 2 batches so they each got to do one.
We all have on our aprons for baking
Isaiah is a serious baker
His ball of dough completed
Just had to share their cuteness
Mixing the dough
Meltdown in the middle of the baking.
She got mad and scratched Isaiah.
Laila's batch of dough
It was fun!! I can actually say it was fun. That is good. I enjoyed baking with them, and the whole family has enjoyed the treats we made.
I am living my dream by being a wife to the most amazing man in the world and the mom of 6 beautiful children - 4 biological and 2 recently adopted from Southern Africa. It is my desire to follow Christ in all that I do. My life is not my own. I am moved and forever changed by my experiences in Africa. My husband and I often say our life could be a reality show. I am offering you a glimpse into our adventures. Welcome to my World!!