Christmas Joy

Christmas morning was full of joy and wonder!
Santa managed to surprise all the kids big and small!
Hailey is a huge Supernatural fan and to everyone's surprise cardboard cutouts of the two main characters flanked the tree.  Siri was so alarmed she started howling and growling at 5 am!  Needless to say, we were all up early.  I think I feel like Siri and am a little unnerved by the middle age men in my house. ;)
 Karlie was thrilled to get a kindle reader to give her access to thousands of books!  She also loved her neon green Nike's and a RipStick!  Hopefully we won't have any broken bones in the New Year.
Kaitlin was the envy of all her siblings as Santa gave her a mini iPad!!  Hailey's comment was, "jealousy is real man."  With pink headphones and a pink purse, she certainly will be pretty in pink.
Hank's big presents were a mountain bike, Magnatiles, Underarmour shoes and a basketball hoop for his room.
 Karlie was so sweet finding a present for Daddy. 
 He had told her a while ago how as a kid he had wanted a giant gobstopper so badly but they could never afford spending that kind of money on such a frivolous gift.  She knew we had to go to the candy store and find the biggest gobstopper they had so she could give it to him.  He plans to keep in it his office.
 One of Kaitlin's favorite gifts was a polar bear Hank gave her.  My sweet baby bears.
 They all asked for headphones that work.  It looks like they will be rocking in style in the New Year!
Magnatiles were the big hit that kept these two busy for hours!

To finish off a wonderful day of celebrating the blessings and joys of our life we had a crab fest.  We went to Costco to get some crab legs and they had a few full crabs.  We decided to give it a try and decided it was SO good we may need to start a new tradition.
Christmas in one word is JOY!

Christmas Eve Fun

 We never suffer from a lack of something to do in our house and Christmas Eve was no exception.  We were running from morning till night.  Literally...
Max and I did a 4 mile desert run to try and counter the evenings caloric bomb that was in our future.
 We made up family game night baskets for friends and family this year and couldn't leave out our horse family.  Hailey put together an apples, carrots, lettuce and sugar cube basket for Sunny and Mrs. Murphy.
 Hailey and Mrs. Rose dressed the horses up and delivered candy canes to the neighbors. Such a blessed girl!  Her smile was so big I thought she might explode.
 They shocked many people as they opened the door to see a horse with a santa beard and reindeer horns.  Quite a few people told them that they made their day.  She loved spreading a little Christmas cheer through our neighborhood.
 Then we were off to Christmas Eve service with Karlie's best friend and her family.  I cry every year when we sing Silent Night.
We put this beauty in the oven before church and came home to the most amazing smell!
 It made for a bounty of  Yorkshire Pudding!
 We had a feast fit for a King on the night the King of all Kings came into the world.
It was a lovely evening with much anticipation in the air.

Down to the wire!  After dinner we made sugar cookies for Santa and ended up with three plates full and a plate of carrots for the reindeer.
Then they got to open their first gift, which is always matching Christmas PJs.  This year we were boy and girl polar bears.
Karlie's shirt says Bearly Sleeping.  I can't think of a more fitting title for Christmas Eve. :)  Sweet dreams for my little bears.

A Christmas Carol

The weekend before Christmas, Hailey and Karlie performed FIVE productions of A Christmas Carol!
Every year our church does and holiday production for the community and this year the play was a A Christmas Carol.  They always have a full house and I feel it is not your typical church play.  They have some seriously talented actors and director.  It is all just members of the church and everyone pitching in to make the scenes and costumes.  My family was here visiting and was able to see it and they were all impressed with the acting.
 It is a huge commitment to audition and be in the play.  The girls have had practice every Monday since mid September and then full show practices were for hours over the weekend before the production.
 Karlie wants to be involved in every activity she has an opportunity to partake in.  As a result on some Mondays she would go to volleyball practice, I would pick her up and she would eat dinner in the car on the way to play practice and then we would be up until 10 doing homework.  But she never complained once!  However, I might have. :)
 Karlie was a towns person and a party guest at Mr. Fezziwig's shop party.  She had a dance routine and really enjoyed being on stage.
 Hailey was Mary Cratchit and loved acting.  She got so into her roll that she would cry when little Tim died.
 The girls did such a nice job and we are so proud of how much time and effort they put into the production.
They are already talking about next year's play! :)

December Delights

I love the holidays and all the festive activities, class parties and baking surrounding Christmas!
My little elf helped me make an eggless version of the gingerbread man he was having during a class party.
We made cupcake ornaments for friends and family.
Can't let Christmas go by without a gingerbread house!
In the mix of all the festivities Karlie's robotics team went to the state championship.  For being one of the youngest teams there, they did great.   They were one of eight teams out of sixty five to get a call back for the final awards!  While they didn't earn a trophy, they had a great time and Karlie learned so much.
At the final celebration they had a dance party.  Leave it to Karlie to be front and center on the big screen. :)
Before the break, Kaitlin and Hank performed their trampoline routines at gymnastics.
Hank is such a dare devil, he has advance higher than Kaitlin.  
He has no concern for his personal safety and as a result is able to bounce and throw himself around with reckless abandon.
Olaf was the star of the show!
For Hank's winter party the first graders did a play where each student read lines from works they were studying.  Hank's group read Into the Woods.
My nephew RJ was visiting and got to come to the parties too.  Hank was thrilled to have RJ help him build his log house.
Karlie enjoyed what is likely her last holiday party as she will be a big middle schooler next year. :(
Kaitlin and her best buddy wrapped numerous books for the book drive.
 We were lucky to have my parents and my sister and her family come visit us the weekend before Christmas.
The cousins had so much fun playing.  One morning in the advent calendar everyone got Kinetic Sand.  They spent hours playing with it and the clean up is easier than play-doh!
 My Grandpa, Great Aunt Eileen, Uncle Larry and Aunt Ann came over for a Sunday brunch and a little football watching. 
The holidays are some of the hardest times to live without family around, so it was especially nice to have such a gathering around Christmas.  We are grateful to all who came because we know how stressful it is to travel, especially around the holiday season.
December was full of delightful moments!