Sunday, January 25, 2015

Christmas Eve and Christmas Prep!

Christmas Eve is always kinda crazy but it is getting more so as the kids "get" the whole Santa thing even more this year.  We ended the night with a drive around town in a driving snowstorm to check out lights.  There's a house a few blocks from us with lights synced to music we've visited a few times, so the first few houses we hit up were kinda duds compared to it.  However, we hit the jackpot with the last house as they had 20+ blow-ups, a ton of light up and wooden characters and then the icing on the cake was a video-type screen/projection in the window of Santa taking presents, eating cookies and blowing out a candle.  It was a truly magical Christmas moment for Matthew to think that Santa was at that house and that we got a sneak peek of him!  Unfortunately, it then set Matthew into a world of panic as he was afraid we wouldn't be at home in enough time and Santa would skip our house!  We then spent 20 minutes driving home and reassuring him that there was plenty of time to get in bed before Santa would skip us.  It at least made bedtime super easy!!

Before we headed out to check out the lights, the kids opened their present from James and I which was a new board game and pajamas!  
It was the year of matching PJs!!
 Then the kiddos had some prop fun with Amma and Papa!

 And they tested out our new Sorry game!
 Oh and John's outfit has a cape!  Sleeping Batman with a cape.  I die.
Before PJ and Christmas lights time, we headed out for some sledding.  My goal is that each year we either sled or swim on Christmas Eve as additional insurance for that nice and easy Christmas Eve bedtime!  John got to test out his new thermals from Mas and Pas!  
 This might be the best photo I have of all three kids!  Soooooo cute!
 Kids on a sled (for dragging not downhill, that would have been a disaster!)
 John's first small downhill experience:
 Papa and Catherine (poor Uncle Matt was still trying to recover from that danged cold!)
 James tries it sled-less!
 Way at the top of the hill!
And an action shot of Matthew's first big tumble.  Next Christmas the kiddos are getting winter helmets from Santa as this icy hill causes mommy heart palpitations!  
Prior to Christmas Eve all the stores had already marked down their extra lights so I picked up a strand to play around with for photos.  I can't get the lighting right yet, but at least the kids are cute!

 The big kids jumped in for photos!

 There was more baby chatting:




 And some candy finding in the tree:
 More board games:
And a full tree picture.   We don't decorate a ton around the house but I always love our tree of hodge-podge ornaments non-strategically placed by the kids!
 The kids during one of their light shows:
 And family Potica making time!  Catherine diligently poked holes in the bread:
 Family photo break!
 Matthew "helping"by telling me something super important I'm sure:
 Adding cinnamon's another good step for the kids to help with since you can never have too much!
 Helping spread the filling:
 Teamwork!
 Story distractions while we worked on the more intense rolling parts:

 Flouring the sheet is another place where kid-style help is appreciated!
 As Catherine said, she liked "booming" the flour:
 And just before Amma and Papa arrived Uncle Matt was here to help with our other big baking project of the season.  It's probably my favorite one yet!


John was not amused, but content in Uncle Matt's arms!

 Then he just supervised:
 Hanging out!
 Making dough the day before.  We normally don't eat the house/dough at all so I had no qualms about Catherine helping with her general sickness.  So far:

We all got to attend Matthew's first school performance.  There's our adorable (and short!) little man in the front row!

Here's some snippets of his first performance:
Catherine spent a lot of time hanging out with Uncle Matt while John and I headed out for a doctor's appointment so Catherine got her cuddles in early.  Uncle Matt played super Uncle for the day, taking Catherine to museum while I had my 6 week check-up, and then hanging out with Catherine at the library while I took photos for a Mom's Club craft day, of which Catherine handedly chose her one-on-one time with Uncle Matt over hanging out with mom!

 Catherine was willing to at least help me set up!


To say the universe rewarded Uncle Matt for his awesomeness that day may be an understatement as he was able to procure 2-20 year bottles of Pappy's Whiskey Some people wait for years to get one bottle, and pay far much more for it, which I didn't believe until I read an entire article on the insanity over this one specific distillery.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/pappy-van-winkles-aged-bourbon-cant-keep-pace-with-consumer-demand/2014/10/12/76b49ea6-4e5b-11e4-aa5e-7153e466a02d_story.html.  It was truly a stroke of luck that we stopped into the liquor store in the next town over after the craft event instead of before and they were literally unloading a shipment as we pulled in.
More goofing around with Uncle Matt!

 And some baby loving!
 I asked the kids to help me test out some things with the photobooth set-up.  Due to a weird misunderstanding, they thought they needed to go get dressed up for it!  Love these monkeys!
 And last but not least a few shots from Catherine's preschool play.  She was Joseph and took her job very seriously:
And was quite enamored with "baby Jesus".  Love this girl!  

And that's a wrap on our Christmas adventures.  When I went big with Christmas last year I didn't realize once you do something with the kids it becomes a tradition in their mind!  I was so thankful for all the friends and family who helped keep our traditions going this season and keep the holiday so magical for the big kids while we were in the midst of newborn chaos!  





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