There is one thing for sure. Christmas is more than one day in our family! It's a season. It's an extended celebration. It
sometimes feels like a marathon! And... we kind of like it that way... kind of.
We spend our time, especially the days leading up to Christmas day, buzzing about! Here and there. His family, my family, our family. Sprinkle in some friends, some shopping, a little baking, and moment or two at home, a late night Christmas movie or two, and before you know it, every second is packed with Christmas merriment!
Lots of memories.
Too many pictures to use in one post.
Car loads of luggage and gifts.
Lots to clean.
And... a lot of sleep to catch up on!
As mentioned, there are too many pictures to post at once. I had a hard time knowing where to start and how to narrow my choices down. I chose to start with pictures from Christmas Eve. There are a lot of pictures from before, during, and after Christmas to share as well. This, however, was the day we actually got a family photo with everyone... even the baby... looking. sort of. So, I decided to lead with that!
Every Christmas Eve, as long as I can remember, and I assume longer than I have been alive, my dad's side of the family gets together. We rotate houses - this year was at Mary Ann and Gene's (my dad's sister - my aunt and uncle). This was Lily's first time coming to Christmas Eve brunch (we usually have her from Christmas day until school starts - this year it was in reverse).
Christmas brunch is always fun! It is a tradition I love! We eat first, of course. There are the "classics" that are always there... my aunt's breakfast casserole, always a ham, biscuits and gravy, hot fruit, fresh fruit, doughnuts... and then we have some dishes that show up from time to time and those that are new. This year my sister tried a new recipe - ginger pear muffins! Yum!
Is there anything cuter than ruffle butts
and chunky baby legs??
I think not.
After everyone eats, there is lots of visiting. We have 5 little girls, so there is always lots of playing! My aunt's house is 3 floors and multiple sets of stairs, so the kids have a blast running here and there, up and down, hiding and seeking and playing everything you can imagine!
Eventually the kids get antsy and start asking when we are going to do gifts! We get everyone gathered back together in one room (this year there were 22 of us and we had 5 missing due to medical and other issues). We let the kids open their gifts from everyone so that they will have something to do while the adults do gifts.
When I say, "do gifts" in regard to the adults, I am referring to "Chinese Auction" or "Dirty Santa." Several years ago as our families grew, we started doing this little game and it has proven to bring lots of holiday cheer and many laughs each and every year. The "big" kids (Lily, Bentlee, and Elizabeth included) get to participate as well. It is so. much. fun.
"The auction" as we call it, takes quite a while with that many people and lots of stealing. Lily LOVED being a part and finally seeing what we have been talking about! She scored big with a fun game AND some chocolates and hot chocolate mugs. She drew the number 1 which gave her first and last pick - so she was thrilled!
Ava Grace caught on quick and wanted to open every one's gift. Luckily, by the time auction time came, shew as pretty worn out and eventually gave in to a nap in her Daddy's lap!
Before her nap, she did lots of exploring, tried to play with the big girls, settled for playing with her cousin Kenslee (who also only fit into some of the big girls games), and lots of toddling around and climbing stairs!
I think my favorite part of this year was having my sister and brother-in-law with us! They were there last year, but I wasn't because I was on bed rest with Ava Grace. This year was even more special because now they LIVE here and will be here every year - very exciting!
Ava Grace went through a total of 3 outfit changes! Her dress was too hard to crawl/walk in. This outfit got spit up on. Then she ended up in her Christmas Eve PJs, just in time for the family photos, of course.
Here is a picture of the whole crew! Left to right: Grandmommy, Papaw, Chris, Ava Grace, Me, Lily, Ken, Sarah (SIL), Bentlee, Kenslee, Sarah (sis), and Malcolm. And?? Everyone is (more or less) looking and smiling... in one take! Amazing.
After Christmas Eve brunch, we headed to Murfreesboro to pop in for barbecue with Chris' family. Then we headed home where we baked cookies for Santa, watched a Christmas movie, played a game, read the night before Christmas and headed to bed anticipating the joy of Christmas morning!
I hope your Christmas Eve was just as merry and bright!
I'll be back soon with more from our Christmas!