Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day 2017

God has been so good to my family.  I look at the gifts that we are able to share with each other and am overwhelmed with gratitude.

We baked a birthday cake and the twins decorated with a ton of sprinkles.  They felt that if they liked them as much as they did, then Jesus must really like sprinkles.  Sound logic resulted in a yummy cake.  We also left out our cookies, that we made earlier in the week and milk for Santa Clause.
The youngest ones are always the first ones up.  They had to wait until everyone got to the stairs.  Not easy to be morning people after a long night.  We did know that Pooker would be leaving soon to work her EMT job that afternoon.  They knew that they couldn't sleep in much longer and they started to awake.
Once their eyes were open everyone was too excited to go back to sleep, anyway.  I mean Santa came!!!
After a morning prayer, Dad were called them off the stairs one by one.  J enjoys the lead role he has for Christmas day.

I love that they go one at a time so that they can enjoy watching each other.  They do enjoy watching their siblings get their gifts.

Dad was thrilled with his Coffee Bar.

We do only 3 gifts each.  Jesus got three so we get three.  The kids know that mom and dad help Santa buy the gifts but that he always makes sure there is a fun surprise for each child.
Cleaning up isn't as important as showing your gifts to your siblings . . . 
or setting up your new coffee bar.

 .  .  . Maybe even time will be spent putting new stickers all over the fridge.

After snacking all day dinner is always a welcomed feast.
The conversations never stop.  I found it funny that Twin Adorable asked if I would switch spots with her so she and Twin Beautiful could carry on their conversations.  
I always feel like Family is the BEST CHRISTMAS gift.
As we sat around still talking Pooker returned and the feast was on again!  

Let's be very honest.  Our house has had to be very (very) clean because it is on the market.  On an event like Christmas there is not help.  Even the cleanest of houses don't look clean.  I used to feel like I was failing because the back room was messy while the front room looked perfect.  I don't any more.  I have learned that Christmas is messy behind the scenes.  When I watch those Hallmark movies with the picture perfect Christmas unwrapping I often wonder to myself which room they are hiding their Christmas Mess in.  It is all worth it. 

I love seeing all the happy faces but more importantly I love seeing the family all love on each other.  We spend much less this year on Christmas. It was still wonderful.  The point isn't the cost or the mess but the joy!  I am so lucky to celebrate life with these people.  Thank you Jesus for letting us celebrate your birthday!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

This crowd has very specific "traditions" in place for our family Christmas.  Pooker had started a new job so we thought our plans were going to change this year, and yet she was able to get the evening off.  We always start with Mass.  Then as we carry over the traditions at home we have food - any appetizer that the kids want is fair game.  This can make it a long process to prepare, but with everyone happy with their favorite treats we can all enjoy the rest of the evening.  

Then the gift exchanges start.  The kids share gifts with each other, they also open gifts from grandparents. Often times the LT family are hear with us.  Troy and Kat join in the fun.  The kids have a secret Santa gift and this year added a Texas White Elephant game to the mix.

Secret Santa gifts were based on comic book characters.  They all get so very creative in finding out what the other persons favorite character is and then finding the perfect gift.

They all enjoy watching each other.

Bear gets to act like Santa and pass out the gifts on Christmas Eve.

Beautiful - Kat - Adorable
Kat and Troy enjoy being a part of the crazy family fun.

Adorable - Beautiful
Bear's gift to everyone this year was a little bit of a joke.

He gave everyone a St. Greg's t-shirt or bag.  No "future Cavilers" considering the school closed.  
    ~ At least he is now ready to laugh about it (a little).

This is a picture of 13 of my favorite people in the entire world.  They are all so different yet each so fun. I look at this picture and I see personality and passion on each of their faces.  I see LOVE.  I thank God for giving me a taste of HIS love for humanity.  

After all the gifts were unwrapped and the room cleaned up, we tend to have a "second or third" dinner and then everyone seperates from the big group for side conversations. I love how the pictures taken later in the evening often include the wearing of new gifts, wands or pajamas.

I don't even remember who gave Bear this shirt but it was too perfect!

I tried to sneak into my office to upload some pictures and post a Facebook greeting before finishing the clean up.  I stumbled into a scene with Pooker at her computer.  She turned the computer so I could say hello to JavaJava.  I "caught" them in the middle of their night prayers together.  This new young couple that live in different parts of Texas try to end each day by praying together.  They are forming great habits for sure.  This reminded me also about why my family loves Christmas Eve so much.  It isn't about the gifts at all.  We always start the night at Mass in our matching/coordinated outfits.  We celebrate HIS birth and the opportunity of heaven.  That celebration is what the entire night is about.  God became flesh and because of that we can someday be a part of the communion of saints.  It might not include the food or the presents but it will look and feel much like these kids on Christmas Eve.  Just Pure Love of each other and gratefulness that HE came.
Merry Christmas!