The kids were besides themselves with excitement when Christmas Eve finally arrived! We had spent the month counting down the days with 3 advent calendars (with a schedule of the rotation to make sure all was fair), 2 countdowns we changed each morning (the girls took turns on those), and 1 little Christmas elf (Herbie) to spy on us and hide each night. The trip to San Antonio helped the big day arrive a little faster and we had to hurry and squeeze in some last Christmas activities before the big night was upon us.
First on the agenda was breakfast at McDonalds. We did it on a whim a few years ago and Ella, who had just learned about what traditions were, decided that Christmas Eve breakfast at McDonalds should also be a tradition...and it has been ever since. (McD's pics courtesy of Mike)
We attempted a gingerbread house, as we do each year.
It continually fell apart, as it does each year.
But who really cares when all you really want to do is eat it anyway?! Ella opted to skip out on the building and join in on the eating.
After a nap for Preston and some down time for the rest of us, it was off to Grammy's and Greatfrog's for the big Christmas Eve dinner and gift exchange with my side of the fam. We had our traditional poppers that provided us with a little goodie and an awesome paper crown to wear. It is definitely a fun part of the night...especially to see everyone else wearing their silly crowns while pretending you are looking completely normal and not wearing one yourself.
(the girls stopped by the day before to help Grammy decorate their little table)
And then it was on to the presents! We let the kids take turns opening all their presents first. They were spoiled rotten by everyone...awesome toys, cute clothes (including gorgeous dresses made by Nana), a diary with the invisible ink pen she'd been hoping for, Shirley temple DVDs, and fun craft kits. Even Hope spent her own money on precious gifts for them...my personal favorite was some super cute Vans for Preston. (Mike captured most these shots too)
It was love at first sight when Ella opened her present from Hopie.
Nana made Preston and soon-to-arrive cousin Oliver matching bow ties (which is also what we gave Oliver...great minds think alike!).
More picture of this adorable kitty to come! A long time ago Addie had described to Nana, in a very detailed fashion, the stuffed kitty of her dreams and Nana definitely delivered. Addie named her kitty Sweetheart and it is her new BFF.
Anyone who knows my brother Mack or my grandfather, also knows that they are Republicans through and through. When I saw this freebie months ago, I couldn't resist :-). We talked about sticking them on their cars, but I didn't think they would appreciate the humor in that as much, especially if they drove anywhere before noticing.
Frog and his cool canvas from Kirk.
I had been DYING to give this pillow to my mom! It took so long for me to think of the right present for her, and I couldn't wait for her to see it. Presents are so fun :-)!
My cute necklace from Kayley. She's trying to help me break out of my safe zone when it comes to my style...I'm just such a chicken :-).
While Mike was opening his presents we noticed Preston was being awfully quiet.
And this is why...Uncle Scott kindly shared a bag of his candy with him and I'm pretty sure Scott is now his favorite uncle :-). I was not his favorite mom when I took the bag away.
We are set for date nights now...we already used one gift card, so it's a good thing I got one from Chrissy during the Freeman exchange too!
After finishing up with the presents, we headed back home to finish our Christmas Eve traditions. The kids tried their best to spot Rudolph in the sky as we drove home, but no luck this year. They opened their Christmas Eve present (which Ella now knows is always going to be Christmas PJs) first.
We changed, put out our cookies for Santa (along with a juice box and a carrot for Rudolph), read the story of Christ's birth in Luke and then sprinkled reindeer food outside. This was our first year having food for the reindeer and we learned that it is easier for them to eat from the grass than the sidewalk...we'll keep that in mind for next year.
Addie and Preston fell asleep quickly, but poor Ella really struggled. She came in our room a couple times after she was tucked in. The first time she came in and asked me very sincerely, "What are some of your tricks for falling asleep?" This is how she eventually succeeded. Christmas with kids is definitely fun!