Saturday, January 2, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Keeping up with my childhood tradition, we opened family gift exchange presents on Christmas Eve. We also let the kids open up their presents from my parents. I don't know why I bothered even trying to get pictures. Nell and Coraline are nothing but blur in each shot I took.

Checking out the dump truck Grandma and Gramdpa Bassett gave him.
Nell gave Reid a space Lego set he had his eye on after seeing it in our Lego Club magazine. Reid gave Nell Sofia dress up shoes, and he also picked out the gifts my parents gave her. He had a really hard time picking which one Sofia thing he should get her, so I told him we could get all three (shoes, mermaid, and boombox) and have two of them be from my parents. It was actually a pretty brilliant idea. I think I'll stick with it in the future. I'll make it clear that the gift is from Grandma and Grandpa Bassett, but let their sibling exchange partner choose it for them. That helps take one less gift out of the equation. I always worry that by the end of the holiday the kids are too spoiled, but that whole idea is another post in and of itself. 

So back to the joy of Christmas! After playing with their new toys for about an hour we got everyone all ready for bed and just about tucked in, then Reid suddenly reminded me we needed to leave out cookies and carrots. Luckily we had a couple cookies leftover after our treat delivery from earlier that day. I put two on plate, one for both Mr and Mrs Claus. Then I added three carrots. Reid quickly started counting all of Santa's reindeer, and we ended up having to cut each carrot into three pieces. He was worried they were a bit small, but we reminded him other boys and girls would be feeding them along the way. 

They went to bed very excited and tired. Once they'd been asleep about an hour I decided it was time to start wrapping. Ben and I headed to the basement and pulled presents out of closets and dressers and locked bedrooms. It didn't take long to wrap everything. They each had three toys and a book. I had art supplies and stuffed animals for their stockings. By 10:00 pm I was eating the cookies and headed to bed! It was a lovely Christmas Eve. 

I actually ended up laying the stockings out by the presents.
And Ben and I do have a couple of goodies in our stockings. Promise.

I woke up around 6:00 to start breakfast. We had a yummy cinnamon roll french toast casserole I'd seen on facebook. Lots of sugar, but a great way to celebrate such an exciting morning. The kids woke up before their sun/moon turned on, and I heard Nell say "Is this the day Santa came?" I love how a good night's sleep can make them forget everything about their life. Ha! Reid got up to use the bathroom, but Ben helped shield him from the front room. Like last year, we recorded the whole morning and captured their genuine first view of the tree. Nell's was quickly dashed as Ben made her go put some pants on. That girl, she'd never wear pants if she had things her way!
My favorite parts of the morning were Reid's confusion about which stocking was his. He was so obsessed with that hammer head shark Santa gave Coraline. Funny boy didn't even realize it was his! Nell was just cracking me up, she got all the princesses she loved, but didn't care to play with any of them. I had guessed her favorite gift would be Blades, the Transformer helicopter, and you'd think I was right based on the video. But really, her favorite gift was the clearance pajamas I bought on a late night run to Target. I almost took them back; good thing I didn't. She was in love with them! That's all she wore the rest of the day (and the following day). She cries if I don't wash them and promptly return them to her jammie drawer after each time she dirties them. 

Nell basically had twice the Christmas Reid did, as she got to open all of Coraline's presents. I wish I would have captured Coraline's face when she saw her baby doll. It was perfect. You can hear her excitement and her impatience as she waited for me to get it out of the package. She was so happy to have that baby. 

Oh, another funny thing about the video -- when I was wrapping presents I worried about putting the rescue bots in an amazon box. Ben told me the kids wouldn't notice. Ha, "It's a package!" was their response. Cracked me up, but luckily they haven't really asked about it. Anyway, enough talking about it, watch it all for yourself!

Coraline loving her baby

Taking a break to eat breakfast

She was in such a princess mood, she even asked me to put in some piggy tales! 
Making sure all her dot paints work. 
Spiffy little Fire Fighter.
LDS missionaries call home twice a year during their 18 month (female) and 2 year (male) service mission. The two lucky days are Christmas and Mother's Day. So we had the Elders over by 10:00. They each took one of our phones and skyped their families in our basement. It was fun to occasionally hear an exciting shout coming up through the floors. They only get to talk for about an hour. So we quickly began packing for Grandma and Grandpa Szilagyi's after they left. The kids were so excited to go. I'd wondered if they'd be upset that they had to leave their new toys so soon after getting them, but they did not even think about it. Reid had finished building his Lego sets, mostly by himself, and was ready to go. We did let them bring their new stuffed animals and the Rescue Bots. Plus, Nell was wearing her jammies so she was still on cloud nine.

We made it to the Szilagyi homestead by 3:00 and the kids began looking for their Aunts. They were very excited to see both Lauren and Sam. Reid spied some presents under the tree and started asking me why Grandma and Grandpa hadn't opened their gifts from Santa. He could hardly think of anything else until we let him know he could start opening them. Even as he opened them, I don't think he'd realized they were actually gifts for him. He quickly figured it all out though. He was pretty cute when he opened his last one, a rather large box he said "I don't think I can carry this one," while hoisting it across the room, "Oh, I got it Grandpa. I can carry it." Inside was a remote control crane that has quickly become his favorite Christmas present. He could not wait to get home and put it together. 

Unfortunately, he made a little pouty face when he realized that was his last gift, and the remainder of the presents were for his cousins. So we quickly sent him upstairs for a time out. I feel like the same thing happened last year. His first gift makes him so happy and he'd be content with just that one thing. But then the gifts keep coming, and by the time he finishes present number 12 he expects more. It's kind of upsetting, but hopefully we can get a better handle on that attitude next year. But like I said earlier, that's another post for another day (and one I probably won't ever write). 

Nell did well, and was totally in love with the Cabbage patch doll she received. She was also really excited about the new bath toys and board/card games. Coraline couldn't wait for me to get her cute farm puppets out of the package. She was also pretty eager to bang on her xylophone. They had quiet the haul and were very patient about waiting until we got home to play with some of the bigger items.  

A few hours later we had a delicious Christmas dinner with Ben's parents and three of his siblings. As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post, my kids always love playing with their cousins and this holiday was no exception. Nell just loves her Allie. And Allie was very generous in sharing her Christmas gifts with my kids. The three of them were busy glittering away some cool pictures and creating play doh Star Wars adventures. 

Saturday morning we made a trip down to the Chicago Temple to seal Ben's grandparents to one another. It was a lovely experience to be together as a family in both the sealing room and the Celestial room. In all my travels around the world (not that I'm a world traveling, but I have lived in three countries and three different US regions), I have never found a place as peaceful as the Celestial room. 

We loved having special time with Aunt Lauren and Aunt Sam. Sam babysat the kids for us while we drove down to Chicago and we are very grateful for that. She kept them busy with some awesome new coloring books, and also let them enjoy a lazy morning of cartoon watching. Oh to be a kid again!

We were able to celebrate Lauren's birthday a bit with Grandma's yummy spaghetti dinner Sunday afternoon (we missed Lauren's actual birthday, which was Monday). My kids have been asking for Grandma's spaghetti every couple of days since we got home. Looks like I'll have to get the recipe for that one! 

Overall it felt like a low key holiday weekend, which is strange because we did so many big things (Christmas day, Temple trip). I guess that's just a testament to how comfortable and enjoyable weekend stays at Grandma and Grandpa's house are. Rick and I went on a nice evening walk Friday night, and Saturday I went to bed early, all snuggled up with Coraline. She slept in my arms the entire night and I loved it! I'm usually not a big fan of co-sleeping, but she did so well, and I was in heaven over all the little loves I got from her. 

We left around 6:00 Sunday evening and each of the kids fell asleep before we even hit the freeway. Proof of a successful visit! Our hearts were full and my kids are already dreaming up the excitement that will come with next year's Christmas and next month's stay at Grandma's house. 


Claudia said...

What a beautiful Christmas holiday the Szilagyi's all had! It sounds and looks like a very merry one!

Pa said...

Great memories! Christmas is a magical time of year!

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