Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016

I can't decide if I love having Christmas on a weekend or dislike it, but either way we had a long three day for celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately, we started and ended the weekend with a sick mini. That really cut down on the amount of fun we could have and some missed celebrations. I'm very happy we have the tradition of staying home on Christmas so we got to spend all of Christmas Day together (it was also the day that the oldest sick mini felt the crappiest).

Despite the sick mini, it really was a great, relaxing long weekend. I made sure to capture as much as I could, beginning with Friday evening.

My parents picked up the three minis and Hubs and I got in some last minute shopping. I was shocked to see Valentine's Day and spring items out two days before Christmas. We did get some excellent deals on Christmas related items since everything winter was on clearance (which is funny because I feel like winter hasn't even come to Iowa yet).

It may be out a tad early for my liking, but the Target Dollar Spot had some cute Valentine's items.

I tried to talk Hubs into this giant Disney Princess Barbie set for Elizabeth. I was met with "are you f*cking with me?" He had me take a picture of him taking it out of the cart and back onto the shelf.

Towards the end of our shopping adventure, we got a call that the oldest mini had a high fever, so we wrapped up shopping quickly and headed home. Without going into detail, we'll just share that we ended our night scrubbing the carpet clean from puke stains. We were exhausted and had been looking forward to a relaxing night after the minis went to bed. Obviously life had other plans for us (as usual).

That white ball of fluff in the back of the tree? That's just our cat Sophia, drinking the tree water.

Christmas Eve Day was fairly relaxing. We had planned on it that way, but needed it that way since the oldest mini wasn't feeling well at all. Mostly he laid around and watched Christmas movies (thank you Netflix and Hulu). We started the Santa Tracker early at 10 a.m. The two youngest watched eagerly and squealed with joy whenever Santa hit a new country.

The minis took excellent naps all weekend (yes, all 3 took naps!!). While they napped Christmas Eve, I wrapped presents. I don't like wrapping presents, but I found a way to keep myself entertained with the gift addressing.

For the first time on Christmas Eve the five of us weren't together. The oldest was not feeling up to much and we didn't want him to get extended family sick. Hubs and Max stayed at home, while Harrison, Elizabeth, and myself went to my mom's side of the family's Christmas at my Aunt's. I was worried that Max would be upset about missing out, but he was surprisingly fine with everything, which made it easy for me. I would have felt horrible about leaving if he was upset. The group hugs the minis gave each other before being separated was the only thing that pulled at my heart strings just a bit.

Harrison is a tad attached to cousin Natalie.

Our annual Christmas picture in front of the tree at my Aunt's, minus two.

Waiting patiently for presents to open.

H rockin' his new vest.

Elizabeth helped EVERYONE open their presents, including my parents who got breakable (that's an intense word in our life) glasses. She kept shouting (as my mom held onto it tightly so she didn't drop it), "cups! You got some new cups!"

After my Aunt's house, the three of us looked at Christmas lights on our way home. Every year we head down 5th Street in historic Valley Junction to see the lights, then to the Waterbury neighborhood to enjoy the streets lined with luminaries. We've done this for the past several years (longer than the youngest mini has been alive), but apparently this is the first year she's taken notice to what we were looking at.

Elizabeth: "Mom?"
Me: "Yes Elizabeth?"
Elizabeth: "What are those bags doing on the ground with some fire in them?" (some of them had burned and you could smell it in the air)
Me: "Those are the luminaries. The ones we look at every year in this area...."
Elizabeth: "Oh. This is the first time I have seen them. It's so sad when they burn like that. When we do them, don't have them burn okay?"

When we got home, Max got to open his gifts. His back scratcher  was the first present he opened (and one of his favorite he got).

The cat needed attention too....

So excited for Santa to visit that there was some dancing on the toilet.....

This was the first year in, well, ever, that Hubs and I were actually prepared. We had a good majority of the mini's gifts wrapped and no gifts that needed put together. The minis went right to sleep which meant Hubs and I got everything under the tree in good time AND had time to get the house semi-cleaned up.

The minis are VERY good on Christmas mornings. The youngest mini slept until 8 a.m. and boys had to wait for her (they had only been up for an hour). The scoped out all of the gifts, but did a good job being quiet and not touching the gifts until we were all awake.

But once we were all awake, the insanity began. Gifts were torn open, then played with all day long. We welcomed family throughout the day for more present openings, drinks, and appetizers. We had an excellent day of movie watching (The Secret Life of Pets was great), game playing, Lego building, coloring, and taking naps.

Her first American Girl Doll (Samantha). 48 hours later and the doll's hair is already a mess.

Open up the champagne, pop! Welcome to our house Christmas Day.

Max teaching Elizabeth how to play "chest."

Hubs playing with "the kid's" new toy Sphero

We made the minis pause to get these pictures before they were off playing. I'm really happy we stay home on Christmas because the oldest mini wasn't feeling great and wouldn't have been able to go anywhere. I like it when little things like that align.

Cuddling and watching Secret Life of Pets with the sickie.

A few weeks ago, the middle mini started asking for a treasure chest filled with crystals (random, right?). Santa had already finished her Christmas shopping, but Grandma Sheaffer found one AND filled it with "pirate loot" (play jewelry and coins). I have no idea what his plans are with this treasure chest (and he's the type of kid that always has a plan when he asks for something) but so far it's tucked away safely in his room, where only he can get to it. I'm sure there will be some kind of story featuring this kid and his treasure soon....

Elizabeth taking a smoke break.....if you're confused about this, read here for your explanation.

Several Lego sets were completed, including a Dr. Strange set and the castle from Beauty and the Beast.

Elizabeth's American Girl Doll and Bitty Baby and her doll luggage carrier.

We all took excellent naps Christmas Day afternoon (including me. It was one of those naps where I laid on the couch, closed my eyes, and woke up two hours later toasty warm from snuggling cats. It's been awhile since I've had that kind of nap) so we stayed up late playing games. 

The day after Christmas was a late start (for me at least) after being up a lot of the night with a sick mini. We had a lazy morning playing games before heading to my parent's house for our day after Christmas celebration.

Someone INSISTED on bringing her dolls since they have their own suitcase now.

More presents!

We're VERY excited about our National Park Pass! When trying to decide what to ask for for Christmas, we try to keep in mind things we love to do and any plans for 2017. Of course, we had big ideas of road trips in the new year so we asked for a NPP to take us to our adventures! We can't wait to share those with you in 2017!

Christmas celebrations aren't complete without selfies.

We ended our weekend with a (short lived) dance party before jammies and bed. Can't Stop The Feeling was a perfect ending.

One of their favorite gifts they got this Christmas: matching tiger slippers.

While I could have done without a sick mini, the weekend was very relaxing, which I feel we needed a lot of. There was no working (sometimes hard to accomplish when you work from home), only game playing and quality time together. Only a few more days until we ring in 2017!