The entire Nate family (our adopted family, Dan's best friend Brian's family) was gone except for Brian's grandpa, so we invited Grandpa Perkins to join us for our Christmas Eve program. I asked him to tell us some stories about Christmases in this house (it's Grandpa's house that we live in.) He told a story of when his two oldest boys were young. On Christmas morning they saw footprints in the snow and decided they must belong to Santa Claus. After being gone for quite awhile tracking Santa, the tired and cold boys returned and said, "Those were your footprints, weren't they, Dad?"
Dan's Aunt Donna Kay sent homemade quilts for each of the kids. She picked out the fabric and had one of her neighbors sew the quilts. Her choices were absolutely perfect; she couldn't have picked better!
Amelia was absolutely giddy about her pink princess quilt!
Mack was pretty pleased with his as well. The fabulous thing is that other than the receiving blankets my sister Becky made, this is the first real "boy" quilt Mack has. He's been sleeping under hand-me-down pink blankets for the last year. So thank you, Donna, for helping Mack work on his masculinity while he sleeps!
Lily cuddles in her horse blanket on the couch nearly every day.
I made the mistake this year of looking at personalized stockings online while the girls could see. Amelia was in love with a pink one, but I didn't end up buying any after I discovered we had spent all of our Christmas budget. I've been pretty lame about stockings. Growing up, each of us, including the parents, had our own special stockings. Mine is the patchwork one that matches my baby quilt. My Mom's is the one with her name written in glitter glue, made when she was a girl. But the rest are just generic ones that seem to be used for a different person each year.
The white stocking is one that we mooched from Brian and Becca last year because I'd never gotten one for Amelia. Poor Mack had to use the old dog stocking that used to be Jake's. But the funniest stocking was Amelia's. Just before the girls went to bed, we layed out the stockings and Amelia exclaimed, "You didn't get my pink one!" Oh, was she pissed! I offered to let her use mine since it had pink in it, but she would have none of it.
Thank goodness for Grammie. My Mom asked quietly if we had any pink socks or anything, but all we had that was big enough was a pair of pink leggings. So we tied knots in the legs, told Amelia how cool it would be to have a "double-legged" stocking and voila, she was happy again.
I kept giggling every time I looked at her stocking.
On Christmas morning, the little girl voices began trickling in from the living room about 7:15. Thankfully, Grammie got up with the girls and watched them open their stockings while Dan and I lounged in bed. I kept thinking I should get up and go take pictures, but it was so much fun to just lay in bed and smile as we heard all the exclamations of joy. "A pink poodle, a pink poodle!"
This video is the only evidence that I was there on Christmas morning. Plus it demonstrates how bossy Amelia is and how she often needs to be reminded that some stuff isn't hers.
Mack was as cute as can be on Christmas morning. He loved all the things that were just the right size to grab in his hands and stick in his mouth. Especially the chocolate.
One of Lily's favorite gifts was a little Webkinz chihuahua. That girl is still seriously obsessed with stuffed animals, even after all these years. She named her puppy Chloe, after the dog in Beverly Hills Chihuahua. (Yes, we've rented that twice from RedBox.)
My girls always love getting new toothbrushes, no matter what time of year, but the fact that Santa knew to get a pink princess one put a big smile on Amelia's face. (Thanks, Santa, you know who you are!)
After everyone opened their stockings and Santa gift, Dan went to feed the cows and horses. Mom got a kick out of that because it was a tradition from her youth that you could open your stocking, but you had to wait 'til Daddy got back from feeding the animals before you could open any presents. While Dan was gone we all lounged around and played with our new goodies. My Mom is a big fan of cowboy poetry, something her mother introduced her to. So I was quite delighted when I went into our little store here in town and found a CD of cowboy poetry by a local guy from the next town over. Mom loaded the disc in her laptop and sat on the couch giggling and sometimes cackling about the silly predicaments the cowboys always seem to get themselves into.
Lily got an Easy Bake Oven from Santa, but would you believe the dumb thing didn't even come with a light bulb to make the oven work? You have to use a plain 100 watt bulb, no soft light or high efficiency or anything like that, and we didn't have that kind. So the baking had to wait for another day.
Once Dan got back and we ate breakfast, we resumed the Christmas festivities and opened presents. It was really nice to kind of spread the morning out and not have it over in one 20 minute wrapping paper frenzy.
I made the mistake of letting the girls open their "big" present first. I don't know what I was thinking, I guess I just wanted to let them do what they asked. But it backfired because after Amelia tore into her doll set with a stroller, high chair and crib, she had just about zero interest in opening anything else. She just stood around asking, "Daddy, will you open my doll thing?"
Once Amelia's doll set got opened, Dan disappeared into our bedroom to assemble all the pieces. He kept grumbling and joked, "I'll never forgive you." I replied, "Hey, this is the price you have to pay. I did all the shopping so the least you can do is put the toys together. Plus, it's man's work."
Lily's big gift was a Best Friends Ink doll named Addison. After Thanksgiving the girls got ahold of all the toy catalogs that came in the newspaper and just like Becky and I did as kids, thumbed through the pages with sheer delight and longing as they considered all the possibilities. Surprisingly, Lily only cut out pictures of two toys for her Christmas list, one of them Addison. Lily has always been really good about enjoying and appreciating her presents, and I think every year she has exclaimed "This is the best Christmas ever!"
Mack spent much of the day sneaking into everyone's candy and drooling chocolate down his shirt.
Keith and Lynette returned to town in the early afternoon so we had Christmas dinner with them and Grandpa Perkins. Dan received a turkey from the mayor and town council as thanks for his work as a volunteer firefighter, so we had all the trimmings along with apple crisp that my Mom made with apples from her own tree.
Later in the evening Grammie helped Amelia with a new puzzle. Amelia is pretty amazing with puzzles. She can put a 24-piece one together all by herself, and a 50-piece with only a little help.
Lily was absolutely enamored with Addison and after changing her outfit and doing her hair several times, she settled down to write in the journal that came with Addison. And now, almost a month after Christmas, Lily still plays with her almost every day.
Lily was a real sweetheart for Christmas. She was sad and thought it wasn't fair that Daddy and I didn't buy each other any presents (we've done kids only for the last 3 Christmases while we work to get out of debt.) So as soon as Grammie got to our house, she hatched a scheme and had Grammie take her and Amelia to the store where she bought Dan and I a gift with her own money. She got me a little notebook, which I use for my to-do list, and a Baby Ruth candy bar for Dan. Amelia got me a set of markers and Dan a Mr. Goodbar. With the prizes from the girls and some goodies from our parents, we weren't empty handed.
We have really enjoyed our last few Christmases the best, where we've limited our budget and spent cash only. It has cut down on a lot of the stress of the season and the buyer's remorse after Christmas. It's a joy to focus on our children and see the magic of Christmas light up their eyes.