I have to say, The elf breaking his leg, was quite possibly a turning point just before all the magic of Christmas. The boy's wonder and awe was in full force and they absorbed every smell, every sound, every sight and everything that they could possibly feel within their grasps. It was all so magical through their eyes, and I think this was one of my most favorite years with them so far.
(In classic "mom" fashion, my camera battery died christmas morning, so you will see all sorts of random cell phone photos below along with some other random photos from recently.)
Every major holiday, we set up the tripod and try (oh,we try SO hard) to get a family shot of us in our Sunday best (before church) This particular morning still has me laughing. I had the boys clothes ready, they were bathed, fed, bags were packed, I was ready, Marshall was ready. We had the camera set and ready to go. We were in our spots, and every.single.shot that we took, there was someone either not looking, not smiling, not in their spot, talking... you name it. I literally had a moment, where I suddenly got wild eyes and instantly sweaty, and freaked out saying, " We can do this!! We have done this before!" as my cute, frustrated family looked at me, like, "Seriously, mom?!" and in that moment I had an outer body experience, and locked eyes with Marshall and realized, I am a real life mad woman. I let it go, and knew we would have something to work with.. and lo and behold.. Ezra stole the shot and it was perfect. (And as we piled our of the house to get into the van, it wouldn't start (we are having issues with the van lately, and can't quite figure out the problem), so we piled into Marshall's car after cramming all three of the boys seats in the back. We were late to church.
This was Oliver's first Christmas, and we all forgot about it. Poor guy didn't even get a "baby's first Christmas" ornament. I even went out afterward, and didn't have any luck finding one. Sorry, Oliver.
This year, we celebrated Christmas eve/brunch at my parents house and in the evening, Marshall's brother, Mike came over and my little sister, Kelly, came over. We ordered chinese food, and watched the Elf. They also helped us put gifts under the tree. Christmas day, we had the missionaries over for dinner, along with Mike and a friend and also another little family from church who don't have family around. It was so good to mix it up this year.
This was the first year that we actually set out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer. Ezra was pretty excited to see that their were little bites taken from each little cookie on the plate and carrots were chewed on.
The boys were so excited about all their gifts. I got a little carried away in the giving this year, I can't help myself. But, the joy in their faces is worth it. Besides, they have been very busy with their new toys.
Marshall took some time off of work for the holidays and we have used this as an opportunity to help potty train Eli. It has been great! He took to it much better and faster this time around. He had only a few accidents the first day, once the second day and none the third! (Besides a #2- but that's expected.) We are so proud of him!
The hard thing about potty training, is not being able to leave the house. I am glad that Marshall has been home, because it has allowed me to get out to the gym and run a few errands alone. Otherwise, I think I would lose my mind! We've been cooped up inside and confined to the upstairs only and I begin to feel a little claustrophobic. Which meant our Christmas decorations were taken down much earlier this year. The boys were pretty sad to see it all go, but I couldn't see past the clutter and I was starting to go crazy!
We are looking forward to spending New Years with our dear friends, Graham, Sarah and their little guy, Noah. We have spent the last couple New Years with them and it has since become tradition. It is awesome to be able to watch the boys play and grow together year after year.
I really tried to enjoy my moments with my family more this Christmas season instead of documenting every little thing that happened. I am grateful that I took the time and effort to soak in the present moments without my big camera in every ones faces the whole time
(besides, our annual holiday photo! ha!). The camera battery dying Christmas morning, was totally needed.
Enjoy some photos (not in any real specific order- sorry)
Have a great and safe New Years.