Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Way Back Whensday #10

Abigail Grace - 20 months old

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Day

After lunch on Christmas day, we drove to Tampa to visit with Matt's side of the family. The kids love going to Aunt Denise and Uncle Matt's house because they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their cousins! They were also going to get to see Uncle Joe, Grandma, and Grandpa so they knew it was going to be a fun day. Plus, there was going to be a sleepover and that is so much fun for them that they could hardly stand all the anticipation!

As soon as we got there they got down to business - opening presents! They opened the gifts from Uncle Joe first. He is so great at picking out things the kids like and he hit another home run. Drew got a pirate treasure chest and Abby got a ballerina June from Little Einsteins - they loved them!

Next, Drew wanted to give his present to Ryan. Ryan got a train table for his birthday so Drew gave him Sir Topham Hat and Porter to go with all of his Thomas the Train stuff. This was Drew's favorite Christmas gift a few years ago and Ryan seemed to love it too!

I loved watching Drew this year as he discovered the joy in giving. He couldn't wait for everyone to open the presents he had picked out and wrapped for them.

And, even though she is only three, Abby certainly enjoyed giving to others as well. She came out of Sunday School one morning telling me the most important thing she learned that day was "Christmas is all about giving. And Jesus."

She earned a big hug from Ryan who loved the Thomas the Train bath set she gave him!

Grandma and Grandpa love having all of their children and grandchildren together. It makes for fun photo opportunities like this -

Every year, Matt's parents just ask for gift cards to restaurants. They (especially his dad) love to go out to eat so it's the perfect gift for them. This year I wanted to have a little fun with them as they opened their gift. Look at his dad's face - he's so confused. I know he's thinking, "What the heck is in this big box? I don't want this! Where is my Outback gift card?!"

Once they dug underneath all the tissue paper they found their gift cards all wrapped up for them. They thought it was funny and I definitely pulled one over on them!

Grandma and Grandpa got Drew and Abby a keyboard for Christmas. It is really nice and I think they are going to love learning how to play it!

Oh, how they love their new baby cousin. These kids just love babies - especially Abby. She is so maternal - wanting to feed him, help change his diaper, kiss his cheeks, and play with him. It's so fun to watch them with baby Tyler.

Matt and I in front of Denise and Matt's beautiful Christmas tree!

Matt and his family -

And, our little family on Christmas Day.

We had a great dinner (thanks to Matt's mom) and let the kids play with their toys for awhile before bed. Matt's mom gave the kids Santa hats and they put on a show for all the grown ups. They played musical instruments and danced to Christmas music - it was adorable!

Finally, it was time to sleep.

They had plenty of wonderful Christmas memories to dream about.

At least that's what I thought.

Until two days later when Abby asked me, "Mom, is it almost Christmas again?"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Morning

The kids woke up around 6:30. They were thrilled to see that Santa had visited our home, left lots of presents, and had eaten his milk and cookies.

It was just the four of us that morning so we started opening gifts right away. This was the first year that our little family was alone on Christmas morning, and though I love to have all of our extended family with us, it was really special just to share it with the kids and have them all to ourselves.

They wanted me to open the presents from them first. They were so proud to have wrapped them with Daddy's help. Drew got me a Disney scrapbook album.

And Abby got me lots of Disney paper and stickers to use in the album!

Next, they wanted to open the presents from Mommy and Daddy. Here, Abby is opening a princess frame I got for her special picture with 3 of the Disney princesses - she loved it!

And, Drew opened a baseball frame with a picture of him holding his game ball standing next to his favorite coach!

Then, it was Daddy's turn to open his present from the kids. He got an Urban Meyer book.

He was happy.

Then I told him to open the cover.

And he pulled out a ticket to the National Championship Game!!!

He was VERY happy.

I got to open a present that Abby made for us at preschool. It was an angel she made using her handprints. I loved it!

Abby was quite adamant about the two things she REALLY wanted for Christmas. Buster the dog (from Tigger and Pooh) and a princess watch. She got both and she was quite pleased.

Drew loves anything Star Wars/Clone Wars and he really loved his new Leapster 2!

Of course, Abby had to have a princess one as well!

The presents under the tree had all been unwrapped, but they were excited when we reminded them they still had full Christmas stockings to open!

Then, the sweetest thing happened. Drew had opened two of his stocking stuffers when all of a sudden he stood up and started walking away from the rest of his gifts. I asked him where he was going and he didn't answer. He got his Daddy's stocking and took it over to where Matt was sitting. He handed the stocking over with a big smile on his face.

He never said a word.

But, I guess what they say is true - actions speak louder than words.

His thoughtfulness made our hearts so very happy.

After every present had been unwrapped, the first thing they wanted to do was play the Wii!

Daddy and Drew love playing tennis. Drew is actually quite good. He has some trick (that none of us can figure out) and he serves the ball so fast that it is always an ace. We call it his "super serve."

I've tried my best (at least half a dozen times) and I still haven't won a game of tennis with him.

Yeah, it's pretty embarrassing.

Abby also wanted to play her new princess game. Three days after Christmas they had already won the entire game!

Drew really wanted a toy robot from Santa and since he was such a good boy this year he got just what he wanted!

Santa also brought lots of new games. We opened Hungry Hungry Hippos first! It was a big hit!

Merry Christmas, sweet family.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve

Well, things are finally starting to get back to normal around here. The decorations are all put away. The playroom is re-organized with all of the new toys. The house is clean and Matt goes back to work tomorrow after a week off.

It was a fantastic week filled with many Christmas activities. I took over 350 pictures, so it's taken me a few days to get them all edited and ready to share. Here are some of my favorites from Christmas Eve when we celebrated with my side of the family.

The kids were all dressed up and ready to go to the Christmas Eve service at church. They were very excited because they were going to be able to come to "grown up" church since there was no child care for the Christmas Eve services. However, their excitement quickly turned to squirminess as they realized that "grown up church" is long and filled with lots of talking. There was lots of music though and the kids enjoyed singing along to the songs that they knew. By the time they got to Silent Night, Abby had fallen asleep in her chair with Aunt Anna's arm around her. I took an adorable picture of it with my mom's camera, but I forgot to load it onto my computer. You'll just have to trust me - it was ever so sweet.

Anyway, here we are all dressed up!

Back at the house, we began opening presents right away! I love Abby's reaction to Drew's Gator uniform from Aunt Anna and Uncle Adam. Her enthusiasm never waned.

Drew and Abby made sure everyone had help opening their gifts. Translation: If you were over the age of 5 then you did not get to unwrap anything!

Here, everyone has a big reaction to Anna's new pair of jeans. Exciting stuff!

But, not nearly as exciting as the new Fancy Nancy book Abby got from Uncle Adam. She was ecstatic! (That's a fancy word for excited.)

Grams, not to be outdone by any of this nonsense, gave Drew and Abby their gift next. They were shocked that they got a Wii. In fact, I don't think they quite "got" it at first. It was a box and we told them it was the Wii, but it seemed like they didn't believe us because they just kind of stared at it for a long time.

Then, Abby opened her princess game and she began to realize that this Wii was for real.

And, Drew opened his Lego Star Wars game and FLIPPED OUT! It was the best reaction of our entire Christmas. He was BEYOND thrilled and he wanted to stop opening gifts right then and there and go play his game.


Big hugs were given to the bestower of the Wii.

Uncle Adam is on a snowboarding trip so he needed lots of cold weather supplies.

Abby was kind enough to model the hat she gave him for his trip.

Kyle gave Aunt Anna a ski trip! They will go in February. She was totally surprised and it was so much fun because I knew about it all along!

Uncle Austin did a great job handing out the gifts from under the tree. I think his favorite gift was his fancy sunglasses!

We took a break from opening presents to go wave to Santa as he rode on a fire truck around the neighborhood.

Abby collected as much candy as she could from Santa.

Bye, Santa! Good luck delivering all those gifts!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Way Back Whensday #9

Christmas 2003.

This was the picture we used for our Christmas card.

Andrew Joseph - 5 months old!