Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Hey look at me! It's like some alien has taken over my body because I am not only blogging, but I am blogging about something that JUST happened.  Technically it's about what happened yesterday, but since I haven't gone to sleep yet I feel like I'm blogging about something that happened today.  I haven't blogged about going to the pumpkin patch in October... or Halloween... surely haven't blogged about Thanksgiving... or my in-laws week long visit in November.  I haven't blogged about how Dathan fell at work and fractured his heel and was off work for 6 weeks or how our car has broken down and we haven't been able to drive it for over a month.  Nope, the last 2.5 months of my life haven't been blogged yet, but here I am blogging about Christmas.  Maybe this is a sign of good things to come??

Every Christmas eve (that we have spent with my parents) we have carried on a tradition that my parents started when I was just a little girl.  My mom makes a big dinner, and the dishes of the dinner have never changed- manicotti, bread, salad, and sparkling apple cider.  In fact, the only part of the meal that's changed is that my mom makes one pan of manicotti with red sauce, and another with alfredo (because she loves me & knows I don't like tomatoes).  I love that the tradition hasn't changed.  This year our Christmas Eve dinner was the 5 Stephens, my parents, my younger brother Timmy, and one of Dathan's best friends who is like family, Ryan (but we call him Swanny).  My mom decorates her dining room table with her Christmas dishes.  It's so pretty!

The past few years we have gone to look at Christmas lights after dinner.  There is a street here (I'm sure every town has one) that every house on the street decorates with BEAUTIFUL lights.  On Christmas Eve they line the street with luminaries and it is just gorgeous.  We have always walked through to look at the lights (because people will sit in their cars and wait in line for over an hour to see them!).  Well, we have 3 out of 3 kids sick with "the crud" as we call it (sniffles, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, etc) so we decided to opt out of walking in the cold.

Instead, we made a gingerbread train.  It's a good thing we don't ever eat the gingerbread train because surely the thing is covered in germs, but we had a lot of fun.  Nolan didn't want his picture taken so I only have one of Sean.  I decorated the engine.  For those wondering (because even my dad did), the SNP on it stands for Sean, Nolan, Paxton.  Yep, we are so awesome that we accidentally named our kids with letters that spell out "Snap" (Sean Nolan And Paxton). haha  Nolan decorated the middle car & Sean decorated the end one.  We had fun!

I try to make a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake or cupcakes every year.  This year I made an ice cream cake.  Nothing fancy, and I have no beautiful photos of a step-by-step process of making it to share with you.  But I can tell you how I made it: 1 Oreo cookie pie crust.  1 carton cookies & cream ice cream (thawed to almost melted. I actually only used about 1/2 of the carton). 1 small container Cool Whip (I only used about half of that too).  Sprinkles are optional.  All you do is spread the thawed ice cream into the crust, leveled on top.  Then cover with Cook Whip.  Then sprinkles.  Place back in freezer until hard, cut & serve.
So simple.
And so versatile (you can try graham cracker crust with strawberry ice cream.  Or Nilla Wafer crust with moose tracks ice cream.  The possibilities are endless really!)

The boys with their traditional one gift from my parents that they get to open on Christmas Eve.  Hmmm.... I wonder what that could be? ;)

What? Matching Christmas jammies? I'm so surpried! haha Just kidding, they get Christmas jammies every year and my mom loves picking out matching ones.  This year was more difficult because Pax is in 0-3 month, Nolan is in a 3t, and Sean is in a 5. So they are in 3 different sections of the store (infant, toddler, and young boys).  But, my mom did it & found them matching ones! 

This picture cracks me up.  They were SO over it.  Sean is such a good sport, Nolan is a typical almost-3-year-old, and Pax was probably hungry ;)

We came home and put the boys to bed, then Dathan & I were busy bees finishing up last minute wrapping until 2:30 am.  Boy do Christmas trees look beautiful at night with the lights on & presents underneath!
God has blessed us so much this year.  We were going to have a very small Christmas since Dathan was off work for so long, which is totally fine & I feel a great lesson for the kids.  But God & several people love us & our tree was filled to overflowing with gifts. :)  It's by far not what Christmas is about but so much fun to see the kids faces light up when they see them!

Speaking of kids faces lighting up when they see the gifts, I armed myself with my camera at the bottom of the stairs so that I could capture the boys expressions when they came down in the morning.  I had visions of these candid shots of excited faces.  Instead I got these two: Sean posing for me (I've trained him well!) and Nolan being super grumpy.  We had actually woke Nolan up, which is usually unheard of for parents to have to do with their kids on Christmas morning.  What's even more unheard of is that this was about 10:15am and we had all just woken up except for Nolan.  Merry Christmas to me! :)

I took one picture of each boy and then put my camera away.  I wanted to be present & in the moment while we were opening gifts, and not worrying about snapping pictures, changing settings on my camera, & fighting with the boys about when to look (or not to look).


Pax's gifts are still under the tree.  He wouldn't ever even know if we didn't give him a single one, but I still wanted him to have something.  Pax did a lot of Bumbo sitting, then crying, then eating, then sleeping while we opened our gifts. Typical 3 month old :)

I had to take a picture of this gift because Dathan did such a great job wrapping it, I didn't want to open it!  It's so pretty & fun :)  What was inside was even better.  I forgot to take a picture (I could later) but he painted a frame with all my favorite colors (turquoise & purple) and inside it put a poem he had written for me.  He wrote the poem on beautiful paper with a calligraphy pen & everything.  Yep girls, he's a keeper!

When we were done at our house we headed to my parents to open more gifts there (which I didn't take a single picture of).

Then we all (including Courtney, my brother Tim's girlfriend) headed to my grandma & grandpa's house to hang out with family and have Christmas dinner.  We had a great time.  There was a lot of little baby loving being done.  I only got a picture of my mom (Memaw) with Pax, and me (surprise surprise!)

He is my little love!

We take a family picture every year on Christmas day.  I need to find the other ones to compare.  But these are SO funny.  I was so busy being "in the moment" that it was like 8:00pm and we were about to leave my grandparent's and I realized we hadn't taken a family picture yet.  The boys (all 3!) weren't having it at all.  I am literally holding Nolan's head next to mine with my hand because he wouldn't look at the camera at all.  And he never got out of his jammies today because he didn't want to.  Well, because we pick & choose our battles with our kids and that was one Dathan & I didn't think was necessary to fight.  Shoot... I would have stayed in my Christmas pj's all day if it would be considered socially acceptable! Ha!

So Merry (late) Christmas everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful day!


Beki - TheRustedChain said...

Merry late Christmas to you! :)

Nancy said...

So glad you guys had a wonderful Christmas, Erica!!