The last week of December was a whirl. For playgroup we did a cookie exchange. I have to say that was one of my favorite playgroups ever... and the yummiest. I will admit, my kids had about one cookie out of the bunch I got, but I needed those cookies to help me make it through the last couple of days before Christmas. The kids, as always, had a ton of fun playing together, and I caught a cute photo while the kids all sat down on the ground around Austin to "check him out". Ty was very proud to show his little brother to all of his friends. It was like show and tell time, but Austin just smiled away as the kids played with him.
That following Monday my Grandma and Sister drove up from LA. The boys were so excited to see Dee and GG. As soon as I would walk in the door the boys would run to find Dee and my Grandma would sit down and insist on holding Austin. This was the daily routine when we came over to my parent's house. I don't think there was more than a 30 minute period when my Grandma didn't have Austin in her arms, and that was normally because I was changing him or feeding him. My dad has a locomotive train that he sets up every year under the tree which both boys loved to play with. Tyler was a great conductor and Tanner like to put the cows in and on the different cars.
Christmas eve we all got together to do our yearly tradition of opening one gift before Christmas. It's always a Christmas pair of pj's. Then after we had open the gifts we piled into our cars to look at lights. Normally we start the night by going to a near by neighborhood in Granite Bay which does a beautiful display of luminaries. Unfortunately this year, we think due to the rain that day, the neighborhood didn't do it. But we continued the festive evening by driving around looking at lights. When we got home we made our cookies and wrote our letter to Santa and the boys hit the sack.
Early Christmas morning we climbed back into the car and headed back over to my parents to open gifts and have our super yummy Christmas breakfast. My mom makes these unbelievably good cranberry muffins with the most fattening-but so worth it- sauce. We opened gifts throughout the day and by the afternoon Eric and I were so ready for naps. After naps my Uncle, Aunt and cousin had arrived from KS. Christmas Day is my Aunt's b.day so we had another small present opening moment where my dad gave his little sister some fun prank gifts. and we had cake. This of course was after the fabulous crab and steak dinner that is quickly becoming a favorite new tradition of ours. Previously we never knew exactly what to make for dinner since we just had the turkey for Thanksgiving, and we actually do ham too for a little variety and we didn't want to repeat that. So a few years ago we started the crab and steak thing, and it has totally stuck. It's really good. After all that we pulled out one last gift for the kids which was a pair of big old truck that a secret Santa had left for the boys. It was easily one of their favorite gifts of the night. It kills me how we try so hard to get them a nice variety of things they want, and no matter what we get there is always one thing that is all they want to play with all night. Gratefully we had two of the exact same gift this time that they both wanted. It worked out well. Thank you secret Santa :)
Then to wrap of the family time, we went to an alumni basketball game that my sister was playing in at her old high school. My little ones haven't see her play in a long time and they really had a good time. Their favorite part was when she took them onto the court and let them shoot around. After the game I dropped the two older boys off at home and we had a girls night out at Macaroni Grill with my Grandma, Aunt, Mom and Sister. Oh, and Austin came to and of course spent the night in my Grandma's arms. It was nice to have some girl time together too.
While the season was crazy and went by all too fast, it was really pleasant. I love spending time with family and creating a bundle of wonderful family memories. And it's always nice to have a little extra reminder in our day to day life of the Savior and his love for us. This year I truly felt the true meaning of Christmas and I hope to carry that feeling in my heart for months to come.