It is with great sadness that I have only one picture of our Christmas Tour - Part III to share with you. When Ryan and I packed up the Jeep, I grabbed my camera but accidentally left my memory card at home. I'm going to post some two old favorites of Kelli's kids when they came to stay the night with us in August 2007, as well as an actual picture from Christmas with Ryan's family that his dad sent me.
Back to the beginning of my story...
On Christmas Eve Eve, Ryan and I packed up the Jeep (including Noah and Kya), and drove away for our Christmas Tour - Part III. We love being able to take Kya with us. We just can't bear to leave her locked up with a boarder. However, hates to be alone in the basement while we eat our Christmas Eve Eve meal, so we dropped her off at Kelli's before going to Ryan's parents' house. After unloading the car at John and Gloria's, the real fun began! Kelli's family arrived soon after we did, and Noah was especially excited to see his cousin Mady (below in pink). Gloria finished putting together our dinner - ham, cheesy potato casserole, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, and cranberry salad. YUM!!! Did I mention that I love holiday food??? As per usual, when Ryan went to get the deviled eggs out of the refrigerator in the garage, he ate one as quickly as possible before Kelli could have the first egg. John said the prayer, and silence took over the kitchen. That is when you know the food is good! After cleaning up the kitchen, we all went downstairs in the basement to hang out. The kids played for awhile, and before we knew it, it was time for the kids to go to bed. Noah fell asleep in his Mama and Papa's room. Mady, Mikayla (below in blue), and Micah (back in 2007 with his adorable curls!) went to bed without hesitation, knowing that the morning would bring them gifts galore!
Gloria began preparing her famous breakfast casserole for the next morning, while the rest of us watched The Nativity Story. I remember watching that movie for the first time when I was pregnant with Noah. Even though I had heard that story a dozen times, it didn't really resonate with me what Mary was experiencing until that Christmas when Noah was just beginning to move inside of me. Ryan went back to Kelli's to pick up Kya, and after the movie was over, we all crashed until morning!
We woke up on Christmas Eve to excited voices upstairs, getting ready for breakfast. I decided to make some Monkey Bread - you know, that ooey gooey delicious goodness that we all made in "home ec" back in the day? I hadn't made it in years, but everyone loves cinnamon sugar anything, right? I don't have the exact recipe with me right here, but I just googled it, and low and behold, Pioneer Woman (who I talked about in a previous blog) and I make the same recipe for Monkey Bread! HERE is the link to her recipe, including pictures of the step-by-step directions. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did! I'm pretty sure every single adult went back for seconds and maybe even thirds.
The kids were so excited to open presents that they barely ate any breakfast! Do you remember being that excited? Oh to be a kid again! I remember having to wait on the adults to finish eating, then clean, then grab one more cup of coffee, and then use the restroom. Oh it was horrible!! Being patient on Christmas is no easy task when you're under 13 years old. I thought of those memories and smiled while all of us "adults" were taking our sweet time finishing up our meal and doing this and that before heading downstairs to the basement with the kids. Funny how history repeats itself.
The opening of gifts began with the youngest (Noah) going first. He got a wonderful array of gifts again this year. Kelli's family spoiled him with a DJ Station that even has a microphone and an "iPod" for him to record his noise music. Below is a great picture John snapped of Noah listening to his creation through some headphones.
Gloria and John got him some really cute PJs, a Nike outfit, a Melissa and Doug Hammer and Nails set, Crayola Crayons and Paper that is just for toddlers, and a toy for the bathtub. He played with his toys all morning while the rest of us opened gifts. We got Mady, Micah, and Mikayla each a new Wii video game, as well as a Nintendo DS or Leapster game. Six new video games from your aunt and uncle - not too shabby! :) We got Gloria some new trendy clothes, and we bought John a Timex Sports Watch and a Butler license plate. While I liked all of the gifts we bought Ryan's family, Kelli and Joel's was my absolute favorite! HERE is the website where we purchased their gift. This website does letter photography, so you can create any word under 10 letters with the pictures they have taken of "letters" created by natural objects in the environment. For example, the letter "S" may actually be a picture of a windy road. They mat and frame the pictures, too, and ship it to you very quickly! I highly recommend this company! Anyway, we ordered Kelli and Joel's last name, and I love the way it turned out! when Kelli and Joel opened it, I think they were just as excited as I was about it! It really compliments their style of decorating, so hopefully it will look great in their house.
Again, I want to hold off on the gifts I received for a future post, so stay tuned! I will say this - Ryan's parents gave us a HUGE surprise. After everyone had opened their gifts, they asked Kelli, Joel, Ryan, and me to come upstairs. They led us to the garage, and when they opened the door, I couldn't believe my eyes - NEW SNOWBLOWERS!! I was so excited - not that I have to shovel snow very often - but to think that it would take so much less time and effort, I was pumped! It was a great way to end our Christmas celebration.
Soon after we were done opening gifts, Kelli, Joel, and the kids had to leave to get ready for the Christmas Eve service at their church. We put Noah down for a nap, and then had lunch with Ryan's parents. It was the perfect way to end a really nice Christmas with his family. When Noah woke up, we drove back home to prepare for Christmas Day!