I really loved having Ken off for the full 2 weeks this year, especially with Ariel home from school. The kids had a wonderful time with Daddy, and today Ariel said she didn't want to go back to school... aw. I know that means she has had a wonderful vacation, but I know once she is back with her friends again she will be a happy clam as well.
Christmas was different for us this year. Dad and Rita were with her side of the family this year, and so we did our family gathering on the 23rd for brunch. The kids were excited to see their cousin and then had the extra surprise of all 3 of Rita's grand daughters visiting so Ariel was in 'girl heaven'.
We had a yummy breakfast, I brought my favorite overnight cinnamon buns... there were no survivors, haha.
Following that we did our gifts, this year only buying for the kids. Ariel was so excited about her new doll bunk bed. Something I know will be passed down to her kids. I had gotten her to bring along her doll that morning, knowing she would want to try it out. She also got a leap pad, which was also the big hit of the morning. Most of the kids were taking turns on it, and I must say its worth the hype it was getting. Ariel was taking photos, video and such on it, as well as lots of fun learning games - big thumbs up!
Xander got some fun goodies too, including the roundhouse for his Thomas train set. He also got a really cool wooden puzzle set of Cars and a super cozy blanket that I must say I have somewhat stolen briefly, hehe.
Both kids got some money from Uncle, Auntie and cousin H, and Ariel used hers for apps for the leap pad and Xander got a Bertie Bus and Sir Top'm Hat car for his Thomas set. We also got some fun money from 2 wins on our scratch cards from Penny and Bill.
We stuck around most of the day at Dad and Rita's until the kids were ready to crash and we came home. The next day we had Christmas eve service at church, and Xander was NUTS! I don't know if it was the excitement or change in routine but at church he just wasn't happy. Ariel enjoyed the service, especially seeing her old preschool teacher dance. She however was starving since we do appetizers following the service and she refused to eat when we did earlier that afternoon, doh!
We came home and quickly got the food into the oven as Ken got them in their jammies and on the couch for our evening Christmas feature of 'Christmas Eve on Sesame Street'. I never get tired of it, hee. They loved it...
Then they got to open one small gift, which was a new book, The Berenstain Bears - The Joy of Giving. It was a new one and if you haven't seen the new line of books they are all faith based ones, so the bears are in the Church Christmas play, pretty cool actually.
Once the kids were in bed, Ken and I had to finish wrapping gifts and laying out the stockings. I love doing stockings, they were always my favorite thing when I was little and I try hard to live up to the wonderful ones my mom did for us. They were always bursting with goodies and I found some fun stuff for the kids.
Everything ready under the glow of the tree, yay!
It was midnight by the time we were in bed and morning came early with Xander getting up to snuggle with us at 6am. He was good and quiet but we finally asked him if he might like a present and he got all giddy. So we woke Ariel up and got the computer ready for a skype chat with Grammy and then poof, the power goes out. Uh.... crud. Thankfully it was brief, unlike our Thankgiving power outage, haha. We got back on schedule as the kids were eager to run downstairs.
We all did our stockings and then did our gifts from Grammy and the uncles. We got a family ipad! Very cool, and it even has our names on the back. Plus Grammy loaded it with lots of apps for us all, so the kids were every excited. We are now scheduled for wifi hook up next week. Haha.
The kids then did the gifts from us. Ariel got the much wanted friend for Julie. Her name is Kanani, she is from Hawaii and she is gorgeous! Ariel also got several of her accessories and was in American Girl heaven.
Xander opened his big gift, a drum set! Yes we are crazy, lol. He loves it and was eager to drum up a storm. The boy has music in him, so cute!
We finished our main gifts and headed to church for a short service. Ken had promised to help out since Pastor Dan and Amy had to catch a ferry and leave early. About 40 people showed up and it was a nice reflective morning. Afterwards we came home and Skyped this time with Ken's Dad and the kids did gifts with him. Lots of fun goodies of games and Thomas toys.
The kids then played the morning away with their new toys. Ariel's dolls got acquainted and went on an adventure.
Xander was in McQueen heaven...
The weird part of the day was we were alone the rest of the day. It was strange not to be heading anywhere to have dinner with family. Of course I cooked turkey and the fixings but it still was different. The day finally ended and we went to bed. It had been a wonderful Christmas. Xander was so much fun this year, opening and yelling out 'yahoo' when he would see his gift. Ariel was a real gem, really loving her treasures and playing with everything. One of her favorite gifts was a bath robe with cupcakes. Something she asked for a long time ago after seeing us use them. She is eager to use it after baths and in the morning, its very cute!
We are thankful this year for so much. Its hard to believe that 2011 is ending soon, but this will be one of those Christmas years I will remember for years to come. I love my family, my life and all the daily blessings.
Merry Christmas everyone, love from Ken, Jay, Ariel and Xander!