So much for our attempt at sleeping in for a few more minutes.
This year we started a new tradition of only allowing the kids to ask Santa for one present each.
We also had lots and lots of discussions in advance about the appropriate response to the gifts they open.
Two years ago, Nicholas turned into a Christmas monster--opening his presents and then immediately demanding, "But where's my guitar?? Where's my such-and such??"
This year went much better. He was perfect. Joyful, grateful, and happy about each and every thing.
The one thing he did ask Santa for was toy dinosaurs.
And even with all the other stuff set up for him to see, he went straight to the dinosaurs and was just SO happy that Santa brought him dinosaurs!
Ellie asked Santa for pink candy. And a pink dinosaur toy. I guess we fudged a little and let her ask for two things.
Santa had a very very hard time finding a pink dinosaur. Santa may have had to use some spray paint...
Just because they only got to ask for one thing, doesn't mean they only received one thing.
This year, Santa brought them a castle.
It's pretty incredible.
With the castle, they got a treasure chest,
and their Grammer sent them the most fantastic dragon.
At this point, I got to open my first gift.
A new camera lens, my first new camera lens since we got the Nikon five years ago. I got this one.
The kit lens was serving me well, but the past six months I've finally been shooting in full manual (yes, four years later...), and I was ready to graduate to something a little more.
I put it on right then and there.
I am absolutely loving it. The colors are so soft and creamy, the lines are crisp, and the ability to use a larger aperture is fantastic.
And look! For the first time ever, my walls are photographing as their actual true-to-life color! They're way less beige than my old lens portrayed them.
I'm kind of a geek about this....
Seriously, either our talks about being grateful worked, or it's just because he's older, but either way, this kid had the best reactions to all his gifts. So much fun!
In the weeks before Christmas, Nicholas was on a gift-giving frenzy. Many of our presents that morning were things that he'd found throughout the house and wrapped up for us.
Here he's giving Kent the remote control truck that we gave Nicholas for his birthday:
And he's pretty happy about "giving" it.
My grandparents sent this Polar Express book--at preschool last week Nicholas had a Polar Express party, and we didn't have the book yet, so it was a perfect gift for the kids.
My mom made the kids an "Art Treasure Box" with all sorts of awesome odds and ends for making and creating. It was a huge hit,
and right away they pulled out the glitter glue and started being creative.
And seriously, I'm drooling over my new lens.
The rest of the day was spent playing in the castle, lounging in our pajamas until 3 pm, eating loads of sugar, and just being together, just us.
It was perfect, really just perfect.
And that 100% chance of snow? They were right. We had the most beautiful white Christmas.
The kids "helped" Kent shovel the driveway.
Kent is a very patient man.
And I sat on the couch, watching the snow, listening to the kids playing in their castle, eating kit kats from our stockings, and looking at all the stuff I wished I could be cleaning up, then finally deciding to be okay with my laziness.
I've been fairly uncomfortable (aka it feels like my leg is being torn off at the socket...) this past week, but there was something incredibly special about being this way on Christmas.
I feel a new appreciation for Mary--her sacrifice, her faith, and her example. And I thought about how things might have happened, giving birth in a stable to the Savior of the World.
So as I hobble around for the next ten weeks or so,
hopefully I can keep her in my mind, be reminded about how wonderful and beautiful this motherhood thing is,
and be glad I'm not riding a donkey across rocky hillsides.
Because that would be much much harder.
I hope you all had the merriest of Christmases!