We stayed in Springdale for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning this year and then traveled to Little Rock on Christmas afternoon to be with my family. This was the first year that we have been at our home with our family of 4 on Christmas. I really enjoyed it. There were things that I missed as well, but it was really peaceful and laid back with just having the four of us together. It was made even more perfect when we woke to a blanket of snow. Ahh, a White Christmas!
I love Christmas Eve! I love the feeling of knowing that the next day is Christmas Day. Such fun anticipation! I woke up early on Christmas Eve to start cooking and preparing for all of John's family to come to our house for lunch and gifts. We were thrilled to be able to host everyone and I really did not have to do much because John's Mom and Sister made a lot too. The girls were busy that morning too making Wikki Stix candy canes for all of our guests. :)
John's parents got to our house early to drop some things off and give us an early Christmas present before everyone else got there. I was given a head of lettuce, John a picture of GO on a Monopoly board, B got a "2" candle, and Emma got a DVD about Disney World. It spelled out:
"Lettuce GO 2 Disney World!"
So fun! We actually knew that his parents would be taking us, but it was fun to actually unwrap the gift. They did the same thing for the Hannon's about 5 years ago and John's parents also used this to tell John and Amy they were going when they were little. Now it is our turn since our youngest (and last) will be 4. We are going sometime in September and CAN"T wait. :) We are so thankful to get to go. It is one of our favorite places to go in the world and can't wait to share it with the girls. Especially Brooklyn since it will be her first time. (yes, we are sitting backwards for the picture and I'm in my pj's. :))
I actually brought out the china for the occasion and we feasted on ham, cheese grits, sweet potato casserole, salad, bread, pie, and cookies. It was delicious! After lunch, we opened gifts and sat around and talked. John took some family photos and was able to get a great one of all of us thanks to the self timer and tripod!
Nelson/Hannon/Dill Family Picture
Grannie Dill and the Girls
Isaac (9), Grace (13), and Luke (11)
Everyone left to go rest for a bit before we all headed up to the church for the 4:30 Christmas Eve Service. It was our first time to go to this service on Christmas Eve and it was a lot of fun. The kids (and there were a ton of kids) were all given glow sticks instead of candles. We sang songs and went through each candle on the advent wreath and talked about its meaning. We loved the service and loved getting to share it with John's family.
The four of us headed home to our Papa Murphy's Pizza we had picked up earlier in the day. When we got home, we checked our mailbox and the girls had each received a letter from the North Pole. What?? To say that our girls were excited would be an understatement!
We ate pizza, cleaned up and got everything out to decorate our cookies for Santa. The girls and I had made the cookies the day before, but we iced and sprinkled our hearts content. :)
The girls had made "Reindeer Food" at Emma's class party, so we threw some of that onto our patio (which was soon covered with snow!) and then fixed Santa's plate.
We all piled onto the couch together and John read "The Night Before Christmas" and then we sent them to Brooklyn's room to sleep for the night. One of my fondest memories growing up was sleeping in my sister's room on Christmas Eve. It did my heart good to hear them talking and giggling in there together. (Until I had to go in an hour later and start threatening presents under the tree if Brooklyn didn't go to sleep! :) Ah, the excitement of a child!)
Once it was quiet and the monkey bread was prepared and in the fridge for the morning, the elves got to work. And the snow began to fall!!!