We were in full holiday mode, with tons of things to do and check off our list before Christmas Day! One of our more recent traditions include an annual sleepover at Uncle VJ and Aunt Chris's. This came about a few years ago when they decided that instead of trying to find gifts for the girls for Christmas they would have them over for a night of full holiday fun! So along with some cousins, second cousins and friends they prepared for a crazy night!
This year VJ and Chris got the girls their own Christmas jammies! Once everyone was all cozy things kicked off with cookie decorating, followed by necklace making. But there was plenty of laughs and silliness taking place as well. I can only imagine the noise level that was reached with a house full of little girls. The girls receive more than enough presents over the holidays, so having this special night at their Aunt and Uncle's house is not only special, but something they always remember.
Making sure we make our official Santa visit is something we always make a priority. This year was a bit challenging but we made it. The first time our plans were thwarted by bad weather. After getting the girls all dressed up in their fancy Christmas dresses, we decided against trying to drive across town on the icy roads. The second time around was much easier, and we succeeded in getting our annual Santa photo...and passing along their Christmas wishes to the big guy!
Last year we did something new with the girls, taking them on the Santa Train. It's a quick ride on a real locomotive while having a visit with Santa. It was something different and the girls enjoyed it. You have to get your tickets early because it sells out for the holiday season very quick. This year Olivia was busy during the only time we could get tickets, so just Cecilia and I went. It's a fun experience and cool to ride on a real train!
In between all of our fun holiday activities Cecilia celebrated her best friend, Avery's birthday! Avery's sister, Audrey dances with Olivia and they are good friends as well. There is a little bit of a an age difference between Cece and Avery but they still get on very well and have lots of fun together when they hang out. Avery had a small birthday celebration at home with Cece and another close friend. Anytime these girls get together they always have a great time!
After weeks of anticipation the time was finally here! It was Christmas Eve and the girls were bursting with excitement. We kicked things off with the annual children's service at our church. Olivia was asked to read once again this year and she did a wonderful job. The girls really enjoy this service because they get to participate and they are familiar with the songs we sing.
Our after-church tradition is to head over to Nana's so the girls can open their stockings and we can enjoy some appetizers and wine! Cece barely walked in the door before she was begging to get into her stocking. In addition to tearing through all of her goodies she also wanted to open all of ours as well, except for Olivia's, of course. After the stockings they were each able to open one special present before heading home to get ready for Santa! This is one night I do not have to beg them to leave Nana's house.
The next morning they couldn't get downstairs fast enough to kick off their favorite day of the entire year! Santa must have been listening because he granted their simple Christmas wishes. Olivia asked for a Panda iPad case and Cecilia wanted two Disney princess dolls to add to her collection. I had a feeling Santa would come through as those were pretty reasonable requests.
Next we gathered around our tree to open our family gifts. For me, there is nothing I really need for Christmas except to watch the joy and excitement in my girls eyes as they enjoy this special day. Many wishes were granted and more Christmas memories created! It was only 9am and our day was just getting started!
It was back to Nana's mid morning for round two of Christmas. After a late breakfast the girls dove into a pile of presents sky high. Each and every present brought them so much joy and we made a point to remind them of just how blessed they are. Once all of the presents were opened the playing began, which is the best part of it all!
Later that day Beasley joined us at Nana's. All of the present opening is a bit too hectic for our pup, so we waited until it was over before celebrating Christmas with the Beaz. The rest of our afternoon was spent relaxing and just spending time together. That is better than all of the presents in the world!
Our Christmas Day wasn't over quite yet. That evening we headed over to Todd's Mom's and the present opening continued. This celebration is a little different as Todd's family is much bigger than mine. The girls always look forward to this though because they get to hang out with their cousins and extended family. It's pure chaos, but fun chaos!
That night when we returned home we were beat! Christmas Day always proves to be exhausting, but full of so many great moments. After spending the entire day with family we wrap up the day with just the four of us opening our family stockings on the family room floor. Afterwards we tuck the girls into bed and count our blessings for being able to share another wonderful Christmas together.
After all of the preparation and anticipation it's over just like that. But that's ok, because a new year is just around the corner, which means another wonderful year watching Olivia and Cecilia grow!