Merry Christmas!

We had a really great Christmas.  We had so much fun celebrating with our families.  We started opening gifts on December 23 when Kelly & Greg and Jason & I gave each other's kids their gifts. Among lots of gifts, Jack got an awesome set of Lincoln Logs that I know will get a ton of use in the years to come.

They all got nice hooded towels and we tried to take a group photo to display them - I couldn't resist including a play-by-play here.  Funny.

Then on Christmas Eve we exchanged gifts with Grandma and Grandpa Lang.  The highlight for Jack was a giant recycling trash truck, just like his friend Nathan has.  Charlie's big gift was an elephant rocking horse, which he is slowly getting braver and braver on.  He will be riding that thing in no time!  Parker got a new tricycle.

Then the kids had naps while we got ready for my mom's family to come over in the early evening.  It was fun to see everyone, as always.

 The kids thoroughly enjoyed their pudding dessert!

Then we had some friendly jammie-time wrestling.

Look closely at Charlie in this one..

Then Santa came that night and OVERFLOWED our house with presents.  Boy, was Santa good to us this year!!
 I made this cool Lego organization shelf that I saw on this blog.  Jack has been really into playing with Daddy's old Legos, so we've been having lots of fun with them (only when Charlie's asleep since there are lots of small parts).  We haven't put all the pieces into the new shelf yet but we will as soon as our toy room in the basement is finished!
 The other present from Mommy & Daddy was these "Anywhere Chairs" from Pottery Barn Kids.  I have always loved these chairs and they were so worth the money - the boys LOVE them!  That was the first thing Charlie did Christmas morning was climb up into his chair.  And then down, and then up....
 Santa's big gift was a trampoline!!  It too will find its permanent home in the toy room downstairs but since that's not ready yet, here it is in our upstairs toy room.  It will eventually have the cage around it to keep the kids contained safe, but that was too much work for Santa knowing that we'd have to disassemble it to move it downstairs.

 Jack got LOTS of Spiderman stuff, including a costume, the figurine he saw at Target (the one thing he asked Santa for), some underpants and jammies.

After we finished at our house, we went over to Cyndi & Todd's house to celebrate with Jason's family.  The kids got MORE gifts and played with their cousins and we had a nice (yummy!) breakfast.

Then we went to Grandma & Grandpa Clayton's house for - you guessed it - more present opening!!  They were very generous in their gifts to Mommy & Daddy this year, which was very nice.

After visiting for awhile, we headed home for naps and lunch (Charlie fell asleep in the three minute drive home, so he was clearly ready). then we went to my Aunt Patty & Uncle Joe's house for Christmas with my dad's side of the family.  Along with my sister, ALL of my other cousins were in town except Rob and his wife Alexa, who couldn't make it this year from Minnesota.  They are pretty spread out these days: Rochester, San Diego, Louisville, Atlanta, Kansas City, so it's rare that we get everyone together.  We also got to meet three new babies - Hannah, Emma and Brooklyn.

The highlight for Jack was that SANTA came to the party!!  What an exciting surprise!!  He had one more gift for each of the kids, and it was so fun!

A little nervous - not sure what to think!

Sam was first and she was so excited!

Then it was Maya's turn

Natalie was a little unsure, but got close enough for a hug

Jack needed me close and didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, but he did talk to him a little bit

And he got a remote control train!

Charlie was beside himself and not at all interested in playing nice, even when Santa presented him with a cool dump truck!

Parker was unsure too!

The babies all did great - this is Brooklyn



Maya, Natalie & Sam

Our attempt at a family picture

 Then, Aunt Patty had a craft table set up for the kids - so much fun!  She made Christmas trees out of paper bags and had all kinds of stickers and ribbon to decorate them with.

Then our night cap was back at Grandma and Grandpa Clayton's house.  We just got into our jammies, relaxed and watched a movie.  First we did a re-do of our failed attempt of a grandkid picture from Thanksgiving and it went much better this time after some Charlie coercing.

We truly had an amazing Christmas this year.  We enjoyed so much time with our families and loved every minute.  I am lucky to have the week between Christmas and New Year's off, so I have been off work since December 20.  I was growing rather accustomed to my lifestyle these last almost two weeks, but alas, it's back to the grind tomorrow.

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