We had some behavior issues the latter part of November and I was left with no choice but to call the North Pole and ask Santa to put the kids on the naughty list. The kids were extremely upset, but it was a good thing because I have never seen them try so very hard at being good. By mid December they were back on track. So we told Santa that he could come if he felt the kids deserved it. I guess they were good enough because he made an appearance at our house, and he ate all the yummy treats we left out for him! The kids were tickled pink. The best thing is that even with Christmas being over, the kids' attitudes are still pretty good and they have been so helpful around the house.
As for family gifts, Germany was kinda the best gift we could have asked for, so Ry and I decided that we wouldn't exchange gifts with each other. Instead, we just gave one shared gift to the kids. Santa did the rest.
Christmas Eve was the start of the festivities. We headed down to Ryan's sisters house in Orem for our annual German dinner of brawts, sauerkraut, red cabbage, potatoes, and more . The cousins all performed something (Berlin sang "Favorite Things" from Sound of Music, Finley chose to not participate at all). Then we exchanged cousin gifts, played & visited for a while, then headed home. We would have stayed longer, but unfortunately I came down with the stomach bug and we had to leave at 10pm. I made it the whole 45 minute drive home, but the second we pulled into the driveway I couldn't contain it and ended up emptying the contents of my stomach all along the driveway. Nice. So we quickly put the kids to bed, set-up presents and stockings, then went to bed.
Finley was up at 8am while Berlin slept on. Thus, we told him he could look thru his stocking but he was not to open anything under the tree until Berlin woke up.
The tree on Christmas morning ... with all 12 presents wrapped and ready for the pending chaos. Eventually 9:15am rolled around and we told a very patient Finn to go wake up Berlin.
Stockings first ...
Finley LOVES his new blanket from Grandma Lynne. Both kids got one the night before and love how soft & snuggly it is. They sleep with it every night!
Berlin really wanted Santa to bring her a Mulan doll. I was very surprised because I had never seen one before. Leave it to Santa to deliver! Great stocking stuffer.
The adult stockings: I love our stockings. My mom made mine when I was very young and all the kids in my family have coordinating ones. Ryan's mom made his and the entire front is a beautiful needlepoint. I have always loved handmade stockings and so I made one for Finley a few years ago with a reindeer. Now I just need to figure out what to do for Berlin (though she tells me she wants to keep the store-bought birdie one).
then came presents ...
Finley really just wanted Legos this year and that is all he put on his wishlist. He got 3 sets and had them all built in a matter of 3 days. Finley is a very good lego builder.
Lego Creationary has become our favorite game. Some are actually pretty hard but it's been so fun. Even Berlin likes it and she does pretty good.
Our gift to the kids was this wooden castle filled with Playmobil figures that we scored on clearance (hence the very mismatched figures....merfolk, fairies, royalty, soldiers, and knights). But the kids LOVED it. We moved it downstairs and onto a table where they play with it for hours at a time ... and usually without fights.
Santa was very resourceful and gave Ryan some new Chuck Taylors, and for myself he gave me my very first pair of warm winter shoes since having moved to Utah back in '94. Yay for fake Uggs and warm toes, but BOOOO for even having a need for them! Oh how I loathe Winter.
After presents Ryan made a delicious apple, raisin, and nut bread pudding for brunch while the kids played with their new stuff. It was very relaxed and chill, which worked for me since I still wasn't feeling well. The kids just played all day long with their new toys, I rested and napped, while Ryan watched sports and played video games. I love Christmas day and being able to just hang-out at home. It's the very best gift of all!