So, so much...

While Christmas has come and gone and the beautiful celebration just a memory I am stepping back a few weeks to remember just what it was all about.  In the hustle and bustle of the season we had house guests.  And not just any visitors but Poppi and Nani.  Then, a few days later we had Uncle J, Aunt Corynn and Gianna.  Let's start with the grandparents. 
They arrived on the 22nd, late at night due to delays and such.  Thing 4 and I picked them up from the airport and I couldn't tell who was more excited, Poppi or Thing 4.  He ran out in his pj's to surprise them with hugs!  Mind you it was about 0 degrees that night, no matter to him though.  As it goes with this time of the year we had a few errands to run after church the next day.  Our service was a delight as the grandparents were able to see Thing 2 on the big screen sharing her heart about the covert ops ministry she participates in.  So special.  After running around and catching up and laughing we were settled in for games and ping pong  and a Christmas movie, oh and a little baking of course.
 Telestrations, a new family favorite!
Making the infamous bark, mmm good!
Christmas Eve dawned and we were all prepared for a great day.  The morning began with beignets made by none other than Husband Jared.  We caught him tasting the finished product,
just like any good chef. 
On the schedule for the day, Church service, Italian dinner, looking at Christmas lights together in the family van and spending the day snuggled in watching Christmas movies and hanging out until it was time to get ready.  Here are a few photos in front of the Christmas tree with everybody in their "best".
Not sure what is going on here?
The family
After an amazing and touching service we drove around in the chilly night air looking for some incredible light displays, we saw a few and then the cold and our growling stomachs got the best of us.  We headed home only to find that the baby of our family, Polo, had devoured most of our Italian sausage for dinner that night.  Little did we know it was accessible to him when we left and he took full advantage of having the house to himself.  Oops.  That did not deter us from making the most of our night and continuing the celebration in anticipation of Christ's birth on Christmas morning. 
Here we are gathered around the table, waiting for the Jesse tree reading. 
Let's eat!
Once dinner was over the Things scrambled into their Christmas jammies and waited patiently on the couch for the first present of Christmas.  Not!  They asked incessantly which one, when they could open and where their presents were from Husband Jared and I.  Little did they know the surprise that was in store for them on Christmas morning. 
Don't remember if this was late Christmas Eve or first thing Christmas pick!
The Things were tucked into their beds, or each other's beds for their annual sibling sleep over.  Yes, they still do that and I absolutely love listening to their giggles and guessing and late night talks.  The adults on the other hand had some wrapping to take care of so we headed upstairs for a little Christmas Vacation, the movie, and present wrapping.  Oh what fun!  The clock struck 12 and we were off to bed for we knew that Thing 1 would be rising early with a household wake up call.  The oldest one and still the biggest kid of them all. 
And then in a blink of an eye it was Christmas morning and all that we had prepared for had arrived.  Christ's birth being forefront on our minds we settled in with blankets and coffee for our reading of the miracle birth, love come down.  My favorite story. 
Another family tradition was waiting by the fireplace, stuffed to the brim with goodies, our stockings, handmade by Framma and filled by Santa.  He was so good to us!
So full they wouldn't even stay on their hangers...overflowing
Before long the presents had been opened, gifts exchanged, thank you's shouted, coffee cake inhaled and then it happened.  The Things realized they had not had their "gold, Frankincense and Myrrh" to open.  Hmm, what happened here?  Well, Husband Jared had cooked up quite the gift for those four and he sent them on a hunt, Amazing Race style to find it.  There were road blocks and they traveled from the Ottoman Empire to NOLA and back again.  It was a hoot to watch them work together and at times to have the unknown get the better of them.  They had word searches to complete and photographs to capture and it was really quite amazing.  When they had completed their tasks they found their present, a week long trip to Port St. Joe.  Just the sun, sand and ocean waiting for them, a reprieve from the white wonderland we live in.  To say that we are counting down the days already is a drastic understatement.
The beginning
Reading the clue
Final, not a trip to Oz
When the laughter subsided and the disbelief vanished we moved on to puzzles and lounging and enjoying our newly opened gifts.  It was a great morning.  Below we are all sporting our new custom t-shirts, courtesy of the Horel family.  Love them!  We switched up our usual Christmas tradition of staying in our jammies all day and we loaded up in the family van for a movie, Parental Guidance.  Oh my, we laughed, we cried, the Things thought we lost it and we all had a good time.  So fun and something a bit different now that the Things are a little older. 

Matching jammies

Nashville puzzle time, a gift from our sweet friends, the Brown family
The rest of the day was consumed with movies and snuggling and eating and then more of the same.  Until it was time for birthday cake.  For whom you ask, why Jesus of course.  Thing 3 made incredible cupcakes for the occasion and we lit the candle and sang, just as we always do.  A special tradition that completed a special day. 


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