Anyway, here's a bit of a Christmas recap from our time in my hometown and then at home Christmas morning:
+ Before we left, we made reindeer food for Santa's reindeer. It's not a special recipe; just whatever we have in our pantry. This year it was cereal, crushed pretzels, raisins, a few more ingredients I can't even remember now -- and sprinkles for magic. ;)
+ We left town on Friday afternoon after Brandon's half-day at work. We enjoyed some time at my mom's store; Brandon, Walker and my Dad, grandfather and brother hunted; and we had some down time at my grandparents' and parents' houses.
+ We had Christmas with my parents and one set of grandparents (my dad's parents) at my mom and dad's house. The boys adored their pool pets (we got the turtle and the alligator), Ant Man and Iron Man costumes and NERF Guns, especially.
+ We went to church and I just loved this picture of one of my brothers, Parker, and his longtime girlfriend, Emma.
+ We stayed with my dad's parents, my Nana and Pah, while we were there and we just love spending time with them. The boys especially loved their multi-colored kids' tree! Growing up, each year my grandparents would buy each of their grandchildren an ornament and would have us out to their house to decorate their kids' tree with all of our ornaments -- the new one and past years' ornaments. It was one of my favorite traditions! My Nana has since given me all of my ornaments and it's fun to reminisce when I put them on my tree each year.
+ My parents took the boys to see my hometown's outdoor light show, put on by the city in a big park. It's one of my favorite things! It's a drive-through show, so we rode in my parents' car (since they have a sun roof in their car) and my dad drove about two miles an hour through the thing so the boys could stand up and see it while my mom held them. It was so much fun and so sweet!
+ That same night, we went over to my other grandparents' (Grammy and Grumpy)'s house for their family Christmas. Before we open gifts, my grandfather reads the Christmas story from the Book of Luke and then we pray.
When he asked us to bow our heads to pray, Knox did, too, and my aunt captured this gem:
+ After dinner and gifts there, we roasted s'mores outside and had a Texas-style snowball fight. You know, with cotton "snowballs." ;) It was a highlight for sure!
+ Each year on Christmas Eve, we have lunch with my great-grandfather. He's 100 1/2! He will be 101 in May and he's as sharp as a tack. My boys love their Paw Paw!
+ We came home on Christmas Eve and had our traditional lasagna supper, made Break & Bake cookies for Santa, put out reindeer food, had showers and read "The Night Before Christmas." And then Santa got to work!
+ My dad used to leave Santa's footprints for us and it's one of my favorite traditions looking back. Walker always asks if Santa is going to step in the ashes and when he seems them on Christmas morning, asks if we have to vacuum them up. So precious! (It's just my duck boots dipped into flour.)
By far the favorite gifts this year were the marble run and the NERF Tactical Vests.
Christmas morning is always my most favorite mess of the year: toys and wrapping paper/bags/bows/boxes everywhere, millions of cups of coffee, overtired and excited kids, Christmas music playing and just pure happiness. I love it.
My mom found them these precious waffle-knit union suits and I adore them and seeing their little booties in them! Ha!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed time spent with family and friends.