Matt and Maria's kids - McKay and Logan - were all about cars and trucks. As soon as they opened a couple of those they were set for the night!My mom and dad were ecstatic to have all their children and grandkids in one room for Christmas. I don't remember what my mom was laughing about here but it undoubtedly had something to do with her grandkids...
My sister Heidi received her Snowman Soup that my kids and I had put together for everyone. If you are unfamiliar with it, Snowman Soup comes with a cute little poem about how to make it. It's really just hot chocolate with snowballs (marshmallows), hershey kisses (a kiss from me to you), and candy canes (the cane for the snowman). Easy and so cute! We also handed out our yummy caramel wrapped, chocolate dipped pretzel rods.
In both Mark's family and mine we rotate which family we are exchanging a gift with each Christmas. We all have something for my mom and dad. This year my sister Brittany had us! She gave us really fun combination of things for a movie/game night. Thanks Britt!
My sister Kacie and her family with their Snowman Soup and pretzels...
I love the expression on my nephew Logan's face as he opened another vehicle!
The next few pictures crack me up. Yes their expressions are totally for real. They were so excited about their gifts from Aunt Kacie, Uncle Matt, and Taylor! Kyle got walkie talkies...
Bryan got soccer stuff...
and Morgan got some really cute clothes!
Kacie had also made some really cute plates for everyone for leaving cookies out for Santa.
Jamie was driving from San Diego to be here with everyone. When she made it we were so excited to see her! I have some really great sisters (and a really great brother).
Some of my fondest memories of my dad involve growing up playing the piano while he would stand behind me and sing and play his guitar. There's one song about a "big blue frog" that we always ask him to sing over and over..."I'm in love with a big blue frog and that big blue frog loves me. It's not as strange as it may seem, he wears glasses and he's five-foot-three..."
Well my kids have heard him sing this too. That's why they were so excited when my parents gave them a guitar!
A guitar was actually on Colton's Christmas wish list. He was so excited to finally have one.
My mom made some darling wreaths for each of us. She is so amazingly crafty. She can sew and create anything. She made my wedding dress just by looking at the picture I cut out of a magazine! And it looked exactly like it!
Jamie with her goodies from us...
My mom also gave all of us girls a beautiful heart necklace to remind us how much she loves us.
She had one to match!
Mark got an audio book to listen to on his commute to work. He drives downtown two days a week and this will be a great way to pass the time.
I love this picture of my mom...
My brother and his wife are so cute!
My sister Heidi gave everyone a hardcover book about her adoption experience. She has been so blessed to have met Candace and Dave. Griffin is a very lucky little boy!
Heidi has had a lot of support and love around her this last year through everything she experienced with this adoption. Those emotions were brought to the surface with the gift she received from my sister Kacie, a beautiful tile with a picture of she and Griffin on it...
Growing up our piano teacher always gave us these really cute Santa sugar cookies she would make every year. They were so beautifully decorated with so much detail with a coconut beard and other cute details.
She would never share the recipe or where she got the special cutters to make them - it was a well kept secret. My mom happened to find them online and was so excited to share them with everyone! She stayed up the night before until the early morning hours baking and decorating a couple dozen of these cookies. She gave us each a special cookie cutter, the recipe, and directions on how to decorate them.
Logan had already been put to bed when the cookies came out, but he knew very well what was going on and would not be left out (smart boy!). He joined us to get his cookie.
My dad is a fervent reader. He ALWAYS has a book with him. He loves to read historical stuff, biographies, novels - you name it. He is a wealth of information and I believe he has a photographic memory. I remember him reading the newspaper while he was driving when I was young (scary!!). He was never bored while waiting anywhere because he always had a book.
This year he received a Kindle. He was pretty excited to be able to take multiple books wherever he went so easily.
It was so fun to see everyone and to spend such a wonderful Christmas vacation just being with my family!