Alright, on to Christmas. This year we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate five different times with the girls and I think they loved all of it. Our first Christmas celebration was with the Ward side of the family. It isn't often that the whole family is able to get together, so it is always crazy and exciting when we have the opportunity. We all were able to enjoy lunch before opening presents. I think it is safe to say all of the little ones had a blast opening up all the packages. Claire got so mad at me and threw a fit when I took away presents that were not hers, but she wanted to rip the paper right off them.
Lillian and Claire received this fun new kitchen and they love it! Lillian is so funny, she likes to go over to the sink, turn the knobs of the faucet and then pretend she is washing her hands.
After paper was thrown about the living room and all the presents were open, all the littles went upstairs to take some much needed naps. The adults were finally able to sit back and relax and enjoy each others company.
Our next Christmas celebration was at our house, as a family of four. Since we were not going to be home on Christmas morning we decided to celebrate early before we left for our trip. When the girls were napping, I set out their gifts, filled their stockings and got everything ready so when they woke up everything was set.
We didn't go crazy on gifts this year for them, just some fun little things that could keep them busy while we traveled or items that could be enjoyed at home.
Claire took turns with each item she received and cuddled it up to her cheek with a happy little grin. Moments like that are what puts a smile on my face.
Our next adventure started on the girls birthday, December 22nd when we took off for Wisconsin at 5:45am. We loaded the car the night before so we had little as possible to worry about or forget the next morning. We got everything ready and put the girls right from their beds into the car, jammies and all. They slept the first few hours before we made a breakfast stop in Des Moines.
In order to keep them busy and not getting too upset while we finished breakfast and changing them, I gave them each a few creamers and they stacked them. This kept them busy for about 5 minutes which was plenty of time to start getting them ready to get back on the road.
(sorry they are so blurry)
After changing out of jammies and into their special birthday shirts we were back on the road. We were hoping to make as few stops as possible so we stocked the car with plenty of toys and snacks and the girls did great. Oh and I think the endless hours of Olivia on the dvd player also helped.
We stopped in Dubuque for a special birthday lunch at McDonalds and the girls had a blast running around the play place. They had so much fun chasing behind the older girls (they were probably around 10 years old). Lillian stood at the end of the tunnel slide and laughed with glee as the girls slide down, Claire tried climbing up behind them and they both ran countless circles around all the equipment.
Finally around 4pm we arrived at our first destination; we spent the first few nights of our trip at my mom's house. She bought a delicious birthday cake for them and we sang Happy Birthday to them. I think it is safe to say that they are not fans of the song. Both at their party and at my moms they both hid their faces and turned on the tears as soon as we started to sing. Odd.
They may not have enjoyed our singing, but they sure did like the cake.
On Christmas Even we went over to my Grandparents house to celebrate Christmas with them, it is always so nice being able to spend time with them, I just wish we were able to see them more often. It broke my heart when my Grandpa said he wishes he could see the great grandkids faces. He said he knows what all of us look like, but he has never had the chance to see the faces of the little ones. He could hear the laughter and chatter of Coy, Lillian and Claire, but cannot see the shades of their hair, the button noses and the happiness on their faces.
After visiting with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, we went back to my moms so the girls could take a nap. They decided they didn't want to sleep, but they still played quietly upstairs and relaxed. That evening we opened more presents, ate too much food and enjoyed good company again.
Christmas morning after breakfast we loaded everything back into the car and headed north. This was our final stop on our trip to my Dad and Sandy's house. The girls were instantly drawn to the Christmas tree, all of the lights and ornaments were torture for them to look at and not be able to touch. They each had their favorites picked out and always looked at the same few.
That afternoon, after naps, we all bundled up and went outside to play in the snow. I was a bit worried about this. The girls enjoy looking at the snow, but being in the cold playing in it is completely different then watching it through the window. Well, they were not fans. I think there were a few different things that factored into this, the snow was almost as deep as they are tall, it was cold, very cold, and they were so bundled up they could hardly walk. Boy did they look cute though.
I am hoping next year they will have more fun running through the snow and laugh as they go down the sledding hill my dad builds in the backyard.
We came back inside to enjoy hot chocolate, for the little ones, luke warm chocolate and then dinner. After some fun running around with the cousins and dancing, Santa came to visit. The living room was filled with presents and happy children as they tore open packages Santa brought for them. It took awhile, but the girls slowly warmed up to Santa, I think it helps they realized he was the one handing out their gifts.