0600 hours

That's what time my kids woke up Christmas morning.  (6 am in civilian terms) It was actually later that I had expected, so I was okay with that.  I told them we wouldn't go out to the living room until 6:30 so they all crawled in bed with me.  I was trying to trick them into going back to sleep when Nate suddenly yells, "HEY!  It's 6:37."  So out we went.

Luke saw his bike and immediately went for it.  He probably would have been happy if he hadn't opened anything else.  But oh were there toys.  Luke probably had the most of anyone because he's still little enough to love toys.  And they're inexpensive.  So every time I was out wondering what to get the kids, I'd see something Luke would like and pick it up.

He got a lot of imaginext toys.  Superheros costumes, toys. . . The giant castle was from Nate and Sadie.
Jake and the Neverland Pirates (scored that as a Black Friday deal AFTER Black Friday -- someone had shoved it back behind a bunch of toys though).

Sadie got mostly art supplies and book making kits.  That's pretty much what she spends all of her spare time doing.  She did love her giant stuffed giraffe from Luke.
 At one point in time we were teasing her because she wasn't showing enough excitement.  We got this:
The most random gift I bought all year was Pinypon.  I don't know how it ended up on her list, but it did and after years of Polly Pockets, Hello Kitty, Squinkies and such I was really excited for a new toy.

Nate's big gift was an iPod touch.  He love loves it.  He's already downloaded a million games on it.  He only got ONE set of Legos and he didn't even put them together until the day after Christmas because he was so busy with everything else. 
Skylanders for the Wii was a huge hit.  I think the neighborhood kids were over here for 3 days straight playing it.

And of course his basketball hoop.  It was kind of a good year for Nate.

One of my favorite Christmas break activities has been watching the kids play basketball.  Especially when Dustin played basketball against our friend Tim who is 6' 7".

Ellie got typical girl stuff: decor for her room, boots, clothes and purses. 

She got an iTouch as well.  It's funny to see the differences in the kids.  Ellie mainly uses hers to take photos, facetime and text with friends/cousins.

And let's not forget her giant stuffed bear that she's been wanting for 4 years.  I finally gave in because she's only going to be little for so much time until she outgrows silly stuff like this.

I finally got a growth board for our family.  Ellie's been using our wall so it's nice to have something she can actually write on.

Baked french toast for breakfast, candy for lunch and take out for dinner.  It was a very low key Christmas.

After all was said and done, my living room looked something like this:

I did manage to get it all picked up, all the rooms straightened and Christmas taken down the next day.  After another week of break everyone's rooms are a disaster again.  Merry Christmas!!


Christmas Eve at the Rogers'

Everyone is welcome to our house on Christmas Eve -- that is for certain.  So if you ever find yourself without Christmas Eve plans, call me up (the warning is imperative since I'm not so good at surprises), invite yourself over and have the best time.  Only bring some Nativity wear because we're running out of costumes.
This year we celebrated with 3 of my gorgeous friends and their families -- 9 adults, 16 children and not once did anything get spilled or broken.  It's a Christmas miracle.

If you do show up for Christmas Eve you should know that we always eat soup in bread bowls and the kids love to eat outside, so there will be room for you at the table, at the bar or the in the living room.  Adults are everywhere.

There are no formal place cards and we eat off of paper plates because I want to be in bed at a decent hour on Christmas Eve.
 Of course there will be dessert and plenty of food.

After dinner we always recreate the Nativity.  Just a warning: there is singing.
This year we ran out of costumes for the kids so we had to make a few extra wisemen with Ellie's scarves and the two oldest took over the used-to-be-an-adult role of Narrator.

Luke was the star, Nate was a wiseman, Ellie narrated and Sadie was Mary.  The kids were so incredibly reverent this year.  It made the entire night.  They're getting so big that they know what to do without us even directing.

Lastly we always always decorate cookies for Santa.  They ended up loaded with sprinkles, so good luck getting your children to bed at a decent time.

Strangely enough, while the little ones are decorating cookies, Santa ALWAYS drops off new pajamas for all of the kids.  The big kids have caught on to this fact and were practically camped out by the front door.

After the nativity, the mad dash of the pajamas being delivered is my favorite part.  It's like a Christmas ad.  Wrapping paper and children running everywhere.

 Some just strip down right in the living room to put them all on.

This year there were matching PJs, footie PJs, and lots of adorable little kids ready for Santa.

We attempted a family picture.  I should have known Luke was going to continue his picture taking trend from Sunday.
In his defense, he was REALLY excited about his new pajamas.  He kept yelling, "Tank you Santa for my new doggie jamas.  I weally lub dem."

 After all the chaos had calmed down the kids went back to eating the cookies they weren't going to leave for Santa and hanging out around the fire pit.

 Finally I had to kick everyone out so I could do really important things, like pick up this little goodie who had been living at a friend's house for 3 months.
And getting all the presents out while Dustin helped "Santa" with a basketball hoop.

All the kids wanted to sleep together in Nate's room.  It lasted until about 11:30 when I heard them up whispering if Santa had come.
I quickly put pillowcases over their head (just kidding -- or am I?) and shoved them into their own rooms.  And I was kidding.  I just draped a blanket over their heads.

And there you have it -- wouldn't you like to come for Christmas Eve?


Christmas Sunday

I was really excited for Christmas Sunday because I love having a picture of all of our family together.  Only for the first time in years, we didn't have anyone staying with us to take our picture.  So no group shot.  And then I went to take pictures of the kids and my lens wasn't working, so I ended up using our super zoom lens.  Grrr.  I looked a little like this:

 Apparently all the pre-picture chaos was too much for some people because this wasn't our best year.

Luke was in a real mood.  Not a good mood or a bad mood.  Just some sort of I-will-spoil-all-the-pictures mood.

Don't worry about looking at the camera.  It's blurry anyway.

You can make that face all you want -- you're still going to be in the picture buddy.

So just pretend that we all looked gorgeous and put together.  I did manage to get some OK shots of the big kids.

 And proof that I may not be the world's BEST photographer, but I still do better than Dustin.

All those parties

My favorite part of Christmas time is all the chances to see friends and enjoy everyone's company.

I wish I had pictures of our Ward party but it was CRAZY!  I can't believe how many people we had show up.  People were eating in the Relief Society room because the cultural hall was full.  I showed up an hour late (I had been taking Ellie up to a party in Mesa) and there was still a line for food.  So basically I spent all my time making sure I knew where Luke was.  I didn't even see my other two.

I was really lucky to be able to go to each of the kids' class parties.  Miraculously they were all scheduled back to back and I was chosen in the lotteries.  And even better, I wasn't room mom so I didn't have to plan a single one.  It was really nice to just show up and hang out.

For Sadie's party they made gingerbread houses, exchanged books and had a snack.  It was pretty cute and the kids were really well behaved.  Kindergarteners are always the best behaved.

Nate's party was probably the most boring.  They had 15 minutes at each station -- BINGO (have I ever told you how much I hate BINGO??  No?  Well, I do), decorating *a* cookie (as in ONE, and only one), and making a snowman out of marshmallows (like gluing them on a paper in the shape of a snowman).  The kids were really really bored as none of those are 15 minute worthy activities and it was loud and crazy with kids running everywhere.  Pinterest.  Nuff said.

Ellie's was last and they made snow globes, ate snacks and payed Minute To Win It games.  The big kids are always so much fun to be around and we didn't play BINGO -- so I'll give this party two thumbs up.  Think I could get my own reality show going around and judging class parties?

Sadly no pictures from Dustin's work party.  Probably because I had a melt down right before we were suppose to leave.  I had a dress I had planned on wearing and I could not find the belt to go with it.  Dustin didn't get why I wouldn't just throw on another dress, but Dustin's not a girl is he?  My babysitter was here and everything and I was still tearing the house apart. I just knew the kids had used it as some prop in a game.  I eventually just put on another dress and we left.  Two days I was doing the laundry and guess what I found in the basket??

We also had our annual neighborhood party.  8 years of the best neighbors ever (even if half of them have moved).

Jill hosted this year and did an amazing job planning games.  Luke's favorite was Junk in the Trunk -- where you stick the ping pong balls in a kleenex box and tie it around your waist.  He played that by himself the entire night.

And finally we went to a little MISM reunion (all the people Dustin did his grad school program with at BYU) at a friend of Dustin's.  It's always a little scary to go hang out with people you know through your husband because you have no idea what you're going to get.  And to be honest, I didn't remember a single one of them.  Of course the second we get there, Dustin gets a phone call and disappears for a good half hour.

Luckily everyone was really nice and I really really loved one of the wives.  Unfortunately she lives on the other side of the valley so I had to break the news that we could never be friends because I don't even drive into Mesa.  It turns out the friend who hosted is also dating a girl Dustin and I knew when we were dating so it was fun to catch up with her and mutual friends.  Which was funny because right as we pulled up I said, "Why haven't we set Adam up with Malorie yet?"  Guess the answer was just waiting in the kitchen.  And we know her.