This year was another wonderful Christmas! We were blessed to have all of our family over to our home and the kids were at perfect ages to enjoy the gift opening. We kicked off the holiday season purging old toys, making room for all of the new loot! Then we adopted a couple of kids that were the same age and gender as our kids. Though the shopping for those kids didn't go as we planned, we still talked about it a lot and tried to remind the children over and over again how fortunate they are. I think Bennett started to grasp it, and even debated over and over again what she would ask Santa to bring (since he only brings her one item). She wanted so much initially, but eventually crossed some items off her list, and decided that she could ask for others for her 5th birthday (in May). As it turned out, she got everything she wanted between both grandparents, us and Santa....she's a lucky girl indeed.
Christmas Eve we went to children's Christmas service at church where the kids dress up as characters from the nativity scene. Bennett wanted to be Mary, so she brought a baby from home and had it all wrapped up in a blanket like Jesus was. She convinced Preston to be Joseph. All of our friends and their children were there, so we had fun wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. After the short service, we took communion and headed to Steve's parents for all of the festivities.
As we typically do, we ate some meat and spinach pies and kibbee. Once everyone got there, my kids were ready to start opening presents. Since Mimi and Papa didn't heed my advice about buying only one nice gift per kid, they opened up a ridiculous amount of presents and got more than they could possibly want or need. With that said, they did have a fun time and got some lovely items. Each time it was Preston's turn to open a gift he would say "what is it, what is it?" in his funny little way. Then he would be so excited with whatever was under the wrapping paper! Bennett helped play "Santa" by handing out gifts to the others, and opening up some of her own in between. Everyone certainly had a Merry Christmas at the Mizeranys.
When we got home, we put the reindeer food outside (oatmeal with glitter to attract them to our yard), along with the cookies and milk for Santa. Then we put the kids down.
Christmas morning, my parents, Steve and I woke up before the kids (don't ask me why). We enjoyed our coffee and around 7:30 the kids came downstairs with the anticipation of what Santa left for them. Bob the elf was gone, as were Santa's cookies and milk...so he must have left them something good, right? Bennett carefully chose various gifts from her stocking, while Pres chose Santa's gift first. He was shocked when he realized he got his own "phone"...really it was an itouch. Bennett received the same thing, and they were both genuinely excited that they had their own device to play games and take photos.
After they opened those items, we let them open the few gifts we gave them (mainly clothes and art supplies). Since we had some time to kill before Brian's family arrived, the kids went out in the rain to play. They broke in their new umbrellas, and Pres wore his new Alabama hat and raincoat from Uncle Dan.
Brian and Shannon arrived mid morning, and as soon as they arrived... the kids were ready! We tried to get a group photo, and this was the best of about 6...oh well, they're still cute.
Everyone had another lovely Christmas, and got more terrific items! Seeing four young children get so excited was fun for all of us adults. We tried to take turns, but it didn't always go as planned.
As another Christmas comes to a close, I am thankful for how blessed we really are. We have each other, our health and much love from all of our family members. Thank you everyone for making our 2011 Christmas so memorable. We love you all!