we started off our celebrations on sunday with the smith family.
the boys played hard.
and kept asking when do we get to open presents.
reminded me of sitting at my grandparents' houses
waiting to do the same thing for what seemed like forever.

this one was all into the boxes and tissue paper.

a little last minute christmas eve pajama making.

our tree christmas eve before santa arrived.

his treat and special coloring page.

and the next morning.

these two must have been really good!

i think santa did a good job,
and august's face shows how happy he was!

august's brought home an advent calendar from school.
each day he remembered to add a star and a part of the manager scene.
he couldn't wait to arrive to christmas day and add baby jesus.

later we had trav's family and my parent's over for breakfast.

and lots of gift exchanging.

i had my camera on my hip for dinner with the jahna clan,
but failed to take a single picture.
pretty sure our final count was 58.
we had a few mama-to-be's among the crowd,
so we counted their little ones as well.
thinking it would be funny, i also counted twice.
it certainly had every one's attention.
now i just pray the joke isn't on me!

we skipped over to the farr's,
where i just gave up on pictures.
it was great visiting again with family,
and seeing their awesome new back porch.
makes me want to get busy here at the house.

also, i somehow managed to not take single picture christmas eve with the cruse gang.
much fun had once again.
before visiting them,
we went to candlelight service at church.
with amazing music and celebration.
(and some VERY memorable vocals coming from enthusiastic older ladies.)

a very blessed christmas indeed!


making (and unmaking) merry

my biggest elf helped wrap and decorate daddy's present.

my littlest elf helped herself to this gift a little early.
the tag and bow were just too much to handle.
all that sparkly goodness.....she just couldn't wait another minute.

hence, the lack of elaborate wrapping by mama.
but i remind myself that simple is best.


partying, screaming santa picture, and jack

august had his school party.
they sure do it up right!
food, presents,
and a santa visit with yet another present!

no childhood is complete without a screaming santa picture.

an up close view!

the whole group at ice.

and later tonight, i'm stealing jack's idea for a nice long, hot bath.

but i think i'll read a country living instead!


the past few weeks via instagram

finally a birthday cake eater

boys off for an afternoon hunt

decking the halls

stimama making

shoe frustration

bright red button finding

grit eating southern girl

elf napping

elf snacking

elf hanging

family partying

elf drinking

and huge stimama project completed



we headed up to the gaylord palms to see and experience, ice.
all bundled up and ready to go in!

let me tell you, 9 degrees is COLD!

this boy loved the ice slide.

us adults thought it was pretty cool too.

the sculptures were amazing.


the manager scene was unbelievable.

we headed back out into the warmth.
visited santa (more on him later), ate at the columbia in celebration,
looked at christmas lights,
and headed home with two tired munchkins.