We celebrated our family's Christmas that Friday. This was the first year my siblings and I decided not to exchange gifts with one another, so that felt a bit strange not buying for everyone. Instead, we collectively decided to focus our attention on the kids and it proved to be exciting as ever watching them open their gifts with much excitement.
Four of the six grandkids (minus my sister's boys): Brooke (7), Neeley (2), Aden (1) and Tory (3)
I scored matching winter pajamas for the girls at Carter's on clearance last year, and we all had the most difficult time telling Tory and Neeley apart from one another as they whizzed around the room opening presents in a furry. Sure, they don't look much alike, but they're exactly the same size.
My brother Adam and his girlfriend Carley
Aden was very excited about opening (and swashing) presents. Hope there wasn't anything breakable in this one!
Neeley opening gifts ...
... and Tory Girl, too. It's so fun to watch the kids open gifts when they're old enough to grasp the concept of ripping open the paper and squealing with excitement over whatever's inside the box.
Dress up and princess crowns were a big hit this year. Both Tory and Neeley received the same set of Melissa and Doug crowns and everyone got in on the action of wearing one as they opened gifts.
Brookie received an America Girl doll from my parents and to say she was excited is an understatement. :)
Tuckered out at the end of the night after opening gifts for hours ...
My parents ordered pizza and bread sticks for dinner, and my mom bought a cake to celebrate Andi's birthday the following day (Saturday). The artwork on the cake was a replica of Andi's camera which I thought was very cute and creative of my mom.
The next day, Andi and I took Tory and my niece Neeley to visit my great-grandma in the nursing home. She was so excited to see us, and especially happy to see Tory. Tory, on the other hand, was a little nervous about the unfamiliar surroundings. Andi secretly bribed her with a treat to snap a picture with Grandma. After we left, we piled in the car and Tory said in a matter-of-fact voice, "Where my treat?" That kid doesn't miss a beat.
After the kids were in bed that night, Andi and I scooted away for a birthday drink in my parents small town. It was a bit surreal going to the bars in the town I grew up in, but never was old enough to legally drink. Andi and I walked around in the quaint little downtown, and it was actually kind of fun. One of the restaurants had a gigantic real Christmas tree indoors, and it was truly spectacular. (That's the front door to the left of the tree for comparison). I don't know how they got the big tree set up indoors, and can you imagine all the needles everywhere as they haul it out of there?
So, a quick and fun holiday trip home! Not sure when we'll be back to visit our family in Nebraska again, so it's always difficult to leave on that note. I'm thankful in any case we had the chance to celebrate the holidays with my family.