Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Oh man, as my friend Krista said on her blog...I promise we celebrated Christmas and I promise there is photographic proof. Lately, I've just been feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of all of our photos and the task of getting them organized and displayed places...mind you I mean displayed here on the blog and on fb and similar stuff. Add in a full time job, two crazy boys, a few too many positions with my alumnae group and my pretty large capacity is overflowing! Our Christmas stuff is still up still hanging out in the great room. Eek.

We're fortunate for a few reasons when it comes to celebrating Christmas with the family. For one, all of our immediate family is local so there's no concern of who will be traveling and spending gobs of cash to trek across the country. Second, my family and Jeff's family celebrate Christmas on different days so we also don't have to deal with splitting the day up or trading off years. So lucky on this one I think!!

Jeff's family does all their holiday festiveness on Christmas Eve. In the past, we'd always attend midnight mass but now that there are so many kids in our family, we go to an earlier mass before dinner. There is a very odd traditional meal of cream of wheat, sausage, sour kraut followed by chaotic gift opening. I love it, but everything with the Barnes side of our family is chaotic - that is what happens with a large family. Then again, anything is considered large in comparrison to my little fam. Anyway, there were about 20 of us there for Christmas Eve and we're loud. True story.

Bear patiently waiting for prezzies to begin

Maddie being all sorts of adorable

Noah grabbed Jacob and refused to let go. Jake found it hilarious.

Several of the kiddos opening their gifts. This was the first round and by the end you couldn't even see the ground thanks to all the wrapping paper mess

Madison's gift was nearly bigger than she is!

Connor loved his airplane from the Blums

and Noah liked the car they got him too

Christmas morning is held at our house and it's quite smaller than the Christmas Eve celebration the night before. This is the first year we set cookies and milk out for Santa because it's really the first year Connor really got it so it was fun. First thing in the morning Connor woke us up telling us that Santa drank all the milk but didn't finish his cookies. Exhauseted, I told Connor that if he wanted he could finish them up for Santa - at 7 o'clock in the morning. He was thrilled!
My parents arrived that morning and we had mimosas and some brunch-like food. Champagne. Yum. I'm a fan. After that, it was present opening but first I tortured my children by forcing them to pose by all their presents for a few photos.
have I mentioned how difficult it is to get a good pic of 4 people at one time? Nearly impossible - see above :) BTW, these are our Christmas pajamas. Love.

trying to decide where to start first...

oh the sibling annoyance at Christmas was pretty intense. Noah's favorite toy is clearly whatever Connor is currently playing with.

Now that Noah is mobile, it's tough to get good pics of him. I gave up and just threw this cute tee on his rear and snapped a shot. done and done.

my dad gave Jeffrey a nerf gun game for the wii. i don't honestly know if Jeff's played the game yet, but I can say that we've totally taken turns sneaking up on the other person and shooting them with the nerf bullets. We're extremely mature if you didn't know.
Papa gave Connor an ornament with his Tball picture in it. The ornament plays All Star and Connor loves it

This was one of the favorites. It's a huge, really huge, really huge, race track. Oh, and it's noisy. By favorite I clearly meant it was a favorite of his, not me.

this is all Noah wants to do anymore I swear
Noah spent most of the holiday chewing on stuff - so much that a collage was needed
Yes. Noah pulled himself up and stood while holding on to something for the first time on Christmas day. Too fast, slow down Bear!!

We had a great Christmas and were thankful for the chance to spend the holidays with family so close. We hope you all had a great Christmas as well!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Letters from Santa

The boys letters from Santa arrived last week and it was quite the event. Thanks to Tashi, Santa always knows exactly where to send our letters :)

I don't know if Connor remembers getting a letter from Santa over the past few years but he is totally into Santa this year so it was kinda a big deal. By kinda I mean seriously a huge deal!!

The letters arrived in these super cute envelopes - postmarked from Alaska (?) and I was impressed with how pretty Santa's return address labels were - props to you St. Nick.

Aw, this was amazing. This night was the first instance of big bro being annoyed by little bros shenanigans. We've decided that Noah's favorite toy is whatever Connor is currently holding. Noah just did not want to leave Connor alone while Connor was so absorbed with his Santa letter. OMG. hilarious.

BOTH faces in this one just kill me. hahahaha. Connor was DONE.

The letters came with a certificate for being on the Nice List, a personalized letter from Santa himself and a cute photo of Santa that said Mrs. Claus took it of him in his workshop. Really cute stuff. Since our house doesn't have a fireplace, there was a little key in Connor's letter with instructions to leave it at the front door so that Santa could come in to deliver gifts.
Noah did this while Connor was in his Santa trance

more of this...

Noah checking out his Nice List certificate

super excited about something

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Christmas preparations...

Christmas preparations are fully under way now in the Barnes household. The Christmas cards are pouring in...which I seriously love. It's so great seeing everyone in their "picture day finery" and seeing their super cute cards. We hang them all up and have serious guilt over throwing them away after the holiday, but we do because what on earth would we do with them otherwise!?
My mom started a tradition this year of decorating cookies with the boys. Actually this year it was just she and Connor but next year Noah will join in I'm sure. Fundamental difference between my mom and I: she let Connor decorate them completely by himself and didn't even hint at suggestions. I would softly suggest that he not make his gingerbread man's eyes red. This is probably why Connor had more fun doing this with Grammy Van Hook than he would have with me! :)
decorated by Connor himself

Last year we discovered Santa's House in Downtown Chandler. It's amazing. Totally free (with suggested donations going to the Chandler Lions Club) and never, ever a line. The volunteers are super nice and they let you just hang out with Santa - and you can take your own pictures, though you get a free one from them anyway.

We were just planning on doing one with each of the boys with Santa and then another with both of them with him but Santa insisted that Jeffrey and I join in. This was unfortunate as I'd totally left the house sans makeup for this first stop of the day - totally something I rarely every do. Yikes. Oh well.

Noah did spectacular and loved Santa. You can tell by his pictures that we'll never be getting that hilarious screaming child pic of either of our kids. Connor did great too, but he's chatting in his photo so it's the best we could get. I'm so glad they are good in this type of situation - I like photos too much to deal with anything less :)

posing by Chandler's Tumbleweed Christmas tree

thrilled by the bows attached to their gifts from "Uncle Adam"...Connor's Godfather. Connor kept saying "Open us up Mama".

do you see the matching shirts for the boys? Yeah, we did that. If I'm being completely honest I don't find it nearly as annoying as when little girls wear matching dresses. Sorry.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Decking the halls and other pics

One of my closest friends Dawn's daughter Stella turned one a few weeks ago and they had a cowgirl themed party for her. It was super cute but the wind really killed Dawn's theme. Seriously, the wind was out of blowing card tables away out of control!

enjoying the potato sack race - i don't know where one would find potato sacks but Dawn found them and Connor loved it

Making his very own cowboy hat
We set up our tree and most of the decorations on Thanksgiving weekend. One of my absolute favorite parts of Christmas is wrapping the gifts. Every year I try to do a theme or stick with a couple colors for gifts and every year Jeffrey interferes and just stuffs everything I assign him ask him to wrap in a gift bag. Not this year. Not this year.

cheapy labels dont go with my theme so I let Noah play with them and ruin them
After we set up the Christmas village I found this. For anyone without kids, especially boys, this is a snapshot of my life :)

Connor decorating the tree while Noah watches