On December 28th my mom's Aunt Nan went home to heaven. She was the last living relative of gram's generation. Her and grams were very close and were both amazing examples of women of strength. We joked about how they must all be having a crazy New Year's Eve party up in heaven celebrating being reunited with one another. Grams had one sister and there were 5 siblings on grandpa's side. Everyone was married and everyone had passed away except grams and aunt Nan. It is a weird feeling thinking about a whole generation in a family being gone. From the ones that I had met and knew since I was a little girl, I can say that they were an amazing generation who left a legacy of family values for each of us!!
We just returned from a great visit with family and friends to Seal Beach. This was the first time we were back since grandma E's funeral. Her house was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the kids just loved seeing all the decorations. I was reminded about how much kids can bring JOY during difficult times. They just loved to see all the decorations and help go through old ones to separate them between families. It was hard to be too sad over her stuff when I watched our kids just treasure all the special things she has. We visited with friends (didn't take too many picture :() and spent a lot of time enjoying the beautiful weather. It rained one day, but every other day was beautiful. Grandpa and grandma met us down there and we enjoyed being together with them. They spoiled us with meals and treats for the kids while we were there. We were able to help with a bit of the "cleaning out" process. We enjoyed going through some of grams old stuff and hearing stories about certain things. It was a great way to end our year together as a family in a place we LOVE!!
Luke was excited to be in Seal Beach for his 5th Birthday. We brought down a few things to decorate the table. We walked to Main Street for cinnamon rolls on the pier for breakfast and then went to the famous sea shell store. Aunt Emmie and Uncle Gary took us out to a yummy lunch at Ruby's on pier. In the evening we drove to Downtown Disney to hang out. It was very busy so we just walked around and looked in stores, but ended up not eating there because the wait was so long. Luke had $6.00 of his birthday money left and he looked in all the stores but didn't find anything. I loved seeing his kind heart in the Disney store. He walked Allie around like his own little daughter. He would say, "sweetie, do you want me to buy you this?" and then he would ask, "mom, do I have enough money to buy Allie this Minnie Mouse?" We resisted because the Minnie was way more than the money he had, but it was difficult to say no because he was being so thoughtful. He kindly explained to her that he didn't have enough money to buy the Minnie and tried finding something else. In the end we decided to go back to the Seal Beach shell store. He bought Andrew and Allie something from there. This boy has the sweetest heart when it comes to giving to his brother and sister. We ended our day at a local restaurant where Luke wanted a hot dog for dinner. He spent half his dinner time cutting up Allie's hot dog for her and he was very happy with himself. To end the night we got stuck outside grandma E's house because the alarm on the door was broken. We went to the neighbor for the garage door opener and when she found out it was his birthday she ran and got the boys remote control cars from her trunk. What a surprise!!! Luke was very excited though. Happy Birthday Lukey James...we LOVE you so much buddy!!
The kids love my cousins Jack and Frank. They always enjoy the time they get to spend with them in Seal Beach. Allie has a little crush on Frank...as you can tell by her smile with him. They brought the kids Christmas gifts and Frank gave Allie a beautiful dress, shoes, and pearl necklace. She thought she was just beautiful for Frank!! Oh my...we have our hands full with this little girl!!
We have a the greatest daddy in the world and he was so wonderful this year to drive us all the way to Seal Beach on his birthday. We made sure to get him a few Starbucks along the way. Aunt Jamey and Katelyn had dinner waiting for us when we got to grandma E's house and everyone came over for cake to celebrate!! We are so blessed by Andy's patience and love for our family. He spoils me all the time with everything he does for our family. I love watching him interact with our kids...they all love him to pieces!! Happy Birthday Daddy!! We LOVE You!
Andrew just loves his legos. He got a new fire boat from Santa and he spent 2 hours on Christmas building it. He was very proud of himself for building it all by himself. He has a great deal of patience with his legos. We love watching him build!! This is also my kiddos in their PJs before going to bed...just documenting that mommy let them stay in them all day long!!
Christmas day was wonderfully relaxing this year. We woke up around 7 and 7:30, which is sleeping in for these kiddos. It was cold and almost rainy, so we enjoyed a cozy fire. The kids opened stockings, we slowly made our way through gifts, ate breakfast, and enjoyed the morning. It was WONDERFUL!!! Santa brought the family a computer, which was very exciting. Andrew was also very excited and enthusiastic about his lego fire boat from Santa and his Expo markers for the whiteboard. AS you can see in the pictures he also enjoys organizing all his gifts in neat little piles. Luke was very excited to find a Grinch ornament in his stocking. He had put this on his list and Santa came through. Luke was a bit worried because he had asked for a pillow pet, but Andrew gave him one for his birthday. He wasn’t sure what Santa was going to do. His gift was in a small box, but Andrew assured him that the best gifts come in small packages. Luke was beyond excited to get his very own camera from Santa. He told me many times throughout the day, “mom, good things do come in small packages.” Luke, as always was very excited to give Andrew and Allie their gifts. Allie got a new keyboard music player from Santa and a couple new baby dolls, a baby bed, and some stuffed puppies from everyone else. She is so precious at this age and gets so excited. She says everything is so “tute (cute).” She is a bit of a 2 year old stinker though when it comes to sharing her gifts and wanting what her brothers got. I love seeing the kids exchange the gifts they got for each other. I have so much fun shopping with each of them and it makes me smile to watch how excited they get to give each other their special gift. We played all morning and afternoon with toys, read a few books, and played games. I told myself I wanted this Christmas to be simple, and it was. We had some snacks during the day and had an easy chicken and noodle casserole for dinner. It was so nice to not have to fuss over a big meal and I LOVED being able to be on the floor with my kids to just play. Allie took a nice afternoon nap, Andy and I got a little Starbucks, and snuggled up with the boys on the couch. Grandpa, grandma, and Uncle Paul came over for a bit to visit and see what Santa brought. And one more thing about our day… SHHHH….we ALL stayed in our jammies all day, AND I did something I never have done before….I let my kids go back to sleep tonight with their Christmas jammies on. YES…this is a huge thing for someone who gives her kids one to two showers a day, washes PJs every day, and won’t usually leave the house unless everyone is “ready” for the day. The boys thought it was great!!! I just LOVED our COZY family Christmas this year!!
The kids love spoiling Santa and his reindeer. Christmas Eve they spent quite some time spreading out all the reindeer food. Andrew gets very excited about this job and is very precise about making sure all the food is evenly spread out. Luke wanted to give them carrots as well, so him and Allie emptied the fridge of all our carrots and lined them up very nicely. Luke didn't think they would want to go on the grass so he left them on the edge. After that process was over we got Santa's cookies ready. We made Santa a giant cookie, but Luke also wanted to share his snowman cookie. Andrew gave him a huge glass of chocolate milk. I'm sure that Santa and the reindeer LOVE stopping at our house!!