Oh, my lucky readers. . . you are privileged to experience all the joy and warmth of Christmas on this dreary February day! (Yes, I'm finally getting around to posting our Christmas pictures. Yes, I'm embarrased that it took me until February to do it. Please enjoy them anyway!)
*Once again, the Veater family packed up ALL the gifts and kids and gear and hopped on a non-stop 3 1/2-hour Alaskan Airlines flight to good ol' San Diego. Land of the warm, sunny Christmases. Except we actually got a ton of rain this time on our trip. Funny fact: It was sunny in Seattle the day we left, and we arrived in San Diego to some pouring rain. Then it proceeded to rain for three days straight! For San Diego, that is a serious flood!
*We arrived in San Diego five days before Christmas, and those last few days of shopping and wrapping gifts and baking and visiting with family FLEW by! We made these beautiful cookies with our friends when we were still in Seattle:
*They were delicious! But we didn't end up with enough time to make more cookies in California. What we DID make was our family's very first gingerbread house. I can't be too proud of my mad gingerbread-house-making-skillz, since we bought the kit from Target. ;) Here's what we started with:
After lots of climbing on the table. . . ("Natalie, get down!" for the millionth time)
Some intense concentration. . .
Fighting over the candy. . .
Eating of the frosting. . .
And lots of eating of the candy. . .
We ended up with our finished. . . hmm. . . ermh, masterpiece???
*It was really fun having a whole house full of people for Christmas! My grandparents, my brother, and my aunt and uncle and their four kids PLUS us all staying at my parents' house. Full house, but I love it! The more people the merrier!
*I was thrilled that I actually got all my presents wrapped the day BEFORE Christmas Eve this year! I always end up wrapping on Christmas Eve, so it was nice to get it all done while I watched Home Alone 2 and The Christmas Story.
*We celebrated my Grandma's birthday just three days before Christmas.
*Kirsten and my cousin Caleb (they're almost the exact same age, even though he's technically my cousin) helped my Mom bake a cake for Christmas eve!
*Christmas eve dinner was awesome. Any time you get my Mom and my Grandma in the kitchen cooking up a storm, the results are always amazing. We had prime rib, our family's traditional orange rolls, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, fresh green beans from the garden. Delicious! We topped off the night with my Chocolate Mint Brownies and everyone's favorite homemade Eggnog. Santa got some as well!
*Brooke was so cute on her first Christmas eve!
*She didn't give us a silent night, but we forgive her. You have to forgive an adorable face like that! No choice!
*We had some excited kids on Christmas Eve! Natalie was still too young to understand, but she could sense the excitement in the air.
*Kirsten loved snuggling up with my cousin Rachel, who's pretty much her favorite kid in the world. She attached herself to Rachel the entire time they were visiting, and I asked my Aunt Lani if we could take Rachel home with us to entertain Kirsten ALL the time!
*It was really fun that Kirsten got SO excited about Santa this year. She knew he was going to come down the chimney, and she actually got a little too excited about that part. On Christmas morning she started crying and melting down when she came downstairs, and she kept saying, "He needs to come down the chimney!" No amount of talking we did could convince her that he already came while she was sleeping. She wanted to see him herself!
*Ah, a peaceful, quiet Christmas morning before all the presents are devoured and paper is strewn everywhere. . .
"Can we come downstairs yet???"
*My kids tend to get overwhelmed on Christmas morning, and there's lots of crying. I thought this year would be different, but it was still the same. I managed to get a few pictures of the kids happily opening presents, but most of the morning was just overwhelming for them. What is it about Christmas morning???
*I thought the cutest toy under the tree was the Toddler Cinderella doll that Santa brought for Natalie. Such an adorable doll! Natalie loves her!
*Kirsten's favorite toy was the Squinkies (she calls them "Squishies"). They're also the most problematic toy, because they get scattered absolutely everywhere and Natalie always wants to get into them. They're pretty cute though!
*Of course Brooke slept the morning away, but she had lots of loving people who wanted to hold her!
*Does anybody EVER manage to get a nice, happy family picture in front of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning? Hasn't happened for us yet! Here's this year's attempt. Kirsten wants to be asleep, and the other two are crying. Nice.
*Kirsten really did enjoy the rest of the day. She just loves playing with Rachel and Emily, and they had so much fun together!*Despite all the hassle of traveling at this time of year, packing all the presents, and getting all that and all the kids on an airplane, it's all completely worth it to spend Christmas in San Diego with our family. The day is filled with so much love, excitement, and warmth, and it was another wonderful Christmas for our family.