Monday, December 27, 2010

Our Christmas 2010

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I found a few moments of peace & figured I better take advantage of it while it lasts!!
This year's Christmas started Wednesday when we celebrated Christmas with Kyle's brother, Ryan and his fiance Ashley (one of my bridesmaids when I got married). They were going up to PA to be with her family for Christmas so we needed to celebrate a little early. We enjoyed Low Country Boil & exchanged gifts. I got a gorgeous new bead for my bracelet (a cross, anchor, and seen below.."Faith, Hope, & Charity" bead) & an awesome brown Carhart vest. What's funny is that last weekend, I had tried this exact vest on with Kyle and said "not that I need it, but it's a great gift idea for the future because I really like it." Little did I know that Ryan had already bought it at Cabela's for me! :) Thanks Rhino and Ash!Then my parents arrived in town on Thursday last week. It is so good to have them around & see them spending time with Kinsley Anne. Thursday evening after getting off of work, we went to Hollywild to see Christmas lights & feed some animals. You drive in and first drive through millions of lights. Then, you enter the "safari" area where you buy food & roll down your windows. Herds of deer, holstein cows, zebras, "za-donkeys," and steer roam around eating from your hands. Then, there is a part where you can park & get out. There you can enjoy bonfires, hot cocoa, Santa, baby goats, llamas, alpacas, and lots of other animals. Kinsley was all bundled up to stay warm and she even had her picture taken with Santa!! We all had a great time but were exhausted when the night was done.

Friday, my office was closed so we all got to hang out & enjoy the day together. That evening, we went to Kyle's maternal grandmother's house (Myma) and enjoyed Christmas festivities with about 40 family members. Kyle's mom is 1 of 6, so it's a big & fun family. The kids had drawn names & exchanged gifts first. Kinsley Anne got a really pretty black fleece pea coat with zebra trim and a matching hat. Then, the Chinese auction began amongst the adults. Everyone brought a gift, either for a female or male. Numbers were given out to everyone & the person with #1 picked a gift and opened it. The person with #2 could either pick #1's gift or get a new gift. A gift could only be traded 3 times & then it was "retired" and safe with whoever was holding it at that time. It was really fun. I took home a really pretty glass heart necklace and Kyle brought home reindeer antlers & a nose for my car!

Saturday morning after Santa had come, we opened stockings at our house with my parents. Kinsley got new pink & camo cowboy boots (yes..a stocking stuffer because her feet are so tiny haha). After stockings, we went over to Kyle's parents & exchanged gifts with everyone. I was blown away with how many amazing gifts I got. We are one blessed family. The biggest gift for me was my BRAND NEW CAMERA!!!! Kyle bought me a Nikon D3100 with an extra (bigger) lens. I had an absolute ball taking pictures the rest of the day. Poor Kinsley's first words are going to be "mom, stop" I'm certain. I also got an express Keratin treatment that I'm having done this Wednesday afternoon. My parents bought us a new Hoover!!!!! I am beyond excited about the fact that we have a nice, high quality vacuum that I would never want to buy for myself. My parents also bought my more Willow Tree Nativity figurines for my happy about them!

Kyle & Kinsley Anne got tons of great gifts as well. Kinsley Anne got more shoes, socks, clothes, books, ornaments, and her very first pocket knife from Daddy! Kyle's dad has always bought his three kids (all boys) a Case pocket knife every year for Christmas. Kyle wants to continue that tradition with his kids. Kinsley will get the same style pocket knife every year, in every possible color and edition that it comes in! Kyle got new work boots, a Dewalt radio, gun cleaning kit, hair trimmer, Decision Points (by George Bush), and lots of other goodies.

After gift exchanging Saturday morning, we had a yummy breakfast (Strata and Breakfast Casserole, biscuits, and gravy). Then, we rested and enjoyed the goodies we had opened up earlier. I read through the basics of my camera and got to work snapping pictures. Saturday afternoon, we went to Kyle's paternal grandparents, where we ate some more. It was quite yummy & then it was onto the much-anticipated scavenger hunt. Kyle's grandmom (Nene) thinks all year about where she can hide $100 bills. There is 1 hidden for each of the grandkids & this year the adults even had theirs hidden. The "kids" are in 1 room & the adults were in another. Mine was rolled up & taped inside of a little decorative broomstick that was hanging on the wall. It took us about 25 minutes to find all of the hidden money...well done Nene! We're already looking forward to next year's hunt!

That night, the snow started falling & it became the first white Christmas in 47 was stunning. We got to just relax by the fire & watch it fall. Quite peaceful, if you ask me!

Christmas is by no means all about the gifts but we are soo blessed to be able to exchange a few with each other. Looking around at all of our "stuff" was a little overwhelming this year. Kyle said on Christmas morning "There are a lot of happy little kids right now!" and I couldn't help but respond "and some that didn't get to experience Santa." I pray that everyone felt the warmth of family & friends this past weekend and maybe even had a few pretty packages to open.

This morning on my way to work, a Christian radio station was having people call in to say "My Christmas was wonderful this year because...." I couldn't help but call to say "My Christmas was wonderful this year because it was my first one as a mom!!" The man excitedly told me congratulations & it put a smile on my face all morning.

Pictures are coming soon, as soon as I find a quiet moment to upload them. So...what was your favorite part of Christmas this year?

Until Next Time...
Love, Jen

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