As of this afternoon, it's officially over. Stockings were taken down, tree was put away, and other decorations were stashed into boxes until next Christmas. I always dread this day because it officially means that another Christmas is behind us, not to mention the house looks so empty! But ... it was time and 2013 was a wonderful holiday season!
The days leading up to Christmas, Cookie (our Elf on the Shelf) visited us, surprising us with different antics and sometimes treats. Abby loved it just as much as last year and of course Levi jumped right in. It didn't take him long and he was looking for Cookie each morning right along big sis. We visited Santa a few times ... each trip a happy one for everybody! Abby climbed right into his lap to tell him exactly what she wanted and Levi sat still, taking it all in, yet smiling the whole time.
As much as we love Cookie & Santa, we also spent a lot of time remembering the real reason for the season. Abby is always full of questions, but the true Christmas story is falling into place for her. There is no denying that her little heart is full of love for Jesus.
Christmas morning was perfect. Abby excitedly woke up (not too early!) and rushed into our room. I heard her stop by the tree and say "Oh. My. Goodness." and then she proceeded to come and wake us up. We took our time opening gifts, teaching the kids to take turns and watch everyone open their gifts. Even stopped midway to take a breakfast break and then continued right back into the fun. Sipping on hot cocoa, staying in pajamas until lunch, and playing with new toys made for a memorable morning. :) Friends of ours came over in the afternoon for a nice dinner and the kids enjoyed some playtime, so much that all the kids crashed here for a bit! It was so nice to spend that time together.
The day after Christmas, the family started rolling in. YAY! First up, the Lamb Family. I was so excited to see them and have them here. Having the house full of family is what the holidays are all about and I had been counting down the days for weeks! A couple days later, YaYa came to join in the fun. And fun it was ... We were busy shopping, baking, swimming, playing pool, playing board games, going to Busch Gardens, the beach, the movies .... Wow. So much fun!
Then it was time for them to head back home and more family arrive. Chris, Melinda, and the girls came for some more fun! Abby was thrilled to see her cousins that she hadn't seen in over a year! They played ... and played... and played some more. It was like they hadn't even been apart. So sweet! We soaked up some sunshine in the pool for a couple days, headed to Hundsader Farms one morning, and went to the aquarium. Loads of fun!
As much as I dislike "packing" Christmas away until next year, I'm so thankful that many memories were made, with such amazing friends and family. Love you all! xoxo