the first Christmas with Reid!

Its about time I jotted down some memories of Christmas this year! So much has already happened since Christmas that its taking me a minute to remember my favorite parts of this Christmas. Actually, one of my favorite parts of Christmas has become the Christmas pajama photo in front of the tree. Taking the photo is not my favorite (it took me four different nights to get last year's picture!) but there's always at least one picture that turns out well and I really love pulling out the photos from past years and adding to them. It took quite a few attempts this year to get a picture where both boys were actually looking at the camera with a semblance of a smile but we did it! We snapped a few in their matching red sweaters on Christmas Eve and then again in their pajamas the next morning. Reid's wearing the same sweater that Jake wore on his first Christmas Eve and so when we were at the mall a few weeks back and I saw a very similar one in Jake's size, I had to get it (in a 4T, might I add, because that boy is stretching out quick!)

^Not a headlock, but a quick catch of a falling baby...maybe. ;)

Christmas Eve is such a special night to me. I love attending the service at church and having the boys with us. It feels so sacred and holy; the calm before the storm that is opening presents the following morning. For me its easy to forget about the miracle that is Jesus' birth in the midst of unwrapping presents, but on Christmas Eve I can feel that sense of anticipation and excitement building over the gifts under the tree and its a small glimpse into how much I hope and wait for Jesus to come back and rescue our broken world finally and completely.

This year I decided to make a special dinner after the church service, just for our family. I cook all the time but rarely do I set the table with cloth napkins and placemats or use nice dishes. So I planned a dinner of steak, green beans, sweet potato casserole (made in the crockpot and ridiculously easy and delicious!) and rolls. I set out candlesticks that I have actually never used since we got them as a wedding gift and we enjoyed a candlelit dinner as a family. And it was so fun! I may start a new tradition of a slightly fancy Christmas Eve dinner in the years to come. 

And after dinner, the Christmas jammies! Jake was thrilled to see dinosaurs with Christmas hats on his pajamas.

Below is the face Jake makes whenever we ask him to make a goofy face. He gets this spacey look on his face and blinks a bunch of times and we all crack up...and then we get a genuine smile. ;)

This photo is my favorite and it was a total accident. Reid started to fall over and Jake simply caught him. 

The following morning, we took our time opening gifts. I was a little worried we'd have to rush through opening gifts in order to make it to church on time but we finished with time to spare...and we were actually on time since I was able to get ready without interruption, thanks to the new toys. ;)

^Those blurry little hands were so much more entranced with the wrapping paper than with his new book! But no worries, Jake spent a few minutes flipping through the book by himself. I love this age, when he takes his time enjoying each gift before opening another one.

I took Jake to the store a few weeks ago to pick out a gift for Reid and with just a little leading from me, he decided on this activity cube. Its great for the stage Reid is in right now--sitting up on his own with only a few falls now and then.

Jake got quite a few games this year! The fishing game is a favorite that one of our babysitters, Miss Peg, always brings with her. Deric also picked out MouseTrap and Chutes and Ladders, and they've played the games quite a few times together since Christmas. Deric's so great at choosing meaningful gifts for both me and the boys. He got the games for Jake so they could play them together, and he found me some of the softest tee shirts because he knows I love them, plus another coloring book and The Magnolia Story. He also stuffs everyone's stockings full of chocolate (except Reid's-- next year, buddy!)

Jake the astronaut! Deric and I tried to think of gifts that Jake doesn't have already--as in, no more trucks/trains/vehicles of any kind--and he has no costumes. (Or very many board games.) So we found this costume for all of $20 and couldn't pass it up. Jake loves this space station book we have and now he wears the costume (or just the helmet, or just the gloves) while he's pretending to be an astronaut. I love to see him dressed up and running around the house!

I'm having trouble tracking down more of the photos from Christmas morning but the gist of it is in these few pictures. I love giving gifts to my family and seeing the joy on their faces but of course, they are without a doubt my favorite gifts! 

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