Tenessee Christmas

Christmas season officially begins with the decorating of the tree. Shortly after, we blockaded the tree with the couch to prevent little miss curiosity from pulling it over. Every morning, Austin hurdled the couch to plug in the Christmas lights for the day.

Another important family tradition is the annual grandma picture with Santa Claus. Ruthie did not dig this tradition too much. Austin got into the spirit of it, informing Santa he wanted train tracks for Christmas.

We started (hopefully) a new tradition this year - a Christmas mailbox, where elves and mommy can deliver Christmas surprises all month long. This included Christmas stories, crafts, movies, decorations and treats. I didn't bother taking a picture of the mailbox because it was just a diaper box with one end pulled out (you can see it the picture below by Ruthie's table). In the future I hope we'll have a fun day decorating the new mailbox each year and anticipating the fun deliveries.

We celebrated this year in Tennessee. Thankfully, I wasn't pregnant this time, so we could all fully enjoy the trip. Before we left, we had a mini Christmas at home, opening a few family gifts that were too large to travel.
We arrived late on the 23rd, so before we knew it, it was Christmas! The kids lined up on the stairs Christmas morning ready to go. (Christmas PJs were supplied by Grandma Duffin). Some family members were still sleeping in (the thrill is lost in adulthood), but Oma, Opa and Hilary joined my little early risers. One of Anthony's gifts was Jazz tickets (really a gift to me too - we enjoyed watching them win that game against the Nuggets by the way). Everyone's stockings included some traditional items - fruit, m&ms (which I devoured), mini Baby Ruth's, and a bag of Cheetos (which Austin devoured).
Santa did his job well - Austin got his train tracks and Ruthie got a new puppy.

Later, when the rest of the family woke up (poor Amber had a stomach virus!), we opened family gifts. Tia Claire got the kids adorable Disney PJs, and Buzz Lightyear gear, plus a membership to the Childrens' Discovery Museum in Salt Lake! Ruthie got toys and books, Austin got an airport (one of his favorite toys still), I got a cash card which I am using to get a couple much needed massages and Anthony received some stylish new business apparel.
Other notable events included the traditional Christmas candlelight ceremony, a game night at the Barnes (bottom right above), the Gatlinburg aquarium (thanks Amber for planning that!), a lively religion discussion, a trip to the park, lots and lots of fun with cousins Olivia, Sophie, Rosie (Kerry's kids) and Henry (Amber's boy). Ruthie also became a savvy little traveler this trip.

Ruthie learned her first distinguishable word - "Henry"!
(Of course, 3 months later, she now has several good words)

1 comment:

Rachel B. said...

You're so good about going back to catch up. I always end up getting overwhelmed then just skipping it. So glad you had a non-pregnant trip to Tenessee this year. By the way, I still love waking up early for Christmas. Where's the fun in sleeping in? Guess what? I get to see you in a few weeks!!!!