Christmas Extravaganza 2017

20171222_133400(0) our christmas

Merry Belated Christmas! The last four days have been jam packed with Christmas festivities around here. Lots of family time, tons of presents, much laughter, and the usual amount of meltdowns peppered in between every thing. We’ve been busy! It’s been great, but also a little bit exhausting. I love all of our yearly traditions, but I do wish we could spend more time at our own house with a little more down time. I guess that’s what the week after Christmas is for, though. Anyway! I’ll try to keep my explanations brief, but I wanted to share all my photos from all our Christmas celebrations.

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On Friday after school we had our family Christmas! Like I said in my last post, I like doing ours early when we (usually) get the boys at their best. This year everyone was a little short-tempered (everyone being mostly Caden and I) and we had to take a few breaks in between gifts. But we made it through.

IMG_3893 minifig

IMG_3902 sunflower seeds

IMG_3917 annie opens

Annie was a little hesitant about opening her presents, but she sure wanted it once the paper was off!

IMG_3926 groot poster

Shepard got Greg a Groot poster. Fortunately, Greg decided to hang it in Shepard’s room and not our family room. πŸ™‚

IMG_3940 shepard ornament

The ornament Shepard made me at school. I love it!

IMG_3948 seed shirt

IMG_3953 annie lounging

During one of our breaks.

IMG_3956 annie chip face

I love Annie’s face in this picture! Give me some chips!

IMG_3991 raggedy ann

Greg made me a Lego brick head Raggedy Ann! This is my favorite present.

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I laughed so hard when I opened it!

IMG_4002 necklace

Greg also managed to surprise me with this necklace I’ve been wanting. He usually has the very unfortunate luck of ordering me things that then arrive in the mailbox in their actual packaging. I’m pretty much never surprised.

IMG_4005 brick headz

Found this limited edition Brick Headz set at Target.

IMG_4017 sweatshirt

Now he can alternate sweatshirts. I don’t think he’s taken his gray sweatshirt off since October.

IMG_4019 bark box

I gave Annie a one month Bark Box, trying to see if the subscription would be worth it. The treats looked great, but the toys for the Christmas box were so ugly! And her “long lasting chew” lasted about thirty seconds.

After the present opening we just spent the night enjoying our gifts. I also got an Instant Pot, which I’m anxious to learn how to use. And a calendar, passenger seat protector for my car (for Annie), a couple of Willow Tree figurines from the boys, and a lot of coffee. In the evening we had our usual Friday night pizza.

20171223_092451 andrew birthday

On Saturday morning we went over to Greg’s parents’ to follow them to Oshkosh. We gave Andrew his belated birthday gifts first.

20171223_111643(0) pennys birthday cake

In Oshkosh, we attended Greg’s giant extended family party. I think there were about 50 people there this year. The grandchildren have been repopulating like crazy. 16 great-grandchildren in the last nine years. 15 of those, age 6 and younger! We also celebrated Grandma Penny’s 80th birthday with her favorite cake.

20171223_114308 shepard lego

The kids had a Secret Santa type exchange this year so they could take part in picking out gifts for one of their cousins. I know my kids really enjoyed picking individual gifts for their two matches. Shepard got this fun lego set from Natalie.

20171223_114515 caden art supply

And Caden got lots of fun art supplies from Reese. He was really excited!

20171223_123345 star wars socks

The highlight of the party is always the huge white elephant type gift exchange. This year’s theme was gifts that start with “S.” It’s definitely always a crap shoot on if you’re going to get something good or not. I personally think it’s a lot more fun when everyone actually brings something they think is a good gift. Some years that’s pretty rare. Greg was very happy with Star Wars lounge pants that he stole for the final time. I ended up with socks, skittles, a Santa hat, and silly putty. After the game Caden traded my socks for someone’s giant pack of spearmint gum.

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Hanging out after the gift exchange. When we got back to Beaver Dam, I went on home to take care of Annie and do some baking for Sunday.

IMG_4039 attempt family pic

Christmas Eve is always our really big day with present openings and meals with both families. It’s always fun to have so much excitement in one day, but this year I was kind of wishing we could have split it up somehow. I was SO tired by afternoon. It’d be nice to just give each family one full day with a little more relaxing and less rushing. But I’m not sure that’ll ever work with so many schedules to work around. At least every year it gets easier with the boys and them not needing to be on such a tight sleep schedule.

IMG_4044 brunch spread

We started with a big brunch at Noe’s.

IMG_4045 cinnamon braid

I need a better powdered sugar duster lol. It tasted okay. Most of the butter and cinnamon sugar leaked out overnight. It probably would have tasted better warm. I cooked it at home so it was cold by the time we ate.

IMG_4054 snowboard

Shepard was so excited about his snowboard! Even though the wind chill was like negative ten degrees, he spent at least an hour outside trying it out down the little hills in the yards. He’s pretty good at it! If there’s enough snow I’m going to take him to a real sledding hill later this week.

IMG_4057 hotel present

I could barely see Caden behind his present stack! This was a paper telling him they were going to WI Dells next month with Grandma and Grandpa.

IMG_4062 lego piece

Greg wrapped a single lego piece from a creation he made a few years ago for her and Melissa lost. She actually guessed what it was before she opened it, to everyone’s amazement.

IMG_4064 salad shooter

Salad Shooter. I use mine solely for cheese! But I think she’ll hopefully find some good uses for it!

IMG_4066 silhouette bracelet

My favorite gifts this year were silhouette bracelets of the boys (and Hudson for Brittany and my mom) from La Papier Studio.

IMG_4068 skyping

We had video chat present opening with Sarah, Alex, and his parents in New Jersey. We missed having them around this year, but I think it’s great they were able to at least spend it with his family.

I’m pretty sure our present opening took three hours! I got all kinds of awesome gifts! I got the final four chairs to match my work table I got last Christmas. That table has been like the greatest gift ever. I use it every single day for a million different purposes. But it’s amazing for sewing, which is its intended purpose. Anyway, I also got some new pots and pans, some awesome taco cookbooks, fun new makeup to try out, and lots of other fun things.

IMG_20171224_150822_815 sleepy hudson

In the early afternoon, I went back home with the car loaded with presents to get Annie for the second half of the day. Then I went back to pick everyone up and we headed to my parents’. Once again Hudson was sleeping when we got there! πŸ™ So I snuck in to peek on him. I used to HATE it when people did that with Caden because it was so impossible to get him to sleep in the first place. But I am now the annoying relative that does it too.

IMG_4071 wooden puzzles

These wooden puzzles were the first thing Caden opened in the morning and he worked on them all day.

IMG_4073 birthday wallet

We gave my dad his belated birthday present. A new wallet filled with gift cards to his favorite restaurants. It’s the first year I ever remember him not working on Christmas Eve! Because it was a Sunday and FedEx was closed…I think. We’re usually waiting for him to get home from work to get on with the present opening. This year it was Tyler who was working. But only till six, so it was fine.

IMG_20171224_152658_904 hudson selfie

Hudson woke up! Those eyes!!

20171224_153543 hudson coo

He loves his jumperoo!

20171224_153550 hudson giggle

20171224_154223 caden hudson

IMG_20171224_153745_036 annie hudson

20171224_163829 shrinky dinks

Working on some shrinky dinks.

IMG_20171224_155533_024 bw hudson

Tummy time! He’s so cute!

IMG_4092 reading time

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IMG_4100 reading time

IMG_4102 greg and hudson

IMG_4108 pizza braid

Time to bust out the snacks. My pizza braid tasted delicious!

20171224_181513 snacks galore

So many snacks! My mom has so many bowls!

IMG_4113 hudson bracelet

Once Tyler got home and settled we opened gifts! I made Brittany open her Hudson silhouette bracelet first.

IMG_4114 bracelet

And my mom had to open her three grandson bracelet at the same time. I really liked how they looked with three silhouettes. I’m kind of tempted to order one for myself with the boys and Annie as my third child. πŸ˜€

IMG_4125 annie at gate

Speaking of Annie…we had the room sort of gated off so Hudson could go on the floor safely. Annie had no problem jumping over the first gate. She’s much more agile than my mom’s dogs! After the taller board was up she just stood here looking sorrowful lol. I was literally close enough to keep my hand on her. But it wasn’t good enough. We opened it up after awhile and then she was content to go somewhere else and take a nap!

IMG_4127 third pack socks

My dad opening his third pair of socks in a row. That’s what he asked for!

IMG_4133 poor annie

Keeping Annie company.

IMG_4134 hudson's toys

Awesome mini versions of classic toys from Uncle Tyler.

IMG_4141 shepard street

My mom found this awesome sign at an antique store! On Timmy’s birthday we walked by Shepard St. in Milwaukee and Shepard thought it was so cool. Now he has his own sign!

IMG_4152 peanut butter sauce

Gigantic peanut butter sauce. I really want this for myself, but they only make the gigantic jars! I’m not ready to pull the plunge for myself, but I gifted it to him.

IMG_4157 octopus

We gave Hudson an octopus themed gift. This stuffed octopus is so cute, but way bigger than him!

IMG_20171224_202636_784 sleepy shepard

Shepard was getting so tired by the end of everything. He just kept laying on the floor about to fall asleep. Even though it was probably one of our earliest Christmas Eves, I was super tired too. And because it surprised us and snowed all day, we knew we still had to shovel when we got home, so we got out pretty quickly when gifts were over. It was lots of fun, though! I got many more great gifts. We’re pretty spoiled at Christmas!

IMG_20171224_211650_690 cookies

Caden was still awake when we got home. For what I think was the first time ever! So he arranged a tray of cookies and milk for Santa.

IMG_20171224_212956_278 cat pizza

While I was waiting for Caden to fall asleep and Greg was shoveling, I entertained myself by watching Jack sniff out his new cat pizza from Grandma. They’ve both been using the pizza as a bed today! So funny.

IMG_20171224_221649_658 santa came

Santa came! And then I could finally go to bed.

IMG_4164 christmas morning

Christmas morning! It was kind of an odd morning. Shepard said he was up at 4. Caden was up at 5:30. I went downstairs at 6. And the boys were much more interested in playing on their chromebooks than getting Greg up to open presents. I mean, they’ve already opened a million presents in the last few days. But it really bummed me out how little they seemed to care about the magic of Santa coming. It was kind of a rough morning for me. My kids are growing up. And maybe it’s a good thing they don’t care about presents that much? It’s just hard not to take it personally because that’s what I’m good at and that’s what I love doing.

IMG_4172 christmas tree

Once everyone was finally up we opened stockings.

20171225_083352 ring stack

In my stocking was a Lisa Leonard Passage ring that I’ve been coveting for years! I didn’t plan on wearing it with my wedding ring stack, but it’s the only finger it properly fits on. I think it looks pretty nice all together! Maybe a little bit over the top, but I still love them. Santa even surprised me with an unexpected bracelet and pair of earrings in my stocking!

IMG_4186 two switches

This was the biggest box, so Shepard was thinking there were not one, but TWO Nintendo Switches in it. Sorry, kid! He didn’t say anything about the lack of an air hockey table, so I don’t think he was overly disappointed.

IMG_4207 snes classic

No Nintendo Switch, but they did get an SNES Classic! That won as their favorite gift, of course. Pretty much haven’t played with anything else since opening it.

IMG_4212 annie

She seemed to enjoy her first Christmas with us! Maybe a little bit confused and probably a little sad that she hasn’t been to the dog park or on any long walks. But there’s been a lot of excitement to keep her entertained.

IMG_4235 giant nerf

Shepard LOVED this thing.

IMG_20171225_095350_873 happy jack

Jack was so happy after he played with his new toys! He hasn’t had any new toys since we got Annie and she ate them all. He’s always loved playing with toys, so I feel bad I haven’t gotten him new ones in nine months.

IMG_20171225_120830_604 stockings

Late morning we went back to Noe’s to open stockings and have lunch. Santa brings some stuffed stockings at their house!

20171225_142855 grandma stockings

And then we stopped at my parents’ again for more stockings and more food and more shrinky dink making. I think we can guess what Shepard wants for his birthday!

20171225_144233 sitting with dogs

Dogs galore.

IMG_20171225_102708_263 book stacks

Back at home I had to document all of our new books! I had a ton of books on Caden’s wish list and he received quite a few of them! Plus a bunch from us. He’s pretty hard to buy for. He doesn’t play with toys. He specifically told us he didn’t want any legos this year. And he never once said a single thing he did want. He reads whenever he’s not allowed to play games, so books it is! I’m really excited about my own stack of books! I’m going to be making so many tacos! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

IMG_20171225_170800_260 reading in bed

I finished Christmas spending two hours in bed reading a great Christmas book with the cats snuggling around me and Annie on the floor next to me.

Overall, it was a great Christmas! Now onto the week of aftermath!! I spent the morning clearance shopping for my annual wrapping paper stock up. I had many great intentions of cleaning and organizing the rest of the day, but really didn’t do much of anything besides editing all these photos! Tomorrow will hopefully be more productive! I know the rest of break will just fly by and then the pressure to get back to workΒ  will start to overwhelm me. So I need to make this week count! And do a lot of resting in between.

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas weekend!

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Author: Amy Noe

I'm a maker, a writer, a reader, a wife, and a mom. I love pursuing my creative passions!

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