This year we spent the week of Christmas at my family condo in San Clemente. We were so excited to see a sign posted "Santa Here 12/23 7pm" at one of the houses in the neighborhood. We missed our ward Christmas party this year, and we never made it over to the mall, so I was happy that we'd get a chance to snap some pics with Santa. We never got one with Aleks last year, which makes me sad because it was his first christmas! Aleks wasn't too happy about sitting on Santa's lap...but we got a pic anyway! These neighbors were really sweet, and Santa even gave a toy to each of the boys. They had cookies and treats to share, and fun decorations in their yard.
Aleks really loved looking at all the fun Christmas lights and decorations! Funny side story: When we walked up, the lady saw me with my boys and Aleks in the stroller, and said, "Oh! You finally got your girl!" LOL This is the first time I've had a stranger think that Aleks was a girl... She said it was the shoes... LOL They are red and black plaid - I guess they are girlie-looking?
On Christmas Eve, the boys built graham cracker houses...with all the icing I made for Jakob to take to school, but he never got to use it because he ended up being sick and missing his gingerbread party at school!
A closer look at Joshy's gingerbread fence :)
We had a lot of fun with this, and Jakob designed a very complicated house (no surprise!) but it ended up quite well with some help from mom :) He wanted to give up, and we had a nice little teaching moment about following through and finishing what you start. :) He has such an incredible talent for building things, Aunt Heather kept saying he should be an architect!
I love that he added the helicopter on the roof! When he was in preschool, Santa came in a helicopter...so this was a fun detail.
There was lots of time spent in PJs and game playing - as usual!
We had fun "Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra" Chinese food for Christmas Eve dinner with the Hanson family - Grama Jo-Jo, Ken & Bev, Nathan & Evaly, Uncle Todd, Aunt Heather and all the cousins. Then we dressed up the little kids to act out the Nativity story.
Our angel was getting sleepy :) Jakob played Joseph; McKell played Mary; Cody played Baby Jesus.
Carter and Kylie were shepherds, and Meg was the angel bringing glad tidings of great joy!
Joshy and Drew were the Wisemen bearing gifts for the babe.
Cody wasn't too happy to be part of this...and the kids were quite squirmy, so I didn't get a great shot of the whole group...but this will have to do!
After the Nativity, Joann read a really sweet poem that a friend sent her, called "I'm Spending Christmas With Jesus This Year" -- you can find it HERE. This was our first Christmas without Bruce, and it was such a touching message... While she read it, I couldn't help but think of all of the families who lost loved ones this year (Sandy Hook in particular), missing them and picturing them spending Christmas with the Savior. It was a tender moment when I noticed Jakob wiping his tears, and I know that we all felt the love and comfort and peace of our Heavenly Father in that moment.
Later the kids spent some fun time watching videos with Aunt Heather... and I styled Aleks's sweaty hair to look like he was from Whoville :)
Christmas morning was quiet, but fun. I made this sign to keep the kids out of the area where the gifts were - but they completely ignored it - as you can see there is a kid in the background! :) I love my obedient children.
Drew got his Christmas wish - Skylanders! Jakob finally got his own watch...he LOVES it!
Every year, Santa brings us tickets to Monster Jam... It's a fun tradition!!!!!!
Drinking and driving. Uh-Oh!
One can never have enough DS games, right?
After living in Southern California for 9 years, we decided it was finally time to get Disneyland passes! The boys are thrilled -- and so am I! We haven't been to Disneyland since Jakob was 4!!!
We can never get enough of the gorgeous scenery and the relaxing sound of the waves... I love the beach! Brad surprised me with this beautiful blue topaz necklace... He spoils me!
Drew, did you know you have a tiny Pikachu on your head?
Aleks is seriously in love with Elmo - and Sesame Street. I love how he's sticking out his tongue in concentration!!
I absolutely love that my kids love books. That is one thing we can never get enough of!! Joann put together these sweet frames holding a picture of Grampa, with foreign coins that he had collected for each of the grandkids. For some reason, Drew thought this was a cute face for practically all of the pictures he was in this year... Ahhh...5 year olds! Grama Betty knows that Drew needs practice tying his shoes, and sent this really fun book! We love it.
We had a wonderful time all week long...but these are pretty much the only pics I took... I enjoyed sleeping a lot, and lounging in PJs... It was a nice vacation! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well!