Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in East Texas

We spent the weekend after Christmas in East Texas at Wade's Mom & Dad's house.  We had a great time, as usual!

As soon as everyone had gotten settled on Friday night, we opened gifts.  All of the boys got a headlamp in their stockings.  Owen was HILARIOUS chasing his light on the floor.  Oh my gracious, we laughed and laughed at that crazy boy trying to catch his light.  :)

 Drew is in a "As Seen on TV" phase.  He was so excited to get a Seat Belt Buddy.
I love Owen's face when he opened his LeapPad.

 Makinley and I swaddled Owen in his new pirate blanket.  Ha!  Can we all pause and have a moment of silence for our beloved Miracle Blanket???  I miss swaddling my tiny baby.  :(

 Clayton could not wait to ride his RipRider 360.  He strapped on his headlamp and did 360 degree spins in the dark.  ;)
 On Saturday morning, Morgan ended up with a lap full of cousins.
 Mamaw with 6 out of her 16 great-grandchildren
We played outside for the majority of the day on Saturday.  Makinley brought her new unicycle and rode it all over the place.  Quite impressive!
 C alternated between his RipRider and his Ripstik.

 Drew was pretty stoked about his new dinosaur helmet.
 Clayton decided to give Mak's unicycle a try.  He learned pretty quick that it isn't nearly as easy as Makinley made it look.  ;)
 Drew got Magna-Tiles, and they are so much fun!  We built a pretty great castle together.
 Makinley got some baby snuggles before we all parted ways on Sunday.  Mak & O are so cute together!
We had a great time at our East Texas Christmas!  Thanks for having us, Marsha & Terry!

Nick the Elf

Our elf, Nick, was such a funny little fellow this year.  We were gone quite a bit, so we didn't get to wake up to his antics as often as usual.  He made up for quantity with quality, though.  The boys loved waking up to find where Nick was hiding.  :)

Snap, Nick, Pop!

  He painted on the wall and blamed Clay-boy.
 He gave the boys a subtle clue about our surprise SoCal trip.
 When we came home from California, silly Nick had toilet papered our Christmas tree and was hanging out in a toilet paper roll on the tree.  Ha!
 On Christmas Eve morning he left a picture of the "Carpenter Quack Pack" and was wearing a beard.
(As a sidenote, why does Owen look totally normal in a full beard???  Clayton and Drew look strange to me, but Owen's beard suits him somehow.  So funny!)
The boys were sad to see Nick leave for another year.  :(  We'll miss you, Nick!  Thanks for adding so much laughter to our December!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Carpenter Christmas

This year, Wade & I had the privilege of hosting the Carpenter Christmas at our house on December 26th.  We were so glad that all of the family was willing to come to our neck of the woods and celebrate with us.  I'm so, so grateful that I married into this fun family!

The Carpenter Clan
It took several tries with the self timer to get this one.  The outtakes are pretty hilarious.  ;)

 O thinks that Doug is hilarious!
 G and Granddaddy with all of their great-grands (ages 11 months up to 12 years).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Morning 2013

It was a very Merry Christmas 2013 at the Carpenter Casa!  We spent the whole day at home - just the five of us.  I loved every minute with my bunch of crazies.  ;)

The boys woke up in shifts - Clayton first, Drew second, and Owen last.  They wake up in that order every, single morning.  It makes Christmas morning fun for Wade & I, though.  We get to see each kiddo enjoy their gifts individually. 

Clayton was pretty excited to see that Santa had been VERY kind to him.  :)

Drew was so stinkin' cute when he woke up.  He walked down the stairs and stopped dead in his tracks.  Then he said, "My mind is officially exploded."  Ha!  Such a cutie pie, that Drew is.

 This boy is cuh-razy about Lego mini-figures.  He went straight to work putting together the ones in his stocking.

Owie was pretty excited about the My Little Ponies that were in his stocking.  Ha!  He loves to play with Sadie Bug's ponies, so he asked Santa for some of his own.  I guess that Santa listened.  :)

Wade made a super yummy egg casserole and berry strata for breakfast.  Mmmmm.... so good!  The boys also got reindeer and snowman donuts. 
After a few hours of play, Daddy took Clayton and Owen out to try out their new outdoor presents.  Drew stayed inside and played with inside toys.
 Clayton figured out his Ripstik pretty quick.
After a busy month of travel, it was nice to have a day to relax at home with my little family.  We hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas 2013 as well!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Christmas Eve... such a fun day filled with anticipation and celebration! 

We started our day with making cookies for Santa.  We used store bought dough, because it was easier.  And sometimes I just need to take the easy route.  :)

The boys didn't seem to mind.

I love Christmas Eve service!  It is always my favorite part of Christmas.  There is nothing better than reflecting on the incarnation of Christ!  Being still and letting the magnitude of that miracle really sink in fills my heart with such joy!  Without that sweet baby, there would be no perfect sacrifice for my sins - no cross, no tomb, no resurrection, no salvation.  If Christ hadn't put on flesh and walked this Earth, I wouldn't have the assurance that an eternity in Heaven with my Savior is my future.  That is what Christmas means to me - celebrating the birth that changed my life for all eternity.  There's something about that moment when the lights are dimmed, the candles are lit, and every voice is singing Silent Night...  It takes my breath away every year!

We were so excited that some of our sweet friends were able to join us for Christmas Eve service this year.  Rob, Monica, Carlos, Katy, and Avery all came over for dinner and then we went to the 8:00 candlelight service.  Having our friends with us made the night even more special!  We are so grateful for our neighbors that have become dear friends!   

Katy, Me, & Monica -  Love these girls!
Thankfully, our friends were full of grace for our wiggly 2 year old.  My, oh my, Owen could not sit still for love nor money.  It wasn't exactly a Silent Night with that little Buddy on the pew.  Ha!  I learned that no matter how many activities you bring, getting a 2 year old to sit through an hour long service is asking a lot.  :) 

There was a really sweet moment, though, in the service where Owen reached over and held Mr. Rob's hand.  He sat perfectly still for several minutes (the only time that he sat still all night) and just held Rob's hand.  Rob & Monica lost their sweet, pre-teen son to MPS 3 years ago.  I could tell that, for a moment, Rob was remembering his son as a 2 year old, and he was smiling from ear-to-ear.  It moved me to see our kind, gentle friend that has experienced such tremendous heartbreak feel true joy because our little boy wanted to sit and hold his hand.  It was probably my favorite moment of Christmas.  :)

In December, I wrap all of our Christmas books in wrapping paper and the boys open one each night.  There are two books that I mark with "24th" to be opened on Christmas Eve.  The boys are always excited to open The Night Before Christmas and The First Christmas.  Our copy of The Night Before Christmas was a gift from Wade's Aunt Kim at our Christmas themed engagement party in December 1999.  Such a fun keepsake! 

Since Clayton and Owen got to open our last two books, Drew got to hang our last Jesse tree ornament.  Three jobs and three boys - the math worked out just right.  ;)

After reading our books and doing our devotional, the boys got to open their Christmas pjs.
The boys said goodbye to our jolly ole elf, Nick...
 Donned their Christmas jammies...
 Sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn...

Then, "the children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their head."  :)