Monday, December 29, 2014

"Momma, I wish it could be Christmas every day!"

Me too son, me too. I had the best Christmas I can remember having in a long time. We did our normal routine of parties but it all just seemed easier and happier this year. We always do Christmas Eve breakfast at my mom's house. I love this tradition- it is a break from the normal holiday foods and it is almost like being at my mom's on Christmas morning again. My mom got everyone Silver Dollar City season passes this year!! We are so excited to take off and ride coasters any time we want! (Also, Nathan races at a track close to Branson, so he and I will be sneaking over on the way home and ride the big coasters) :) Noah got the Jurassic Park Trilogy - he was thrilled! Ryan got "Fwozen" dolls and loved them!

Our next tradition came on Christmas Eve evening - for as long as I can remember we have went to Nathan's grandparents house for dinner. We buy gifts for all the kids under 16 and everyone over 16 plays Dirty Santa. Everyone has been playing too nice with Dirty Santa in the past - but this year it was good and dirty :) We ended up with some Pyrex mixing bowls (that we just mentioned needing last week) and a gift card to Cracker Barrel - one of my favorites!

We did not get home and get the kids in bed until 10:00 and Noah wasn't asleep until midnight! So, Santa didn't get to stop by until late! Nathan had a headache and ended up asleep soon so Momma had to play Santa alone - but truth be told I like controlling that part - I have a vision in my head and really want it to match that :) Noah had strict instructions to come to our room once he woke up and luckily for us that wasn't until 8:00! We all layed in bed together and talked for about 15 minutes about if we thought Santa had came and what he brought and most importantly we wished Jesus happy birthday! Then we woke Ryan up (she will sleep until at least 9:00 on the weekend) and all ran downstairs. Noah immediately ran to his Jurassic Park house and said "I can't believe I got it"!  I am SO glad Nathan is crafty and was able to make it - it turned out perfect! (I did paint the roof and draw the sign - but everything else was all him!) Noah screamed or yelled "yes" or "just what I wanted" for every gift he opened. Ryan ran over and grabbed her Lambie from Doc McStuffins first and then sat down and just watched Noah open all of his gifts. She really didn't care about opening any gifts this year - just was not excited. We finally got her talked into opening all her stuff but it took at least 30 minutes! Nathan and I opened our gifts last - we both did good :) A few things off our lists and some surprises :)

Nathan then cooked us all breakfast and my dad came over to open his gifts from us and see what all the kids got (they opened his gifts that morning too). Then we played with all the toys and Ryan napped (of course). That evening we went to Nathan's parents house to exchange gifts and have dinner with his parents and brother's family. Noah got a dinosaur excavation kit and Ryan got a toy four wheeler. They also got perfect gifts from Uncle Brandon and Aunt Whitney!

Usually I am ready to un-decorate and get the house back to normal - but this year I really didn't want to! I love Christmas and everything that goes along with it. I feel bad for those who do not enjoy it and cannot get that feeling I get this time of year. Noah totally has it already - he likes listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and decorating the house. Ryan is getting there and poor Nathan has learned to like it tolerate it with a smile :) We did take all the decorations down and the house is back to normal - and it looks a little sad. Christmas as a kid was great - but Christmas as a parent is amazing. To see their eyes light up when they experience Christmas magic is so awesome. I just hope that our kids have good Christmas memories like Nathan and I do.

Monday, December 15, 2014

1st Annual Gunn Holiday!

We decided to start a new tradition this year with the Gunn side of the family. My dad only has 2 siblings that are still with us and they live in the St. Louis area and one niece and her family that live close to us. So, for the most part my dad always comes to my moms for all the holidays (my parents co-parent/co-grandparent very well). I got the idea that my dad needed to have his own party around the holidays to see what little side of that family we have in this area that we do not get to see nearly enough. My brother Jeremy and his wife Emily were gracious enough to host the party and they went above and beyond. Their new house is so spacious and very kid friendly so it was perfect!

They had coloring tables and a bounce house set up in the garage, a swingset, trampoline, and playhouse outside and a large playroom inside. I barely saw Noah after we walked in the door - he buddied up with his cousin Marley and they were inseparable the rest of the night! Ryan made her rounds everywhere but wasn't going to go anywhere without Momma :) Noah was the same way at this age so I know her constantly wanting me with her is only temporary so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

My dad brought lots of old pictures to share and told lots of stories on us all (some of which are not true - I swear I did not wear mismatching converse shoes as a child - he is crazy). We had great food (chili, chicken chili, white beans, ham, cheeseball, cakes and cookies and visited for hours. Then we all went to the Fayetteville square to look at the Christmas lights.

Noah and his new BFF cousin Marley!

My beautiful cousin Sydney :)
The kids loved the lights and the music - Noah even had to stop and dance for a little while :) We ended our evening with a pony ride :) It was great visiting with everyone and just being together - no presents, no big plans - just visiting and letting the cousins play together. I can't wait to do it all again next year and I hope we can get more family here next year!

Dancin' fools :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One of the best days...

I just love it when we have one of those days where everything seems to fall into place perfectly. That happened for us over the weekend. We decided to drive up the mountain to Byrd's restaurant for lunch. (Glad we did because they closed the next day for the season and we had no idea) The drive was beautiful and the kids were in such good moods and had us laughing the whole way there. During the drive we talked about what our most memorable Christmas presents were and which present was our favorite of all time.

Once we got there Nathan's Aunt and Uncle just happened to be there eating also so we got to visit with them some too and they even surprised us and bought our lunch! The view at that restaurant is amazing and the food was great!

We then went home and watched some Christmas movies while Ryan napped. Then it was Christmas Parade time! I remember loving parades as a kid - then for the past few years they have just been ok for me. But now the kids are at a great age for them and they made it so much fun! Noah said his favorite part was watching the cars run over the horse poop after the horses went by. He thought it was hilarious! Ryan loved all the lights and Christmas trees. The parade did have 3 Santas though - luckily we played it off with Noah and he didn't ask too many questions.

Patiently waiting on the parade to start

She had 4 suckers during the parade :)

Getting lots of candy from cousin Sarah :)

After the parade we went to eat "chip and dip" as Noah calls it at the Mexican restaurant and home to watch a movie with Nathan once the kids were in bed. Then we just laid in bed and talked until 1:00 a.m. It was just one of those really good days.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cause that's the way things happen on the Polar Express!

One of our favorite Christmas movies is the Polar Express so when I saw a local fundraiser for a train ride on the Polar Express we HAD to do it. We went back and forth on whether or not to take Ryan on a 2 hour train ride, but she has really grown a lot lately and is getting a lot easier to travel with. I am so glad we took her along - it looks like our days of having to leave her behind for things is coming to an end am I am so glad!

Ready to go to the train!
We decided not to tell Noah until we got to the train. We did this for a few reasons - the surprise factor of course, but also I learned a long time ago not to tell Noah about things we plan to do that are out of my control - we have had a few disappointments for things getting cancelled and I swore not to do that again. They told us to be there at 10:15 to pick up tickets because the train would be boarded and leaving at 11:00. So, we got there at 10:00 and the train wasn't there yet so I sat with the kids in the car and Nathan went and got the tickets. We didn't want to take the kids near the depot in case someone said anything about where we were going and ruined the surprise. Well, 2 hours later the train finally arrived. It sounds worse than it was really - luckily the kids were amazing and just played and Nathan went and got them Happy Meals and we had a picnic in the grass while we waited.

All aboard!

Noah was so excited about his ticket!

Once the train pulled in we took Noah over to it and told him the surprise - he was very excited! He finally got to know why he and Ryan were in their pajamas all day :) We got all loaded up and headed out! There were carolers, an elf read The Night Before Christmas, we helped the elves with a snowball fight and race, we watched a live reenactment of the First Christmas, had cookies and hot chocolate, learned the story  behind candy canes and enjoyed a few of those too, and Santa came by and sat with each kid and talked to them - it was SO fun!

Reading the Night Before Christmas

This was all of our first ride on a real train - I loved that we were able to share this first together as a family. The scenery was beautiful and the kids were awesome! I believe we have found a new family tradition!

Throwing snowballs with the elves :)

Naughty list for sure!

Ryan was scared in the tunnel so Noah was comforting her :)

When all the lights went out in the tunnel :)

Best Buds :)