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Monday, February 2, 2015

Prepping for Christmas

This is a MEGA picture heavy, long post. This happens every year. I get super behind on blogging and then basically rush through Christmas! 

Leading up to the holidays we have several traditions. This year we spread them out a lot better than we have in years past. We just had SO much going on in December (Britt's bday, Z and I going to Disney, our ski trip, plus Christmas!) that we had to fit things in when we could. 

In mid-November I was struggling with some PPD issues and decided I needed a victory and it was a good time to take the kids all out in public solo for the first time :) We went to Hobby Lobby and I had the kids each get to pick out their ornament for the year. I'm SO glad we went so early in November as there were TONS of ornaments to choose from and it worked out great! The whole little outing took about an hour and it gave me the "win" I was needing. We had a successful and fun outing!


 Britt picked a cupcake one :)

 Kye wanted an airplane 
 And each big kid picked an ornament for Tess for her tree :) 



Every year I like to make sure the kids get to see Santa. We used to go to our local jewelry store but then Santa got sick and no longer does it :( I really enjoy going to downtown Valdosta as the Santa there is really sweet and it's a fun event! This year the event fell on the night before Britt's birthday so there was no way we could make it work. Luckily downtown Hahira also had a tree lighting event with Santa! He wasn't as "authentic" of a Santa as I'd like, but he worked ;) 
 Kye was VERY excited and knew his list of three things :) 1. Crane 2. Bouncy Shoes 3. Nerf Gun. 



Britt refused to go near Santa. It's been a trend for her since she was little. She just doesn't like Santa (or the Easter Bunny) yet she does awesome with Disney characters? I didn't push it. I just don't think it's right to force her to go sit on a random mans lap? Right? I always want my kids to use their instincts and if she doesn't feel comfortable with a person, then she shouldn't be made to overlook her natural feelings of hesitation. Tess, however, was down for anything! :) 



Just like in 2013, Thanksgiving was later this year. Unlike last year though...I planned ahead :) We got our decorations out and went and cut down our Christmas tree the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. That way we didn't have so much crammed in with Britt's party being the weekend after Thanksgiving. I LOVE having our tree up and I LOVE nursing a baby under the Christmas lights so I really enjoyed the extra week and our tree still made it till New Years! The Saturday morning prior to Thanksgiving we got out all our Christmas stuff then after Tess nursed at 11 we headed to get our tree! 

 We went the day they opened so there were TONS to choose from!





 Haha Zach looks thrilled ;)
 Britt was super cute and kept insisting that she wanted a tiny tree

This was my FAVORITE tree we've ever had! It was shorter than usual. We got 6 ½ foot and it was really perfect. Our living room doesn't have a ton of space and I liked that it didn't overpower the room. It was so pretty!

 Kye was eager to help this year in cutting it down!





 Always has to copy Brother!
 Her hair was AWESOME that day!



 My Babies
(I love Tess's "hedgehog hair" and how it's totally attacking Kye's face)


 Classic haha!

 All the big kids wanted to do was RUN!





 After naps we decorated the tree! Both Kye and Britt had a great time picking out where to place the ornaments and loved getting to climb up on the stool!

 Tess enjoyed watching!



 I loved how they cuddled up and looked at Christmas books together

 First Christmas!




 We have a little tree in each of the kids bedrooms! 
 Kye got a new tree this year and we gave Tess his old one!
 We always love our hot chocolate and Christmas movie watching night after a day of decorating for the holidays 

 Tess's first time seeing tv!
 Proof of why we don't allow screen time for our babies! Look at her EYES! Ugh it bugs me!


 Daddy even made cookies!
Every year we go to Target and all pick out gifts for each other. Now that we have three kids we are having the girls choose a gift for Kye and Kye and Britt pick a gift for Tess and Tess and Kye pick a gift for Britt :) So each child will receive one present that's from all the siblings combined! Then all the kids together choose a gift for Mommy and for Daddy. We all end up with one present to open :) It was Tess's first trip to Target and she did GREAT! She's so chill and I love it :) I rarely take her in public so I liked all the attention from people saying how cute she was ;)
 Britt was thrilled. 

We also went to the Dollar Store that same day and went ahead and got our stocking gifts for each other. Each kid picked 4 presents for Mommy and 4 for Daddy and then they picked 8 for each other. We used to do 10 but cut it back a little because, even at the dollar store, that junk adds up! My goal for these outings is for our children to always appreciate the gift of giving and to learn to put thought and care into the gifts they give others. 


 As a special treat we ran through Steak and Shake and got dinner then let the kids eat in the car while we went to look at Christmas lights! Tess had her cat nap in the car seat so it really worked out well :)
Decorating Christmas cookies is my personal favorite tradition as it's something we did every year growing up. I love love love using my mom's recipe and I love eating the cookies too ;) We decorated them this year on the morning before the Justin Timberlake concert (told y'all it was a CRAZY Dec). It was a WAY better experience than last year when I was 9 weeks pregnant and had the flu ;) 


 Tess is a pro ;)



I was VERY impressed with how well the kids did! Kye is already old enough where he takes it seriously and tries to make them all "pretty" and Britt didn't do too bad either! We had a few spills but nothing major and she did a good job not licking her hands and getting a sticky mess everywhere. We did do several cookies just from the toppings she had spilled ha! I can remember my mom doing the same thing with my brother's mess :)




 The tradition we have is once everyone is done decorating we can pick one cookie to eat!

 Growing up my favorite part was eating the cookie dough so I saved some dough for each of us to enjoy as a special surprise
 Zach is so funny. I was going through all the pics to do this post and he took a TON of pictures of the cookies haha

 He was proud of the stockings he did ;)
After we did cookies I hopped in the car and went to Robyn's to head to Atlanta for the concert then the next morning I rushed home so I could get everything ready and loaded up and we could all go to Mema's house for her Christmas! 

Cute "First Christmas" Babies!


 All the Parker Cousins!!! SO precious!

We had a busy, but wonderfully fun, holiday season!

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