Christmas Eve

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Every year we head to Mrs. Charlotte’s house first thing in the morning on the 24th. We stay there all day and spend the night, spending Christmas morning together. When I first entered the family I thought it was a super odd tradition to ALL spend the night at Mrs. Charlotte’s like that. But I’ve adjusted to it and we have found a great balance of big family time as well as carving out our own little traditions for our own family to enjoy together 🙂

Britt took her nap at 9:00 and we got going on the fun! Mrs. Charlotte found these fun gingerbread cookies for the kids to decorate so we did that first. 

Since the frosting looked pretty intense with food coloring, all the kids went shirtless 😉

Always trying to outshine us all!

I love all of these with G-Mama!

Don’t Kye and Mrs Charlotte look a lot alike here?!?!

After Britt woke from her nap we headed over to Little Mama’s and Big Daddy’s house for lunch!

The older kids all played and had fun and I focused on keeping Britt entertained. I’m READY for Casey and Jordan to bust out some kids for Britt to have a friend 🙂 I’m sure once they get older though that she and Payton will be close. 2ish years apart isn’t very many, just when they are little! Britt had a great time with all the toys and especially climbing up and down Big Daddy and Little Mama’s step…here’s a video! 

It was a nice, casual lunch and we had some extra time so I thought it was a great opportunity to get some pictures! How blessed are our children to have such great bonds with their great grandparents???

This is SUCH a good picture!

Can’t forget Brad 🙂

Little Mama was so sweet with Britt

After lunch we put the kids down early for naps so we could head out for the football game. Once they woke up from naps we didn’t really have anything planned to entertain them…we decided that next year each of us could be in charge of an activity! Courtney was thinking she’d being some kind of ornament for them to decorate, I like the idea of decorating some plates or something, and Casey was thinking she could bring stuff to have a treasure hunt. With preschoolers they get bored kinda fast and need more activities to keep them going! 

Britt was totally happy just playing with toys all afternoon 🙂

The big kids ended up watching a movie simply because we couldn’t come up with anything else for them to do!

Jordan is seriously SO sweet with our children…gonna be a good daddy!

We thought it’d be fun to write letters to Santa

Our family letter!

Reading a book while waiting on dinner to finish up

Mr. Rusty (aka Mr Technology…) found an app on his Ipad where we could track Santa around the world! It provided a couple minutes of entertainment 😉

Bath Time

(I promise the water was clean…strange brown tint though?)


Haha Casey’s always posin’

Bath time was quick…splashing got pretty out of hand fast!

I opted not to put Britt in her Christmas pjs…I was too scared she’d leak through her diaper or something in the night!

After baths each child had a little cup of hot cocoa to drink while Mrs. Charlotte read The Night Before Christmas

Check out ALL the stockings!

While reading the book we heard Santa’s sleigh bells!!! They sounded very close so we knew we had to hurry!!! I think it’s HILARIOUS how Kye doesn’t even react…he was too focused on his cocoa 😉

One more check on Santa’s progress

Before going to bed we had to get our Santa cookies set up and put out our magic reindeer food

Kye was so sweet to let his cousins share!

Our cookies, some milk, and ALL the letters!

We put Britt to bed but let the older kids watch Frosty The Snowman together before getting tucked in

This is what happens when I leave my camera unattended 😉

Once the kids were down for the night we got busy with our traditional gingerbread house decorating competition. This year the houses weren’t already assembled…it took us FOREVER just to get them together. And some of us never could have it happen 😉

At least the frosting tasted good haha

My poor house

Courtney, duh, had hers together in no time

Enjoying quality time with my husband!

My finished product 😉

It was Jordan’s first year with us and it was HILARIOUS watching him trying to put together his house. He and Zach are SO competitive and take everything SO seriously so he was getting mega annoyed about it. Which made it even funnier!

“Land Here” clever!

I thought my little tree and sunshine was cute…no one else agreed 🙁

Yay! Jordan’s stayed together for a few minutes!



Jordans hahahaha

Zach annoys us all b/c his is always PERFECT

Time to do the judging!

Last place! Better get used to it bud!

Mr. Rusty was worn out from the football game or something b/c he skipped 4th place and told me and Trey that we tied for 3rd

Courtney, aka Golden Child, got second

3 years in a row for Zach as the winner

And somehow Casey also tied for 3rd? with Jolee…so like 4 of us got 3rd place haha

We all drank hot chocolate and had some good laughs before getting in the bed. I was OUT of it for some reason that day. Like I was SO exhausted!!! Zach and I decided I must have been sick and my body was just fighting it or something?!?! I was ready to get in the bed when the kids went down but held out to hang out with everyone. We still got to sleep at a decent time but Zach and I slept TERRIBLE that night. I guess we are getting picky about how we sleep? We couldn’t get comfortable…hearing Kye in the room with us kept waking us up…my back and foot were hurting….it was a mess of a night! We decided next year we’re gonna have to take some sleeping pills or something!!!

This year they put their Christmas tree in the foyer to allow for more space in the living room. The foyer was literally OVERFLOWING with presents!!!! 

Here are our Christmas Eve’s of years past:






  1. crissy
    January 30, 2013 / 12:49 am

    I like Casey's the best

  2. Anonymous
    January 30, 2013 / 5:36 am

    This is a topic that's close to my heart… Take care! Where are your contact details though?Look at my web blog local Seo marketing

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Christmas Eve

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I was pretty nervous about the holidays this year. We go and do a TON during Christmas and I didn’t know how it would all go with a baby who wasn’t even three weeks old yet and a mommy who surely wasn’t through all the “fun” postpartum healing and hormones. Zach and I agreed that the kids come first. We were going to do whatever it took to make sure Brittlynn was able to eat and sleep when needed (at this point she was falling into her own schedule beautifully, which I’ll discuss more in the weekly summary) and that WE got the rest WE needed. We skipped the big Parker dinner on the 23rd because it simply didn’t make sense to load her in the car and take her just to turn around and come back to feed her again. I suggested letting Kye spend the night at Mrs. Charlotte’s like we usually do but having us three come back to the house. However, Zach is hardcore about that tradition (even though all we’d be missing was the sleep) so we packed up all our stuff to spend Brittlynn’s first night away from home!

Kye and I have a tradition together of doing our countdown calendar and getting a picture on the last day before Christmas 🙂 Excited for them to take turns putting one up each day this next Christmas!!!

While I was nervous about how all the activities would go, once Brittlynn fell into her schedule it worked out so perfectly with the things everyone already had planned. We got up on the 24th and I fed her while Zach gave Kye breakfast then we used that nap to all get ready and loaded up to go. As soon as she woke up we tossed her in the car and headed over to Mrs. Charlotte’s (they live 25 min away so you gotta plan for that trip!). When we got there I nursed her while we all decorated our ginger bread houses. Usually it’s pretty stiff competition but this year the kids were old enough to be involved so it turned more into helping them and attempting to prevent them from eating all the candy…we weren’t very successful on that one!

Payton and Kye

Zach was still trying to be all hardcore about his house…c’mon Daddy let Kye help!

When she got done feeding Daddy got to hold her and Kye and Mommy got to decorate

Our family!

Everyone had planned to go to Little Mama’s for lunch then come back to the house for a bit and go back to Little Mama’s that afternoon to exchange gifts. That was too much for us, even though they live literally around the corner from each other. We opted out of the lunch so our kids could both get solid naps (before his nap Kye wanted to play outside…here’s a video of his batting skills). It worked out great and after Brittlynn’s 1:00 feeding I was able to go out and watch a little bit of the annual Parker football game.

OUT! What I love to see 😉

After both Kye and Brittlynn woke up we got ready to go to Little Mama’s to do the gift exchange with the big family. I pumped and took her a bottle (her second time eating from one, that will also be mentioned in the weekly post!). We got over there and Mr. Rusty, of course, wanted to feed it to her. She downed 4 ounces in like 3 min flat!!!

Kids got to open their gifts

And Big Daddy got to hold Brittlynn for the first time

This is them “closing” their eyes for a surprise gift haha

Look at Kye’s hand obviously not covering his eyes!

Aunt Karen got them a wagon! Fun!

This picture of Casey reminds me of her in high school for some reason

The older kids wanted to play outside so we took Brittlynn out to enjoy the pretty weather!

Zach and I had to go back to put her down for her nap (we were there for right around an hour and that was it…just enough time to do the gift exchanges) but Kye was having so much fun in the leaves with Colt that he stayed longer to play

Bath time!

We gave them an early bath and early dinner so there would be time to watch a Christmas movie together. I brought our cookies and letter to Santa from home. Kye’s letter was precious…and yes, I asked him what he wanted to say to Santa and he told me what to write. Here’s what it says:

Dear Santa: Ho! Ho! Ho! And ROAR from Kye! Kye as been a good boy. Please bring him Lightning McQueen, a choo choo and a choo choo track. Please bring Brittlynn and giraffe and bring Sadie a Lightning McQueen car. Mommy and Daddy would like an alligator this year! Enjoy your cookies! We love you!

On a pallet on the floor to watch the classic “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”

Reading The Night Before Christmas
(and you can tell Brad was LOVING it hahahahaha)

so sweet with G-Mama

I crack up at this for two reasons:
1. It was like 7:00 and all the kids wanted to eat bananas
2. During the movie Mrs. Charlotte said randomly “oh no problems!” and we all couldn’t stop laughing about it…it looks like she’s saying it in this pic 😉

Banana heaven

Colt really wanted to hold Brittlynn before bed

Ready for Santa to come!!!

All the kids were in bed by like 7:30 (Colt takes awhile to go to sleep and even he was asleep by like 8:45) so us adults were able to enjoy some quality time before going to bed. I nursed Britt while we enjoyed hot cocoa and cookies and talked a lot. Mr. Rusty, Mrs. Charlotte and Courtney  finally looked at Brittlynn’s birth pictures (I’m telling you they are not a very tech savvy family haha) and Zach and I shared Hallie’s Christmas story with everyone. She was such a perfect Christmas miracle and a wonderful reminder of what the season is all about! A wonderful way to end a fun (and a little bit crazy) day 🙂

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Christmas Eve

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Our days surrounding Christmas are INSANE!!! It’s go go go. Mom arrived the afternoon of the 23rd then that evening we went to the BIG Parker dinner where ALL the cousins, and aunts, and uncles gather up…even distant ones. It was a little too loud for Kye so I didn’t actually get to see many people and since it started at 7 we left pretty quickly as Kye needed to be in bed on time!

The morning of the 24th we rushed to get out the door as soon as Kye was done eating. We headed over to Mrs. Charlotte’s and woke up all Zach’s cousins (they camped out the night before on Big Daddy’s property) to play the annual Parker Football Game. It was FREEZING but I was a good wife and watched the whole thing (and took pictures, and video taped, and kept the time…). Of course Zach’s team won!

us women kept watch over the kids (Kye was napping inside) and enjoyed talking

After the football game we headed inside to enjoy the day together as a family. Zach’s tradition growing up was that ALL the grandchildren spent the night (with their parents of course) at Little Mama and Big Daddy’s house on the 24th and did Christmas all together on the 25th. Well now that Colt, Payton, and Kye are in the picture we split up and now we all stay at Mrs. Charlotte’s house on the 24th! I know it’s kinda strange but I’ve totally accepted it and know that I won’t have Christmas eve at my OWN house until Kye has babies. So this year we all spent the day with Mrs. Charlotte and it was a lot of fun!

While Courtney’s kids slept we got to enjoy Kye!


After Kye went down for his afternoon nap it was Gingerbread House time! The competition was pretty intense. We each had our own house and had to stay in the dining room then the parents were the judges of the finished products. Zach told me I should add water to my frosting to make it thinner…of course I listened to him and I ended up with a melty, gooey, MESS. It was impossible to work with!

Brad was hilarious…when he got there the first thing he said was “mmm candy, can I eat it?”

NOTHING would stick to mine and all the icing was just oozing off onto the table and floor. I finally gave up trying and just went with it. I decided it was a Love Shack and that the lovers made it so hot that the snow all melted!!!


After we all finished (Zach worked for almost 2 HOURS on his…next year we’re setting a time limit for sure!) the judges came in. We assigned each house a letter so they wouldn’t know whose was whose.

Brad and I tied for 5th and 4th places (we said it was rigged that the blood relatives got top 3 haha), Casey got 3rd, Courtney got 2nd (which wasn’t fair b/c she totally copied the design on the box) and OF COURSE Zach won. Gah so annoying!!!

Zach, Mom, Kye and I went home for a couple hours to let the dogs out to play and so I could go ahead and cook everything for our big Christmas supper the next night. We rushed back over to Mrs. Charlotte’s so Kye could eat and go to bed. Everyone else was at Little Mama and Big Daddy’s for a big Christmas Eve Dinner but we just couldn’t make it. We try to do it all but sometimes it’s not possible! It was a nice moment just Zach, Mom, Kye and I though when we put Kye to sleep. We wanted to tell him The Night Before Christmas Story but none of us knew the whole thing so we ended up each saying a line and making up our own Christmas poem. It was pretty cute.

I am the type of person that was 100% done shopping at the beginning of December and done wrapping it all by the 16th…well the Parkers do things a little differently. Mrs. Charlotte was still calling me on the 23rd asking for gift ideas and they were still wrapping the night of the 24th! We all drank hot chocolate, put together big items and wrapped presents until about 11:00ish when we finally went to bed! It was a long, but fun day!

Thankfully Santa’s elves put together all Santa’s gifts because this car from G-Mama and Big Papa for Kye was a pain!!

all ready for Christmas morning!

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