Christmas Holidays 2022

I’m combining both our Core Crew Christmas as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alllll into one big post!

Every year we celebrate Core Crew Christmas on Dec 23rd and this was our last year having our special day in our home.

On the 22nd Zach played in the annual Cat Creek Classic Golf Tournament with some of his fam. The kids and I had a snuggle session and watched The Santa Claus together in our bed.

Growing up we ate pizza for dinner on Christmas Eve so we continue the tradition on our little Christmas Eve night! We also always re-wear our Christmas pjs from the year prior for our Core Crew Christmas – Kye’s were just slightly too small 😉

Last Core Cre Christmas in our home!

I like to gift the kids a little something on the night of the 22nd that they can use (new blankets, cups, etc) and did robes this year! We always go riding in the van to look at Christmas lights in our pjs with hot chocolate and any stuffed animals or blankets they want to bring. It gets us in that magical Christmas spirit!

The kids also sleep with their bedroom Christmas tree lit (if they want to). The girls slept together and Lily joined in for the sleepover!

We kicked off the morning with the annual Pickle Hunt. We hide a pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it gets a “pickle present” (which is always a game!). Britt won this year!

We also loved seeing Hermey and Snowflake and how they hit pickles on trees too!

We pass out all the gifts and read the tags as we go. Once everyone has their pile we take turns opening! I like the day to go as slowly as possible. We take breaks. We listen to Christmas songs. We soak it allll in!

Tess moved her pile like 5 times to make sure she could see everyone and Britt’s spot is always the fireplace!

Kye is such a sweet gift-giver. We take the kids to Target every year and they pick out ONE sibling gift together for each other. He really wanted to get Tess a doll scooter because she loves to ride hers.

I love seeing the joy on each of their faces as they open their gifts (THAT is MY gift!). I also love seeing their joy watching each other – I love Britt’s face watching Tess’s as she opened the present Britt got for her.

It was such a wonderful morning – that got us a bit in our feels too as we thought about it being the LAST in our house. Tess was sentimental about it and I just love the ornament I found that looks like our family to remember our last Christmas here!

This year was a shift with Kye. I’m so thankful for last year as it was THE BEST with his gift reactions and I’ll remember that forever.

I struggled a lot this year – I worried about the things I got for him and I felt like he didn’t get truly excited about anything which was really hard on my mama heart.

Naturally, I didn’t say anything to him about this and recognize it’s not about ME! It’s about the kids – he had a great Christmas, just wasn’t the same as that childlike Christmas joy. He’s growing up!

It’s such a gift to have SO MANY kids. Tess bought me a gift from her little school store and she wanted to write the tag for me like I do for them. The tag she wrote said “to my hard working Mommy.” So sweet and made my morning!

Britt LOVES watching the FSU games with Zach and has wanted to get to watch a game JUST the two of them. With FSU playing in a bowl game Zach wrapped up a gift for he of a daddy-daughter bowl night where she stays up for the whole game and they watch together.

She was in tears with excitement!

The best moment of my morning was probably when Spear opened a little dr kit I’d gotten him and looked right at me and said “Thank you, Mommy.”

It means so much to me that the kids always want to save the placemats I make them each year until near the end of our gift opening for the big reveal! It’s always a special moment.

Kye lost his water bottle on the first day of school so when he opened another one he instantly said “oh no, I’m just gonna lose this.”

If you’ve ever wondered why I highly value FUN – seriously my dad’s middle name should be FUN! It’s always been the lense through which he sees the world – fun is the top priority for him. He wrote “fun, funest, enjoy life, having fun, fun” in my card!

Zach always makes a BIG brunch on Core Crew Christmas. As Zach cooks the kids start digging in their gifts. Kye surprised Zach and put together his nerf storage all by himself!

We also had one last surprise – our annual Christmas trip. We had planned to do a Disney Cruise in 2020 and finallllly it’s HAPPENING!

Surprised the kids with a whole family trip for the Disney Wish in April! We had to get 2 staterooms to fit our whole fam and decided to do it this year because Britt will be 11 which means she can go to the kids club and the preteen club and Kye will be 14 so he can go in both the preteen and teen clubs!

Couldn’t leave Lily out!

At naptime Britt, Zach and I decided to go over to the new house to check up on the progress!

We go home and got back to being lazy and playing and just enjoying our day together. Spear was so excited to watch his new Paw Patrol movie and cut up some snacks with his knife.

Another favorite part of the day – decorating Christmas cookies! This year we got smart and used a lazy susan for all the toppings and sprinkles!

I think this Core Crew Christmas will always stand out to me because we had SO MUCH fun playing Gang Beasts as a family. It’s this hilarious video game and we all just laughed and laughed playing together!

My top 10 pics from the morning!

We had THE coldest Christmas! We woke up on the 24th to 20 degree temps and a hard freeze and chill advisory.

The kids said their goodbyes to Hermey and Snowflake and then we headed over to Big Daddy’s and Little Mama’s old house (which is currently where Casey and her fam are living) for what was to be the last Christmas breakfast their together. Once Casey’s fam moves into their new home Big Daddy’s house will be a rental unit!

After our breakfast we went over to Big Papa and G-Mama’s for the first Christmas in their new home! They moved in in October and were eager to have us all together to celebrate Christmas as a big fam.

This year we also had a special visitor, Nemo. He was staying with Casey’s fam for a bit and joined us for all the Christmas fun. He was precious and fit right in and the kids all loved having him!

Kicked things off with teams doing gingerbread houses! It was the first year Spear skipped all naps and got to be part of all the cousin craziness – he was SO PUMPED!

Every year G-Mama reads The Night Before Christmas and Big Papa checks on Santa’s location before the kids get tucked snug in their beds. This year the girls got the bunks and the boys got the bedroom.

Britt is in adult sizing now so she had a blast helping me pick out our family pajamas. We decided to wear matching ones and she wanted the “believe in magic” shirts for us since “we’re the magical ones”

We woke up the next morning ready and excited to see that SANTA CAME!

Spear is such a wonderful Christmas age. It’s the best! He had NO expectations. I had NO worries about him being disappointed. He was just pure joy!

While I’m not personally a big fan of the open-concept houses – it was SO nice that the fully open space allowed us all to fit so smoothly on Christmas morning! We had so much space and it felt like we were able to be more together too.

It was also so nice because usually Mrs Charlotte is up walking around all morning making sure she can see everything and she was able to just sit in her chair and see it all!

The adults open their gifts the night of the 24th so actual Christmas morning is just the kids and Big Papa + GMama opening. The adult siblings draw names for the evening exchange and the cousins draw names for Christmas morning!

We do majority of our gift opening at Core Crew Christmas. Santa comes to G-Mama’s and Mommy and Daddy bring a few gifts for each kid there as well. Then I also always give the kids one last present that is just “from Mommy.” It’s always a surprise. Something that they didn’t ask for. Sometimes something they don’t even know exists!

I gifted Britt a spirit jersey, Spear a Disney Cruise toy boat (best gift EVER!), Kye a WWII strategy game I hardcore researched to find as well as a LEGO, and Tess a wooden heart box she and I saw together at a craft show as well as a necklace she and I saw on a girl’s night out.

Seeing KYE’S joy over his gift (it’s in the photos above) really meant the world to me as he was truly so surprised and SO excited!!!

Kye’s birthday is in March and isn’t near any school breaks. Skiing is his FAVORITE thing and it’s the way he and Zach really bond the best together.

So when we came home to change for worship services we had an early birthday surprise. We just started singing happy birthday and let the kids figure out who we were singing to!

Instead of doing a Disney birthday trip for Kye, he and Zach went skiing over winter break in Feb to NC! Zach and his dad go on an annual golf trip together for Zach’s birthday so I loved the idea of starting father-son trips for Zach and Kye to really build upon their bond.

With Christmas falling on a Sunday we went over to Uncle Steven’s and Aunt Debbie’s house to have a family worship service before coming back home to enjoy all the Christmas fun!

As soon as we walked back in the door everyone changed back into Christmas pjs – except Spear because he was too excited to play!

We also had the sweetest package arrive from the travel planner who helped us plan the Starcruiser trip – she got us the coolest ornament!

I have an annual Christmas tradition of taking an EPIC nap. It’s always amazing. I started falling asleep in the living room at 12:45 then I crashed in the bed until almost 5 pm!

When I woke up Zach and Tess had almost completed one of her legos she’d gotten from Santa! And while I’d been napping Kye and Zach set up a second tv in the living room so they could both play video games at the same time.

Sweet Spear was so sad for Christmas to end. He kept asking to make more cookies and to use his kinetic sand as the dough. When I tucked him in that night he asked how long it would be until Christmas time again.

We ended the night staying up late playing Gang Beasts again and cracking up together. Even Spear had so much fun with it and my heart was just beyond full!

I caught up on my sleep and slept in until 9 on the 26th! More Lego fun was going down and Zach said Spear did the best he’s ever done sitting down through the whole project.

Together with our Christmas traditions also comes our Feast Mode Beast Mode dinner! Zach makes an epic feast and we use our Christmas china.

We usually do this on the night of the 27th but bumped it up to the 26th for Kye as he was leaving for Exposure Youth Camp!

Kye did the ultimate middle schooler move by drinking out of his new slushee cup while wearing shorts and a t-shirt without shoes in freezing cold temps (28 degrees!) and insisting he wasn’t cold.

We had a really lovely Christmas season. Overall it was just a middle of the road year for my personally. It has so many wonderful, special moments that I will always cherish.

Every year can’t be the best year ever because if it was then there wouldn’t be ANY best years! Britt, Tess and Spear all did say it was their best yet but Kye said he felt a bit of a sadness this year. It was sad to not feel that same excitement he used to feel in years past.

I could feel that struggle coming from him and it was tough for me too! I tried to encourage him by letting him know that the fact that he noticed the shift and that he didn’t LIKE the way the shift felt shows he’ll be able to get it back!

He’s also so blessed with three younger siblings who help keep that Christmas joy going for longer and it’ll make him such a super fun Daddy someday too 🙂

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