A Norman Rockwell Christmas

Yesterday we had Christmas Part I. We are going to spend Christmas day with my family, and we didn’t want to take all their presents with us. Adam also pointed out that it would be really cruel to give them these great toys and then pack up and leave for a week. Our other reason for doing it early was so our helper, Liz could enjoy Christmas with our family, since she will be with her own family for the holidays.
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/If you could have watched through our window, you would have seen a Norman Rockwell Christmas. I don’t think yesterday could have gone any better, and by the end of the day, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. We just had a beautiful day as a family. This may be to make up for the previous two Christmases. The first one Adam and I were up all night with fussy, premature babies. Last year we all had the flu. Next year may be a disaster, but this year was perfect.
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/Caisen’s first Christmas.
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/We got the kids up at their normal time, though Adam and I had been up for a little while prepping what we couldn’t do the night before. We brought the kids down the stairs and through the doorway in the family room. The first thing they noticed was that the barrier in front of the TV was gone and immediately started turning it on and off. Daddy took care of that by unplugging it. Then they noticed all the pretty packages.
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/We picked out a present for each of them to open. The boys each opened some new play food, fruits and vegetables, and Brinlee opened a collection of books on DVD. We inspected the different pieces of food and the various shows they got before moving on to the next round of presents, new pots and pans and a cash register. We looked at those for a while before opening some Caisen presents, a special C ornament (everyone else in the family has their initial on the tree) and a superman shirt.
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/Caisen’s new Superman shirt.
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/Daddy and Brinlee opening a present.
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/Caisen opening his ornament.
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/Then we moved on to the main event, their new kitchen. We wrapped each of the components separately. Brinlee opened the dishwasher, Sawyer opened the sink/stove, Caisen opened the microwave, and Kimball opened the refrigerator. The washing machine isn’t here yet.
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/Opening the kitchen.
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/Caisen opening the microwave.
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/We love the kitchen!
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/The kitchen is a huge hit. They absolutely love it (and since I know I’ll get emails about where I got it, it’s by Pintoy, it’s wooden, and I bought it at hearthsong.com and bellacor.com). They played with it every second they could. All day Sawyer had his pan and lid and spoon on the stove or in the microwave saying, “Mommy cooking.” There are lots of doors to open and shelves to pull out. They loved it so much we had a hard time getting them to eat breakfast, which was a present itself.
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/They played with the kitchen all day long.
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/Caisen and mommy hanging his C ornament.
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/On our Christmas Eve I made homemade cinnamon rolls out of spelt (half whole spelt and half white spelt). They were fabulous, but daddy was the real hero. I had never made cinnamon rolls before, but found a recipe that is supposed to be like Cinnabon. I heated my milk and put it in the metal mixing bowl, and then I saw the measurement for yeast was a packet. Mine is in a jar, so I spent a few minutes looking for how much a packet of yeast has. I think the milk cooled too much, because the dough never rose. I finally just rolled out the dough and made them. We tried letting them rise in the pan, but they never budged. I figured we’d have dense rolls. Christmas morning daddy got up and put them in the oven at 175 with a pan of water, and they rose beautifully. Daddy saved Christmas breakfast! Of course, he was highly motivated; he really wanted those rolls, and they were delicious. The boys gobbled them up, but our discriminating eater, Brinlee, wouldn’t touch them. She had her normal breakfast of smoothie and toast.
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/Mommy got a few wonderful presents. Daddy got her a peapod necklace with a single pea in it to represent Caisen. Last Christmas Grandma bought me a peapod necklace with three peas in it to represent Brinlee, Kimball and Sawyer, and now I have a charm for all of my beautiful children. The whole family got a present of a new mixer, which I put to good use the night before making the cinnamon rolls and bread.
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/Daddy did a great job picking out presents for mommy! He always does.
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/Brinlee eating a caramel Hershey’s Kiss.
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/Liz and the kids made me a great apron with their handprints on it.
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/Liz also got us the cutest ornaments. I just love ornaments that mean something to us, and these are a perfect addition to our collection.
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/Liz helping Caisen hang his special ornament on the tree.
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/Liz and Kimball hang his special ornament.
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/Sawyer found the perfect spot for his ornament.
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/Brinlee hanging her special ornament.
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/After breakfast the kids played some more and were so excited they didn’t even want lunch, which is unusual. We put them down for an early nap because we had an afternoon activity. We’re pretty sure they never slept. We got them up and headed to the botanical garden. We got to take a family picture with Santa. They are still scared of Santa, so we didn’t even attempt to get them on his lap. Sawyer and Caisen sat with him, but Brinlee and Kimball weren’t having it. In fact, Brinlee wouldn’t take her eyes off of him. Adam had to hold her head toward the camera to get a picture.
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/This Santa is actually the Granddad to triplets in our local group.
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/Then we went to ride on the train.
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/Yes, all seven of us squeezed into the little coal car. Did they put us in the coal car because they think we’re bad?
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/We love train rides!
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/Caisen is having fun. No, really.
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/The kids had such a blast that they chanted, “Again! Again!” So Daddy bought more tickets and we went again. Liz had had enough closeness and volunteered to sit this one out and take pictures of us as we went around the path.
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/Liz got this great shot of the train as we went around.
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/After our two train rides, we headed over to the children’s garden where the kids spotted the tunnels. They love tunnels!
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/Since most tunnels have to be crawled through, they got down on their hands and knees to crawl through this one.
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/When they had had their fill of tunnels, they headed over to the slide, which happens to be a big tunnel.
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/They went down this slide over and over again, on their bums, their bellies, face first, feet first, sideways, just about any way you can go down a slide.
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/Going down together.
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/It was starting to get late and cold, so we headed to Starbucks for some hot chocolate. We took it home and warmed ourselves up. We had dinner, played with the kitchen, had a bath, played some more and went to bed.

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