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It is winter break and it has been wonderful. I am seriously loving this time off. We had a really nice Christmas with family and now the kids have been playing with all their new toys and we have been busy getting the house in order. We still have so much to do since the move so I really needed this break.
It was kind of a cluster having the last day of work being the 23rd since we were having a party on Christmas Eve. I left work super early to go to the girls' Christmas party then had a hair appointment. I spent the rest of the night getting the house ready for the party.
Christmas Eve was actually a really fun day. Since we had done most of the cleaning and decorating done prior to that day I was able to really enjoy doing things with the kids. We did some baking, since I am not a great baker we went with the bagged stuff, I'm super classy like that. I used this recipe to make some Sugar Cookie M&M bars. We also made some chocolate chip cookies. It was really fun watching the kids get excited about helping. They are seriously so sweet.
I also made ziti like my Mom always did for her Christmas Eve parties. I actually got really sad while making it. I just kept thinking about how much she would have loved helping me get ready for the party and if I needed her to help she would have been right there. This year was the first year where it hit me hard on Christmas Eve that my parents were gone. The past 4 years since they passed away have been so crazy and now things have really calmed down enough to make me see the void in a lot of what we do. I try to use that to make these moments more meaningful but it can still be really hard. Ever since they died I have tried to look at how good things are for me despite losing them 9 days apart 4 years ago. I know that there are so many little things in life that aren't worth getting upset about or complaining about because in the end they don't matter. What matters are these precious moments with my kids and my husband. The moments with the people who matter most. I just always want holidays to be meaningful to my kids and memorable like they were for me when my parents were here. I always remember helping my Mom get ready for our Christmas Eve party and she would be cooking like crazy and going overboard. She would stress herself out so much but in the end everything turned out perfect. So all this to say that a simple moment of making ziti really brought me back to my parents and for whatever reason those moments make me feel like they are with me.
So after getting my ziti prepared for later and the kitchen cleaned up I got the kids bathed and I got ready. Ashlyn wanted to wear make up like mommy which I thought was so cute so I put a little eye shadow and lip stick on her. After her and Everly go to play in their room they come back in with lotion all over their faces. Little stinkers said they were putting more make up on. At least I could just rub it in.
Once it hit 5:30 we were all ready for our guests to arrive. My cousins from Ohio came with their adorably bald toddler Carter. I love seeing her because she reminds me of Everly with her bald little head. His parents, my Aunt Lillie and Uncle Dave, came too. Then the rest of the family came in. It was so nice seeing all the little cousins together. Ace was excited to see his cousin Colton who moved away last year. They are only about 6 months apart so they love when they get to play together. They were inseparable all night.
Most of the night Ashlyn wasn't feeling well (which is why she doesn't have a shirt on, I wasn't fighting that battle). She laid on the couch watching a movie and was very tired. I felt so bad for her. After my niece Valentina came over all the girls decided it was time to throw tantrums. That was super fun. We had reindeer food from the girls Christmas party at school so I got all the kids to go outside to throw that in the grass. It was a nice distraction for the moment but then the whining began so I had the kids decorate ugly sweater cookies from Trader Joes. They were pretty ugly and no one ate them but after that the night went much better. The kids opened presents and played the rest of the night. I love having family over for holidays so it was definitely a success.
After everyone left Branden and I got to work on putting the presents under the tree. It was a fun Christmas to buy for because they are each really into their own things. Everly is obsessed with baby dolls, Ashlyn loves Barbies and Ace is into Lego Dimensions. We also got Ace a bike and scooter since he outgrew his old bike. Ashlyn got a doll house and Everly a wooden baby carriage which she decided to carry all around the house.
Overall Christmas Eve was a really nice night. I will recap Christmas day later since this post is a lot longer than I expected.