We thought for sure this year's Christmas would be more relaxed, but the truth is that Noah and I don't know how to do "relaxed."
We started the holiday preparations a week before Christmas by pulling up the carpet in the living room and laying a new wood floor (by "We" I of course mean Noah). Saturday, Noah sanded the floor all day and could barely stand up when he finished. During that time, I took the kids to the Vincent family Christmas sing along, which was super fun--I had to drag Gabby out of the door because she was having so much fun with Anouk. That night, Noah and I stained the wood a beautiful walnut color that I'm loving, then we sanded over it and re-stained it because we did it wrong the first time (poor Noah). Sunday was Christmas Eve of course, which we spent with my dad and family. The kids opened all their presents from that side of the family and got totally spoiled--Gabby is always super grateful and excited about everything she gets, which makes giving to her a real blast.
Gabby had a hard time getting to sleep because she was so excited (a first for Gabby). She told me she couldn't sleep because she wanted to hear Santa's sleigh, so I got the bell she got on the Polar Express, went into the kitchen and rang it while Noah beat on the ceiling with a broom--she was ecstatic and went to sleep shortly after. Noah and I got to bed at 3:30 AM due to all of the preparations (we hadn't wrapped any presents until that night and we had to set up the tree all over again because we moved it to the basement so it wouldn't mess up the new floor).
Christmas morning, the kids woke up at 8 AM. We wanted the excitement to be prolonged, so we started out the morning by putting the baby Jesus in his manger and reading the Christmas story in Luke 2. After that, I made breakfast and we ate together as a family. Following breakfast, the kids lined up on the stairs and posed for a picture.
This is Gabby's first glimpse of all the presents--there were none under the tree until after she fell asleep Christmas Eve. Both of the kids got more than they could imagine, we probably went a little over-board but it was so fun because Gabby was excited through it all (until her lack of sleep caught up to her at about 2 in the afternoon). For more pictures, you can visit Flickr.