My brother and sis-in-law arrived on Tuesday night before Christmas to stay with us for the holidays. My parents arrived the next day. So, with a house full of Hardwick's, we were able to spend lost of quality time together. Ellie was excited to see everyone and get all the attention. She definitely wanted to show off her latest tricks! Before my parents arrived, Jonathan and Jennifer got a little time of their own with Ellie and she was very happy to see them. She has really taken a liking to my brother and would want to go to him if he was in the room or she would smile a cheesy smile at him. Once my parents arrived, we all went out to a yummy dinner at Rafferty's and then called it a night. The next day, we hung out and watched Christmas movies, did a grocery run and had BBQ for dinner. Dad spent lots of time playing with Ellie and her new kitchen.
On Friday, Christmas Eve, we treated that like our traditional Christmas Day since my brother had to leave that night to get back for work. So, the morning started out with Breakfast Casserole and Monkey Bread, followed by presents around the tree with Jonathan and Jennifer. Then, we all got ready and went out to a late lunch at Cracker Barrel for our "Christmas Meal" instead of cooking it twice. I had to go to the church for worship team practice that afternoon so the family met up with me at church for the 5pm Christmas Eve service. Jonathan and Jennifer headed out after church and then we went home with my parents and had Italian Beef sandwiches for dinner. Then, Santa came to our house for the first time...
Christmas morning, we woke Ellie up and gave her the morning "sippy cup" of milk and as soon as she finished, she noticed Santa's visit and what he left. The excitement began! She went through all of her toys and checked out each new book. Then, she couldn't wait to try out her new walker/rider. We all opened our stockings and then ate leftovers for breakfast, followed by the opening of presents between the 5 of us. Ellie stocked up (and mommy hid some of the new toys to bring out later for sanity). Naptime for Ellie rolled around and we all took the time to get ready for the rest of the day. Mom and I hit the kitchen and got the ham and casseroles going. The Cragwall Clan came over about 2pm for our meal and we feasted on lots of yummy food! We all went upstairs and exchanged presents between the Cragwall's and then finished our visit with desserts! After all that, we all CRASHED!! It was great to host everyone in our new home this year and to be able to celebrate with both sides of our family at one time was amazing. The snow started to fall that evening and ended up giving us a white "day after Christmas when you shop for after Christmas deals regardless if it snows at 7am".
To end this post, I find it only appropriate to use my Mom's quote of the year that we all got on an ornament to remember: "It's not about the presents...it's about HIS presence!"