Many Christmases

This year Ben and I celebrated many Christmases. We had Christmas with our immediate families (2), Christmas with the extended families (4), Christmas with friends and a brunch with our church pals. The brunch was after the New Year so we had a bit of a break before that one.

The Friday before Christmas we got together with the DeRuischers to exchange gifts. Addison and Erin were more than happy to help everyone open their presents. 
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IMG_3529Erin got a paint book that has dried paint on the top of each page so it isn’t as messy yet still easy enough for her to do by herself.

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Addison’s pattern block setIMG_3534 IMG_3537James playing with his new toy.

Ben got some hang out time with James and they made lots of funny faces at the camera while the girls played with their new toys!
IMG_3540On Sunday we got together with Ben’s family for lunch after church. On Monday, Christmas Eve, we opened gifts with Ben’s family. This was the first year in awhile that we’ve all been together. This is a traditional picture taken in order of oldest to youngest.

IMG_3561 IMG_3563I made Bill and Alyssa a book with as many wedding pictures as I could fit (plus a few additional pages I bought because I couldn’t cut out more!).

On Christmas morning we got together once more to open our stockings. Then Ben and I made the long trek to my hometown to celebrate Christmas with my family. It was the first time Ben spent Christmas day with my family!

IMG_3564Later that day we celebrated Christmas with my family!
IMG_3565 IMG_3568Yup, we were quite spoiled by both families!
IMG_3569My parents got spoiled too!
IMG_3570Our lil’ peanut got a personalized gift complete with baby’s first ornament!
IMG_3574One of the gifts we bought my dad!
IMG_3575The aftermath.
IMG_3576Great-Grandma Margaret was mad about the mess we made and tried to get the boys to clean it up right away. Instead she got covered in wrapping paper.
IMG_3577My handsome brother and his beautiful bride-to-be.

I tend to ignore my camera, cell phone and computer during family times like this. I know I should take more pictures but I love not worrying about it and just enjoying the time spent with my family. We don’t get enough time together with three of the five siblings on Ben’s side of the family living out of state and us living 8 hours away from my family so every moment together was spent focusing on family – not technology! So that’s it for the pictures!

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Our Little Christmas

Ben and I had our own little Christmas. Ben brought home dinner from a local restaurant and after eating together we decided to have our Christmas. We opened a few gifts and enjoyed our evening together. We celebrated Christmas in a funny way this year. We opened one gift each week for three weeks! It was super fun. We were so impatient and pretty much exchanged gifts shortly after they were bought. We opened the last few gifts two days before Christmas Eve – the last night we had to ourselves before the craziness of Christmas began.

This was the aftermath!

IMG_3504And here are the goodies! This is what we exchanged over three weeks.
IMG_3505I gave Ben enough X-box points to get the expansion pack to one of his favorite games, Skyrim, his second brand new video game, Assassins Creed and a beer ornament. Baby gave daddy a Star Wars ABC book for them to read together. Ben gave me a Willow Tree pregnancy figure, a glass water bottle (that was the one gift I requested!), Fun. Some Nights CD and a pregnancy ornament.

Every year since we started dating in 2006 we have exchanged ornaments. We typically buy an ornament that represents the past year. Past ornaments include Mickey Mouse because I called Ben mouse before we started dating, a lime green lobster because I tried seafood for the first time, a tomato because we started our first little garden of three tomato plants and a teacher ornament the year I graduated college.

These are the ornaments that were exchanged this year.

IMG_3507We write the year and the reason for giving the ornament on the back of the ornament. The bottom of Ben’s ornament says Ben’s Brewery and represents Ben’s year of brewing multiple batches of beer and teaching numerous other people how to brew. My ornament has the year on the back and on the purse it says Best Present Ever.

We will continue this tradition with our children and buy them an ornament that reflects our past year together.

Ben came up with some pretty unique gift tags this year! I loved what he wrote!

IMG_3509 - Copy (2)I am part of a Facebook group with a group of women who are all due in April. A lot of abbreviations are used and DH is one of the most common ones. DH stands for Dear Husband. Ben picked up on this and used the abbreviation on a present. Totally made my day!

Ben has made me breakfast in bed before so I returned the favor the next morning and made him breakfast in bed. I attempted to make a few fun pancakes and while my talents aren’t up to par with Ben’s – at least you can tell what I attempted to make!
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A heart, baby and ornament.. haha I tried! I will keep practicing!

That was how we spent our little Christmas together with our growing family! I can’t wait to see what our Christmas looks like together next year!

Evolution of a Christmas Tree

 

For the last two years we have picked out and bought a real Christmas tree from a local grocery store. This year because Ben is pals with the workers they give us $5 off our Christmas tree. Ben picked it out last year and I picked out the Christmas tree this year – it was a little on the big side.

Step 1: Clear out a space for your gigantic tree and get the tr
ee stand ready.IMG_3401Step 2: Get the tree off the car top. 
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Step 3: Bring the tree inside with supervision from your brother-in-law and wife. 
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IMG_3407Step 4: Put the tree in the tree stand.

IMG_3409Step 5: Make sure you have enough lights to fill the entire tree.
IMG_3425Step 6: Run to Meijer and pick up more lights.

Step 7: Get out the box of ornaments and start decorating!
IMG_3432Ben was so excited that have bought and wrapped my presents early this year. He stuck this one for me under the tree before we even finished decorating the tree.
IMG_3435Ben working hard to find the perfect home for all the ornaments.
IMG_3436My belly came in handy this year as I opened up presents on it and straightened tissue paper using the bump.
IMG_3440Ben took lots of pictures of me and baby decorating the tree.
IMG_3444Da bump!
IMG_3445Our tree!!! I was absolutely in love with our tree this year!
IMG_3449Blurry picture of our tree with some presents under it.
IMG_3498Before I separated and packed up our gifts for the various Christmas parties we attended I took a few pictures to show all the goodies under our trI wrapped the presents for GR folks in this wrapping paper.

IMG_3501And Menominee folks got the blue wrapping paper.
IMG_3502By Christmas Eve our tree was looking quite bare again.
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Our presents will sit under the tree for a few days so we can show my family what we received and then all our new gifts will find a home in our home!
I think decorating our Christmas tree is just as exciting as opening up gifts with our family! For Ben and I it was the first time I really felt like Ben and I were our own little family.