Our Christmastime

Sunday, December 28, 2014

We made our way to Pocahontas Monday after John got off work.  I had a few last minute gifts to pick up before heading out of town, so John dropped the girls and I off at The Landing.  It had been raining, but stopped just before we got out.  The girls and I held hands and walked the entire length of The Landing.  The ambiance was perfect.....lights, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, the fountains, and my two big girls.  If you know Ava, you know she skips everywhere she goes.  We were holding hands and at one point she looked up at me, still skipping, and with the biggest melt your heart smile and her sweetest voice said, "Merry Christmas, Mommy!"

Time, please slow down.  In that moment, I was all too aware time is simply flying by.  My heart exploded with joy and ached with pain all at the same time.  Parenting is beautiful, y'all.  Babies are sweetness. 

We made it into Pocahontas around 10:00 that night.  I was so glad we went ahead and drove in so we could enjoy our Tuesday, without having to rush around and make the drive.  Instead, we stayed in our pj's the majority of the day, watched Christmas movies, ran a few errands, made candy, and prepared some things for Christmas Eve dinner. 

Christmas Eve Eve Christmas Charades

"That's it!  You guessed it!"

Papaw home for lunch....we're still in our jammies! 

Oh the secret treasures hidden behind these doors every Christmas.

Sausage Ball Makers

Reece's Peanut Butter Cookies....a childhood favorite of mine.

On Christmas Eve morning, I do a North Pole Breakfast.  It's kind of a send off for our Elves and just another family tradition.  Anna Claire woke up at 5:00 am with her Gigi so she entirely messed up my planning and setup for breakfast (since it's a surprise and normally set up for when they wake up).  Luckily, she went to take a morning nap around 9:00 am and Ava was still asleep.  I was able to throw something together for when they woke up.  It was slightly a makeshift breakfast and full of sweets, candy, and Christmas junk food.  But honestly, it's what they would rather have anyway.  ;-)

Morning nap.

Oh they sugar.  #motheroftheyear

Santa's Magic Key is left on our Advent Tree

Christmas Eve was so relaxed.  There was a ton of cooking, watching more Christmas movies, playing games, waiting for Papaw to get off work and Jason, Ty, & Morgan to arrive from Memphis.  

Waiting on Jason, Ty, & Mo to arrive on Christmas Eve

This was probably our last Christmas on Barthel Street (my parents say they are retiring and moving to Table Rock).  I wanted to document a few of my favorite things I remember of Christmas here.  I love this old place.  I've spent 25 Christmases here (missed a few after Alli was born and we stayed in Tennessee for Christmas).  There is just something about Barthel Street.  Anna Claire said, "I hate for them to sell this house.  Maybe they could keep it as a vacation home."  If you have ever been to Pocahontas, that's a funny comment. 


Papaw got home from work and Jason and the kiddos arrived all about the same time!  Christmas could officially begin!

Gigi and Papaw asked for all the grand kids to make homemade Christmas ornaments as their gift.

That laugh!

Gi hanging her new ornaments on the den tree.

All the big kids sprinkled the yard with Reindeer food.

Ty helping out in the kitchen.

Kiddos gearing up for our newest tradition....Candy Cane bombing the neighborhood.  We had actually planned on bombing my Dad's store parking lot, but the day got away from us.  They went door to door in my parent's neighborhood, rang doorbells (ding dong ditch), dumped candy canes on the front porch, and ran!  They seriously loved it!  And we later heard, the neighbors enjoyed their candy canes.  ;-)

Errr'body show me your candy canes!

I took the kids to Candy Cane Lane, another Pocahontas Christmas tradition, and we came back home for dinner and to finish Christmas Eve festivities.  

Papaw and his favorite grandson!

Christmas Eve dinner

Hensley grand kids

Hanging Santa's Magic Key on the front door (this house strangely doesn't have a fireplace)

Watching The Christmas Story

Leaving Santa his cookies and milk

Ty reading Twas the Night Before Christmas

I think this is where the book says, "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow."

I normally have Santa stationary, but I forgot it in Branson.

Santa sure was messy!

Christmas morning....Open the gates!

Ava and her Bitty Baby!

Anna Claire and her coveted spy kit!

And Taylor Swift CD!

She completely overlooked the iPad for about 15 minutes.  She was SO happy!  Now I can have mine back...thank you, Santa!

Ava's RV and Jeep for her American Girl Dolls


Elsa gloves

She loved her Elsa gloves!

SURPRISE from Sissy! 

Those sweet girls!

Thanking her big sis!

And so her obsession with Justice begins.  I was hoping we had a few years as I'm not a fan, but not so much.

It was a Frozen Christmas for Ava Liz!

We got a puppy!!!!

A Furreal Walk a puppy that is!  ;-)

Alli was up until 3 or 4 am needing constant suctioning and breathing treatments so we let her sleep in on Christmas morning.  She woke up around 10 ready to see what Santa left!

She literally played this for at least 30 minutes.  Longest we have EVER seen her play with a toy!

Very simply, Olaf's #1 fan!

Wasn't sure what to think, but she'll get the hang of it soon!

Julie's bed!

Christmas in Pocahontas came and went and it was time to head back to Branson for a Belin Family Christmas!

But before we left, we celebrated the Birthday of Jesus one last time.

Our Birthday Cake (which looked like a hot mess, but that's another story) for Jesus has 3 layers.  One of my favorite memories each year, is singing Happy Birthday to Him!  

The bottom layer is black (chocolate) and stands for the sin in our lives....for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

The middle layer is red and represents the blood that Jesus shed for us...For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

The top layer is green and represents new life in Christ Jesus...Therefore is anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here.  2 Corinthians 5:17

The cake is covered in white icing to remind us of His cleansing...If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9

The single candle represents Jesus is the light of the world...In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

We got back to Branson close to dinner.  The girls had a few more gifts to unwrap, we ate, the kiddos played, and we headed home for bed.  It always goes by way too fast!  

A little excited about Olaf!

She's going to sew all our clothes now!  ;-)

A little football with Uncle Jeff and Rhett!

The Belin cousins (minus a few)

And just like that, it was a silent night!

If you're still with me, after my 200+ photo dump, you're a trooper!  Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years!  All our love!


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