Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christmas in NC

We spend Christmas this year in North Carolina at Tom and Alice's house. With Ben added to the mix, we now number 18! For the second time (the first being when I was pregnant with TJ), we drove. We left at 4 pm on Monday and arrived at 4 am. Other than missing some sleep, the timing was pretty good because all three of the boys settled in to sleep at night so we didn't have so stop so frequently. Alli and Micah arrived shortly before us and the Millers arrived later that day. 

Frosting cookies with Grandma

All dressed up for Christmas Eve mass--Grandma and Grandpa and the 10 grandkids!

The Johnsons

The Millers

And us!

 If this group gets any bigger we might need a wide-angle lens! :)

I couldn't wait to put this outfit on Ben--I bought it for Jojo and everyone loved the cap. The only difference is that Ben actually has hair, which is covered by the hat, and Jojo was still pretty bald when he was this age.

Grandma and Ben

Our annual tradition: making dumplings for Christmas Eve paprikash!

Another tradition, dating back to when Mary Beth was a baby--Tom reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Ben on the floor after all the presents were laid out. It's hard to see, but he has a reindeer hat on.

A small glimpse of the chaos that is Christmas morning.

Jojo flying his Hess spaceship. This gift was a huge hit!

TJ's spiderman sweatshirt

Ben getting some attention from his aunts

Corban loves legos! This was the first year that Thomas got little Legos, so he joined in the assembly fun after presents were unwrapped.

Cousin love in footy jammies!

Eli had matching jammies too.

Another favorite at Grandma and Grandpa's house--foosball

Grandma with the two youngest, Rachel and Ben

And Grandpa with the same two.

The "kids" table...we kept switching up who sat here--there were no great combinations, as somebody always felt left out. See Ben down in the corner? :)

Lauren loves holding babies!

Oh yeah, we were there too! Us on Christmas morning.

Great spot for a nap!

Grandma reading to the middle kids

One advantage to Christmas in NC is that it's usually warm enough to play outside. For our Michigan-raised kids, this is a treat--short sleeves in December! 
TJ and Annie are great buddies. In fact, Annie is one of three girls Thomas plans to marry.

Ben hanging with Grandma

Enjoying hte swing

We try to play a football game every year

And we grilled hotdogs for lunch

Relaxing in the yard

The kids turned stumps into a table and stools

 Roasting hotdogs and/or marshmallows

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Christmas at home

We celebrated Christmas at our house the weekend beforehand by opening a few presents since we'd be gone on the 25th. The boys had their matching jammies, courtesy of Grammy. 

Ben's first Christmas!

 Brother love!

Opening his bathrobe--we told the boys that once they stopped wearing pull-ups to bed, we'd get them bathrobes. The timing was perfect for Christmas.

Ben and Daddy got Batman shirts so that all the guys could participate in Batman Thursday.

Ben's new book:

 The boys picked out presents for each family member. Ed got shop rags.

TJ got Jojo a Cars shirt. Which he won't wear yet because it's 4T and he's not 4 yet.

I got a scarf holder to hang in my closet.

TJ got downhill skis from us.

Jojo got a modern version of a big wheel, which ended up being way too big for him. So Ed bought a second big wheel that was more Jojo's size, so now they both can ride in the basement.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hello, reindeer!

The weekend before Christmas Ed had to go into work, so I took the three boys to see some reindeer at a farm near our house. The farm also had a Santa, and I had to laugh because the bigger boys steered clear of Santa. I guess once was enough! 

Afraid of Santa, but they'll pet a reindeer...

Watching the reindeer through a fence. We learned some interesting reindeer facts, too.