I wrote about Christmas Eve (my very favorite part of Christmas) back HERE.
But Christmas was pretty great too.
Our biggest Christmas gift this year to our kids was that we packed up on Christmas Day and headed out on our last (last of the “lasts” 😉 family trip with Max.
But Santa still found us and dropped off a few things to open on the big day.
…with his traditional squiggly writing.

…and brought the stockings into the kids’ room (they always sleep all together on Christmas Eve and always wake up to find their stockings right by their beds).

We have a rule that they can hang with their stockings (which always include games and activities) until 7:00 when they can wake up their parents. (The wake-up-of-the-parents always happens with singing Christmas carols…they start with reverent, sweet ones like “Silent Night” and gradually get more rambunctious with songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Frosty the Snowman.”)

I think the rule used to be 6:00 when they were younger and just could hardly stand waiting any longer than that, but I actually think Dave and I were awake before they were this year.  It’s weird how things change when kids start to grow up a little.

They always complain about how long it takes for us to get the Christmas music going, fire roaring, and camera ready before they can come see what Santa brought.

And when it’s time, they line up on the stairs from youngest to oldest and go in to meet the Christmas hoopla one by one.

We don’t have stairs in our new house so they improvised sitting criss-cross applesauce all in a line right outside the family room.  I don’t have a picture of that, but I do have one of how it looked when we finally told them it was “time”:

The kids usually give Dave and me our gifts on Christmas Eve but this year Dave requested they wait until Christmas morning.

Oh how I love the things they come up with for us.

And how excited they get to give them to us.

Such sweetness with work and thought that went in to the things they made/bought/thought.  

My friend from England always sends them the nicest gifts.  She is so incredibly thoughtful.

Love you Sarah!

Nana and Papa came after we had unwrapped most things.  Nana brought a special gift for Max which he was over-the-moon about:

A new quilt.  Oh man he was so excited about that.  That kid has torn through a few quilts and was in need of a new one.  He’s trying to figure out how he can take it to Taiwan with him:)

Last Christmas we had our traditional Eggs Benedict with my family since we were with them in Utah (back HERE…my mom is the master of Eggs Benedict).  So this Christmas the kids had stars in their eyes that we would have them here too.  Oh you can bet I’ve tried before.  I mean, I’m a sucker for carrying on a good tradition.  But man alive eggs Benedict is tougher to make than it looks (I talked about some of my failed attempts back HERE).

So this year I decided to do a little research in preparation.  I found a method for poaching eggs in a new way (over HERE on Pioneer Woman) and I figured, “I can totally do that!”  I mean, I do cook.  A lot.  I should be able to whip that up just like she does easy-peasy.

My mother-in-law was game to help me whip them up so I read the recipe to her and we got to work:

But instead of those magical poached eggs Ree whips up, all we could scoop out of our pan were some sorry little pieces of yolk.

Oh boy.

Luckily that great mother-in-law of mine knew how to make her own kind of poached eggs and whipped up some delicious ones.

The hollandaise sauce only took us three tries to get perfect.  We sure went through a whole slew of eggs and butter that morning I tell you!  But the result was pretty fantastic.  I will have to try it again before I forget it all and post it up here so I can have the step-by-step details at my fingertips next year.

Now, one thing Dave incorporated into our Christmas traditions this year was a family sleepover.  We did it on the 23rd and although it didn’t turn out quite like he pictured, but it sure was fun to slow down time and hang together in the midst of the holiday hoopla. We watched “Home Alone” and you know that scene at the beginning of the movie where the alarms didn’t go off and everyone was scrambling to get to that plane on time?  We acted that out pretty perfectly early Christmas afternoon to get to the airport.

By the time we finished our eggs Benedict extravaganza we realized we had about an hour before we needed to head for the airport.  And let’s just say we weren’t as prepared as we would have liked to be.

But we left all the Christmas stuff and headed off on an adventure.

…across the Pacific.

…and only forgot about ten semi-important things.
But the most important things were there: our family.  Cheeseball I know, but boy howdy I have learned that family never feels quite as grand as it does when it’s about to be pulled apart for a couple years.  When you realize that the version of reality you’ve become accustomed to for eighteen years is about to change and shift around, and will never be the same.  

Sure, it will be even better in so many ways, I’m convinced of that, and we are so excited for Max and his big adventure coming up in Taiwan.  But it’s been such a great ride to have all our kids home we felt like we had the perfect opportunity to bottle it all up just a tad before he leaves.

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  1. What a great Christmas. I agree with you 100% that family is the most important thing. I am so glad you were able to take one last family vacation with the entire family- to absorb all that love and gain memories to sustain you through the next 2 years that Max will be gone on his mission. I don't think it's cheesy at all. I think it's fabulous and I love the love you have for your sweet family.

  2. Shawni–we don't do eggs Benedict on Christmas morn, but I LOVE it and crave it regularly and got so sick of the stringy gloppy mess that I went on A HUNT to try and find a simple way to make them. Also I needed a simpler, faster hollandaise recipe. Both of these have fit the bill. The key is to NOT GET DISTRACTED while making either recipe! Haha! I have 6 kids and as you know a mom that is totally focused without getting distracted at all in the kitchen would be a miracle!:)
    Anyway, for what it's worth, here's the recipes I use. Best of luck in your future egg poaching endeavors! LOVE your blog!
    Poached eggs!
    Hollandaise sauce!

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