Our family Christmas(es)

 Is anyone else other than me sad that the Christmas season is slowly fading away? 
Which is strange.  Normally I am ready for it to end, spending the day after Christmas rapidly taking down the tree and decorations.  This year, I just can't bear to do it. 

I heard more than ever how ready other people were for Christmas to be over,
and I silently protested.  This year, I just wanted it to last forever.

(and as for the picture above, I know one of the faces is blurry but don't my nephews look equally ornery, delightful, and sweet all at once?!)
 Maybe it's because the girls were older this year and I wasn't living in a "I haven't showered in peace or slept in days" newborn stupor that we dressed up and tried to call Christmas last year. 

This year I got to fully enjoy our wild-hair Betsy Grace....and even sleep some! That sure was a game-changer.  With our snow days early on, the girls and I were in full winter/Christmas mode. We snuck crafts, treats, Christmas books, caroling (to our own merry selves), and seeing the Lights on the Square in. And Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.  The sweetest reason of all for merriment. 

 Each year we celebrate Christmas at my grandparents house, which I affectionally think of as Narnia.  It's like stepping right back into my childhood there.  How delightful it was this year to watch Anna Ruth's eyes light up as she discovered the same delightful treasures as I used to.  

We also celebrate at home, with our family of four, as well as at Nana's house AND Granna and Poppa's house.  That's a lot of love, presents, treats, and family folks. 
I wouldn't have it any other way. 

(My mom is the MOST talented seamstress. EVER.  I sadly, did not inherit this gene.  But she made Anna Ruth this cute little kitty-cat apron.  Anna likes to wear all throughout the day)
 A tradition I remember growing up with was sugar cookie decorating.  Now that I'm an adult myself and have taken on this task a time or two for the girls I realize how much sweet time my mom poured into making the cookies, cutting them out, and frosting them. 

We continued the tradition with all the cousins this year! 
Anna's version of "decorating" was raking her fingers through the icing on the cookie,
and repeating. 

 The Lights on the Fayetteville Square must get bigger and better each year, I'm just convinced of it.  We went twice this year (and might even sneak in another visit) and were spellbound.  The girls both loved it!  Anna Ruth even got to ride a pony, by HERSELF.  She grinned her proud, big girl grin.  

Fortune teller, I think I see a pony in our future.

 Brett and I got the girls a few toys each, because we knew they would be spoiled silly at their grandparent's house.  I am happy to say they both really appreciated what they got.  Anna is just fascinated and thrilled to have her own "Can-Ma", just like her Mama.  

Betsy Grace got mostly musical toys because this little gal can rock her body like nobody's business.  She's got the music in her, for sure.  

Christmas 2013, how I loved you. 
Although not perfect, the best things never are. 
You were sparkles and lights,
treats tucked everywhere,
merriment making. 
I'm sad to see you go,
but thanks for the memories. 
'Till next year,
expectantly yours.