Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Drake-Family Christmas

We just got home from an awesome Christmas in Mountain Home with the entire Drake family. My whole family came home this year and it was so fun! 8 Grand kids, 10 adults. So much fun!
We arrived Friday evening and Sarah and her family were already there. So was Laura and David. Joseph and his family arrived a couple hours after us.
It was such a blast to be all together. 
Saturday we just played, menu planned and napped. It was such a nice relaxing day. 
Saturday night we did a polar express gift exchange.
This is one of Uncle Johnny's family traditions and we decided to try this year.
So everyone had a wrapped gift and Uncle Johnny read aloud the "Polar Express" book.
Each time said the word "and" we passed the gifts around the circle.
Then when the book ended, whatever gift you had, you got to open.
It was pretty cute and the kids LOVED it. 
Benson got so much love and attention for his Aunts and Uncles.
I love these pictures of David with Benson. So precious. 
Sunday morning we got up nice and early to get ready for church.
It was Christmas Eve day and the Mtn. Home ward put on a beautiful Christmas program.
How cute are these little cousins all dolled up for church?
Here are my sweet Christmas eve babes
And I really couldn't get enough of Benson in his suspenders and bow tie.
 I was dying at the cuteness. 
Aunt Laura was too. 

After church we helped Papa make the annual fruitcake.
Bailey was a big helper.

Tucker helped a little too. They loved getting their hands dirty. 
Papa and Bailey tracked Santa on his way to Mtn. Home. 
After dinner we did our annual gingerbread house smash. 

Even Tucker got a little gingerbread to gnaw on. He was a fan. 
After our gingerbread smash, we read Luke 2  and Matthew 2 and the kids re-enacted the nativity story. 
How cute are "Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus"? 
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid."
the wise man "departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was."
"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

Re-enacting the nativity is one of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions, and watching these sweet kids retell the story made it all the more special.

When we finished the Nativity story, there was delivery and the kids found a package from the pajama elves.
The quickly put on their PJ's from the pajama elves and Nanny read the book to all the kids. 

Sweet Christmas eve cousins. 
Then we sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn so Santa and his reindeer could  find the house. 
Then my kids said bye to their elves and our reindeer. They are always so sad to say goodbye but so happy that they get to touch and hug their elves. 

Then we tucked the kids into bed and waited for Santa to come.
The next morning the kids were up at 6:30 am. We went downstairs and brought their stockings back to their room. We played upstairs for a while until everyone else got up.

Then we had breakfast.
I had made two batches of cinnamon rolls the night before, so we baked those, made scrambled eggs and Nanny whipped up some of her amazing hot cocoa. 
I love this picture of Uncle David and Tanner playing on their little game boys together. So cute.
After breakfast we found our "Christmas pickle". The Christmas pickle is a new tradition. On Christmas eve we lay our pickle ornament out for Santa. He hides it in the tree and then the next morning, whoever finds the pickle gets to open the first present. 
Tanner found our pickle this year. And it was so cute to watch all the kids search. 
I didn't take pictures of the kids with all their presents, but they were completely spoiled. 

Even little Benson loved his Christmas present. 

We spent the rest of our day playing with our new toys, napping and eating.
Then we had a delicious Christmas dinner of prime rib. Everything was so good. 
It was the most laid-back relaxing Christmas ever. So nice!

Then yesterday we took family pictures.
I can't get over how big our family is getting.
Nanny and Papa and all their crazy grand kids. 
We took a few family ones too. 

And a sibling shot. 
Aren't my parents the cutest? I really just adore them and their relationship.
They created this family and it just keeps growing.
There is so much love here.

After pictures we went to "Pizza Inn" and had lunch.
Then it was back home for another fun, relaxing afternoon.
The kids all played so great together. They all loved their toys and had so much fun together.
Last night some of the grown ups went to see the new "Star Wars" together. It was fun. 

We left this morning and we are already missing everyone. We had a great time and really enjoyed all the nights of visiting, laughing and just hanging out together. 
I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I can hardly believe it's already over.
The days are just flying by.
Now onto NEW YEARS!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Train

 This morning we got to go ride the Christmas train. My kids call it the "Polar Express" and they were so excited. They wanted to wear their Christmas PJ's and I was thrilled with that idea. 
When we arrived at the train station, Santa was waiting for us. The kids hopped out of the car and ran to give him hugs. Well, everyone except Tucker. He was feeling especially shy. 
Benson got some good snuggles with the Big Man though. 
I love this picture. I wish Tucker would have joined the kids, but it's still so cute. 
We hopped on the train and through some fluke miracle, Jessica and I ended up with a train car all to ourselves and our kids. So the 10 of us had our own train car for the entire ride. It was amazing.
The kids ran around and changed seats. They were wild and no one cared. There was no one else to annoy. It was so nice. 
I just love these babies of mine. 

Then the train workers brought us hot cocoa and cookies.
This year the cookies actually were delicious and the cocoa was hot and delicious. The kids were so happy with their treats. Even little Benson got a cookie. 
We didn't get one to him originally, but then he started freaking out and reaching for his siblings' cookies, so I gave him mine and he was sooo happy.
I love these pictures of him with his huge cookie.
(Oh and no, he didn't get to eat the whole thing. He only had a few bites, but he just loved gnawing on it) 
When the Santa entered our train car the kids were so excited. They all rushed to sit on his lap and talk to him. It was pretty cute. Benson was pretty tired and worn out at this point so he wasn't in the mood to smile, but the kids were all so happy. 

Jessica and I got separated from the rest of our Mommy friends, but everyone had a great time and it was the perfect way to kick off our Christmas vacation. 
We are headed to Mtn. Home for Christmas tonight and we are so excited.
I can't believe it's almost Christmas!