although we are sad to be away from our families, we found it fun being our own little family this christmas season.
we took our annual christmas eve morning photo and headed out to try a new donut place. or should i say palace since its called "donut palace"? i think most donut places should be called palaces from now on because when you're eating a warm, fresh donut, its hard not to feel like you're on top of the world, right?
it was pretty tasty, but our hearts (and stomachs) still belong to Bennett's in fort myers.
after our donut run we met up with two families from church for some dodge ball!!!
ever wondered what a dodgeball game consisting of 10 kids under the age of 10 looks like?
we also played a game of kickball with the adults and it was great fun. then the kids put on a little impromptu christmas carol concert for us that was adorable.
christmas eve was spent with our "family away from family", the smiths. what would we do without them?! the elders came too and we had our traditional spaghetti dinner and then acted out the nativity.
jack and jenna made the cutest joseph and mary
ellie and dani were our angels, charlie was the donkey, brynn was a duckling (you know, the duckling in the nativity... no?.... I'm sure its mentioned somewhere in Luke chapter 2... somewhere...) and the men filled in as shepards and wise men.
during our evening we had a surprise visit from st nick and the kids were thrilled!
this is our friend geoff (married to steph). what an awesome guy!
is there anything better than christmas eve?
seeing little ones so excited and their eyes so full of anticipation when tucking them in bed is the best! jack and ellie were determined to stay up to sneak a peek at santa. we told them to try and if they saw him, to wake us up too since we never have been able to catch a glimpse. but, unfortunately we were all pooped, especially after chris and i stayed up till 2 am wrapping gifts and watching movies... not the smartest thing waiting till christmas eve to wrap every single gift.
i had to include this letter that jack wrote to santa. he's such a good boy.
in case you can't read it, it says:
Dear Santa: How have you been this year? I hope you got enough of rest. I was wondering if I could have a GoPro. And can you please give the homeless a jacket for the winter please. thank you Santa! Love, Jack
for the record: we just couldn't justify buying such an expensive gift for a 7 year old even though a GoPro has been on jack's wish list for two years... but chris caved after this letter was written :) we decided to put the money given to us from grandma and grandpa brower towards a GoPro for the family. we waited till the afternoon to open it, when all the hype of christmas morning had passed and jack was beyond thrilled
we've been very blessed this year, as is apparent by the abundance we had christmas morning.
ellie and jack's big gifts this year were music lessons!
jack will be taking banjo lessons (yahoo!) and ellie will be taking violin (yay!).
a dream come true for this mama!!! so happy that they have such an interest in music and art.
ellie got this cute notepad from aunt layna and uncle tony in hawaii and i think its been the most played with of all her gifts. this girl writes and writes and writes. she must have some of her great grandma browne's writing talents in her blood.
ellie also got a real tea set and we had to have a cocoa party first thing!
jack got rollerblades and after a few days of practice, he is rocking it! but the videos he's made using the go pro while rollerblading are so crazy, they make us nauseous watching them!
charlie got some geotrax, but his absolute favorite toy ended up being a little lightning mcqueen toy. go figure. he even wanted to take a picture with it next to him, silly kid. this picture says it all- pure happiness!
I'm certainly no videographer, but i put together a video for the grandmas of a few of our favorite moments from our christmas videos:
what a wonderful year our family had. we've truly been blessed beyond measure.