Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas is one of our family's favorite times of year.  This was our Christmas card for 2011.  I have gotten more compliments on this picture than any other in the past.  It was just a snapshot I had my sister take while we were celebrating Mary Claire's first birthday. 
I've always loved decorating for Christmas and I especially enjoyed decorating our new house.

Tree in the boy's room...

We also had Christmas lights on the roofline...more on that later.

Our first Christmas party of the season was with my side of the family at my parent's home.  The kids and I went a day early to help with the festitivities.

Lynden made confetti out of the resourceful...

"What, no bow?"
it had gone MIA

I LOVE this picture of B sitting at the table all by himself!!! hahaha  He likes to eat...a LOT. :)  And, then go back for more.

Oh, the kids were SO excited to open their gifts!!!

Lynden LOVED his new big boy shoes...

The baby girls all received name bracelets.  Ellison thought hers was just precious...

We had a wonderful Richardson Christmas!

The next day we had our Christmas program at church.  Lynden will get to partake next year.

Raegen was a sheep.
Here are the wise men...

Oh, he's just the cutest!!

Daddy-o catching it all on film...

I just loved our "Simply Christmas" program.  It was one big program with all ages involved.  The younger kids were characters and the older kids sang in the choir.  It was just beautiful.

Our Christmas with B's family was planned for the 22nd and I was beyond thrilled when he took the kids and I on an impromptu vacay just days before.
We were already in NWA visiting a few days early, so it was a great opportunity to drive over to Tulsa and spend some time together.
The last time we went on vacation it was to a landscaping conference and I was pregnant with Lynden.  So,it's been a while!! :)
Our first stop was the Oklahoma Aquarium.  We took Raegen to the Georgia Aquarium when he was about eight months old, so I knew it would be perfect for every age.

The boys just loved it all!  They kept running from one exhibit to the next...

Raegen got to pet a stingray...

Oh, what a difference a few years makes!!

If you weren't aware, Lynden LOVES all things furry.  He was so confused as to why this raccoon would not turn around and look at him.  He kept trying to pet it through the glass...

Ready to watch the otter and beaver get fed!!

I find it quite comical that Ellison spent the majority of her time at the aquarium in her stroller...

yet Raegen, at seven months, experienced it all! :)

And did again on our visit to Tulsa!

For lunch we dined at The Cheesecake Factory.  You expected nothing less, right?
The only thing I was worried about was dessert and I definitely picked correctly...Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Somehow I was talked into sharing.  Though I could have eaten the entire thing by myself!

I LOVED our hotel room.  Priorities change once kids enter the picture and I must say "suite" is the only way to travel!  We stayed in a hotel suite and were able to put all the kids down for an afternoon darkness, music playing...and sneak into the front room and watch a movie. 
oh. SUITE. peace.After naps were finished we completed our day at Incredible Pizza.  It's a ginormous indoor arcade, bowling alley, mini-golf, bumper car, and go-kart playground!
We had a blast!

Lynden fell in love with mini-bowling...

and the carousel...

And Ellison got a good nap, again!

B and Raegen enjoyed some go-karts...
Oh, we had the best time.  It was the perfect first family vacation.  I can hardly wait for the next!!
The next morning we woke at a normal time, had a gourmet breakfast downstairs in the hotel, then took a 1.5hr drive to spend Christmas with B's family.
We ate lunch, then let the kids open their gifts.  The cousins all draw names so they love to see what each one received.
They also get a gift from Pawpaw and Nana.
Raegen received walkie talkies...

Amber was in charge of the festivities this year and decided to have an "ugly ornament" contest.  It was so much fun!!  Below is the ornament I unwrapped...I do believe it was later stolen by Michael.  It was truly hideous.  Why would anyone design a Christmas ornament to look like that?! :)

Our impromptu vacay caused us to forget a few things at of which was our ugly ornaments! oops.  B stopped at a dollar store on the way into town and grabbed us a few.  This car freshener received the most laughs!!

Another activity Amber planned was a "family video" contest.  Well, our impromptu vacay halted plans for that as well.  I was really bummed to not have an entry.  Everyone else did a superb job.  Here Mike and Amber are tabulating the scores...
Is it really a coincidence they came in second and first, respectively? 
They both had great videos.

The rest of the day was spent playing...


making crafts...
{Aunt Katie is great at always having something fun for the kiddos}

and just enjoying each other...

ten of the twelve grandkids...
{with differing nap schedules we never could get all 12 at the same time}
We came home the morning of Christmas Eve.  I thought it was so sweet for B to suggest he and Raegen make cookies...
{they had so much fun together}

The next day, of course, was Christmas!

Here they come!

For me?

All three received remote control cars...

And we received a special gift from Raegen.  A calendar with each month having a different image/design of his handprints.

I got a few things too.
Blessed girl.

Does this bow make my head look big?

Enjoying the toys...

After all the gifts were opened {the limit is 3 for each kid} we sat down and told the Bible truth of Jesus' birth.  Then we got dressed for church and went and celebrated the day with our church family.  What better way to spend Christmas day than in God's house!!
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