Christmas 2016

Christmas morning found the base of our tree full of presents for Marshall and Vi, along with stockings packed to the brim and one gift that didn’t quite fit under our balsam fir. 

Santa mainly puts little gifts that go with a larger gift in their stocking; Marshall’s Santa theme this year was Paw Patrol and Vi’s was Little People. Then some savory snacks (current Ding kid favorite: Cheeze-its) and obligatory candy canes

Big gift to both (all three?) kids from Brad and I

Whatever could it be? (This wrap job was not easy, but it’s a layer of wrapping paper and then cheap plastic table cloths)

I woke up at 1:30am to loud thumps coming from upstairs- Marshall’s room.  I investigate, finding his bedroom light on but him tucked peacefully into bed with his eyes closed.  This veteran mama isn’t fooled, “I know you’re awake, buddy, what are doing?” I whisper.  Marshall pops up immediately, his eyes wide with excitement “Mom!!  Santa came!  I saw all the presents under the tree and my stocking is full and it has cheeze-its, Santa knows, mom!  Santa knows!”

The thumping that woke me was Marshall literally jumping for joy in his room after stealthily sneaking downstairs to see if Santa arrived yet.

I smiled, his excitement is infectious.  Always so observant and grateful.  I confirmed that Santa came and that we get to open presents today, but it is 1:30 in the morning.  We can’t wake up papa and sissy this early, we have to go back to sleep.  He was literally bouncing in his bed, no sign of tire in his sparkling eyes.  So I slide into bed next to him for us to catch a few more hours of sleep.

Doing this initially so that he wouldn’t be able to sneak back down to the tree without waking me- ensuring the presents stay untouched by excited five year old hands.  I have to admit though, it was nice to get to snuggle my oldest baby for a while on Christmas.  He was just a tiny 6lb bundle that co-slept with me, and for a little bit on that magical morning, we were back to those early days again.

I awoke at 8 to Marshall trying to sneak out of bed.  When I opened my eyes, my ever watchful son protested “It’s day time now!” pointing to the light coming from his bedroom windows.  I smiled and agreed, “We will have to wake up papa and sissy first, but yea it’s time to open presents!”

I use a method for organizing presents; all are wrapped with a certain paper to show who they are to/from. The Santa buckles are from the big man to each child, the deer paper is from Brad & I to Marshall, the snowflakes to Vi from Brad & I, the geometric blue is to either child from us parents (I ran out of deer/snowflake paper) and then the candy cane stripe paper is for each child from the other. Marshall can read but it’s nice to tell Vi to look for snowflakes and keep things organized.

Mr. Christmas all ready for gifts!

Vi is slow to wake up. She tried to go back to sleep with her stocking.

Brad pulled her up to sitting and Queen Violet Angeline sat back in her Papa throne to observe the presents

Meanwhile, Marshall emptied the contents of his stocking and started to open each small stocking gift from Santa

He was overjoyed with each unwrapped gift. Santa put all the Paw Patrol racers in his stocking!!

Vi finally woke up enough to start opening presents and enjoying it all herself

Little People in her stocking!

Obviously she had to tear into the snacks right away

After stockings, the kids open their big gift from Santa.

Marshall with his Santa gift

Vi carefully tearing the paper from her Santa present

Santa came through! She got the Little People playhouse that she’s been eyeing in the store!

Marshall opened his Santa gift to find the Paw Patrol Lookout racetrack that he’s been begging for

Santa has cut back on presents for our kids.  We live in an area that has a high poverty rate and don’t want Marshall going to school and telling of these big boastful presents to his little friends that may not receive much.  So Santa fills stockings and leaves a gift for each child, then the rest of the gifts are from mama & papa (or a sibling).

He loved that the blue deer wrapping paper was for him “Blue’s my favorite color!”

Her face started to just light up with opening her gifts. Of course our Frozen fan had to have the snowflake “let is snow” wrapping paper. Papa also serenaded her to “Let it go” every time she grabbed a present.

Squishy cheeze-it cheeked smiles among the gifts

What KC kid’s Christmas would be complete without getting a membership to the Blue Crew?

This is him yelling “Kansas City!” He loves his Royals and reminds us on a regular basis how much he misses Kansas City.

Digging through all the amazing KC gear that comes with being part of the Blue Crew (hat, jersey, lanyard with special id, KC earbuds, KC face stickers, game vouchers, and more)

He was excited for his KC earbuds “big boy headphones”

You can take the boy out of KC but you can never take KC out of the boy

Going through his new Todd Parr collection

I love that we’re raising little bookworms

Opening their gifts from one another. Marshall got a stuffed Marshall Paw Patrol Pup and Vi got a baby Elsa doll. Francesca even gave them small gifts to emphasis their “big” (brother/sister) status. Vi got big girl Frozen nail polish with an Olaf nail file and Marshall got a Batman practice shaving kit.

The final gift to open was the big shared gift (to the kids from Brad and I).

Peeling off the first layer

Getting through the wrapping paper layer

Taking a peek inside the new little cabin. It has a small stove, sink, and phone pre-installed inside

Excited for their new play cabin! Ready to start decking it out!

There’s only one thing left to do once all the gifts are opened: play!

Playing with her Melissa & Doug wooden coffee set.

Guiding his remote control train

Vi had to let her new baby rest while she watched her brother play the game he’s been begging for (Minecraft Mario edition for Wii U)

Vi inspecting her debit card for her new smart purse. It hooks right onto her baby’s stroller and that just impresses the heck out of her. She loved “mommying” her babies.

Bringing her baby home

Marshall got some new wooden train parts for the train table so we surprised Vi with some of her own too. She loves playing trains and cars with the boys but she also is naturally drawn to pink, purple, and princesses. I was able to find this imaginarium set that seems like it was designed just for her!


Marshall said his favorite gift was his Minecraft video game.  Violet’s favorite, hands down, was the Melissa & Doug coffee maker.

We initially planned a big brunch, but the perk of having your own Christmas with just parents and kids means that we can make the rules as we go!  So we had a light breakfast of French toast bagels, followed by a nap, and then our Christmas meal of roast duck with sides.

Seriously a treat. I make it a spiced duck using lemon zest and Chinese five spice topped with honey.

And with that, our Christmas was complete.  We shared nice quiet moments like early-early morning snuggles with my oldest, and exuberant joy with opening presents.  We are so thankful to be able to spend the day together as a family and relax at home.  Our Christmas was amazing and we hope that each of you had an equally great day with loved ones and fun.  Merry Christmas!


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