This has been my most favorite Christmas to date.
For many reasons. Some are hard to explain.
The kids are old. It's official. Let's face it; time is not slowing down. And although that makes me sad, we're at a good stage in life.
Jackson likes clothes. And shoes. But he gets Christmas. He gets the sentiment. He understands that "some" still believe and encourages that. He is appreciative and fun. And he's still a goofy, somewhat awkward, and oftentimes annoying and downright obnoxious, teenager.
Cameron loves the spirit. No matter his age. He reminds me of Josh. He was the first to wake up this year. He chose to wake up Bella and Jackson before waking us up. He gets embarrassed opening up gifts; he doesn't like being the center of attention. He asked for a new baseball glove and got his first phone. We haven't been able to get him off yet.
Before I took this picture, without even looking up, Cam says, "Mom, are you going to take the picture or what?"
And Bella. She is the one who reminds us all what Christmas means. I think the boys even love watching her and can't help but feel her emotions.
She's the one who hugs you after opening each gift. She's the one who exclaims, "How did Santa know? He got my list!!" And then farted because she was so excited.
Our tradition begins Christmas Eve with dinner with the grandparents and cousins.
And some present opening.
And some entertaining. This year, it was scaled down a bit. The 3 boys aren't very interested in performing any more. Sad face. But the girls, especially Bella, still love to dance.
Afterwards, we head home to make cookies and get everything ready for Santa. And bed.
The boys helped her sprinkle reindeer food in the yard. Jackson was so patient and helped her spell every word for Santa's letter.
After all the traditional Christmas Eve festivities, this....they were restless, excited and just being kids.
Christmas morning. Present opening. Cinnamon rolls. Nap time. And more family. Which means more present opening.
This year, we had a small, mini Thanksgiving dinner. I made the best ham (in a crockpot, shhh). It was a great day.
Twas the last day of Christmas...for our family, at least. The day after Christmas we head back to the grandparents for ... yes, more presents. And leftovers. And family time. Because that's what this is all about.
I must explain the many buckets. It's a traditional family beach game we play. The boys love it. We finally get our own set of buckets.
I spy.... two brothers getting along because the youngest one got a phone and big brother is helping him to set it up and then they're playing a game together and although they're on electronic devices this momma couldn't be happier that they are, well....just together.
And so this Christmas was a good Christmas. Yes, my kids are getting older. But they still love Christmas. And they like each other. And they are so good to their little sister when it counts. And when they can't get along all year, but this time of year brings out the best in them and they are so good to one another. And happy to be around family. And their anticipation is infectious And all those little traditions I thought went unnoticed...I'm starting to see how much it means to them. When your 13 year old, who can barely fit under the tree, still gets on his hands and knees to count his presents. Or goes outside shirtless with his little sister in the cold to throw corn kernels in the grass for the reindeer. Or your 10 year old can't wait to get home Christmas Eve to check the "Santa tracker". And your 6 year old figures out Santa knows their name from their stockings because he wrote "Isabella" and not just Bella.
Later on, Christmas day, while we were getting ready for company, Bella says, "I wish it was Christmas." "Bella it is Christmas." "No," she says, "I mean, I wish it was last night and we were going to bed and going to wake up again." "Yes, me too. I wish we could do it over and over again."
She woke up at 5 a.m. with a fever. I was so disappointed for her, that she might miss her winter recital. She had rehearsed at home for me nightly the past week and was so excited about her costumes and being on stage again.
So, like any good mother, I doped her up with Tylenol because...the show must go on. She made it through the recital that morning. I think her excitement and adrenaline kicked in...you would never have guessed that she was up all night coughing and crying only a few hours that morning that her throat hurt and she was hot.
On the way home, she fell asleep. And spent the rest of the day on the couch with Mommy.
But, she did so good and looked so beautiful. Entertaining runs through her veins. I think this might be her thing.
It's a sad year when they've all grown up. Only one trick-or-treater left.
She keeps it fun, at least.
And we'll always make them take a picture. Costume or not.
Not sure why she wanted to be a policewoman this Halloween. I thought she might be Poppy or Moana or (over my dead body) a Shopkin. But she chose it right off the bat and insisted on it, and I loved it.
We (and when I say we, I mean I) had so much fun taking pictures of her in the yard while we waited for family to arrive and for the sun to go down so we could get started trick-or-treating. She loved every bit of Halloween, from the decorations, the scary guys, the pumpkins and carving. She's not scared of anything any more. She ran from house to house and never complained about being tired. She has really grown up this year, and I love that I still have one last trick or treater.
This was all her idea. Hold up 1 and 5. Can you tell he was excited?
Out of the 3 of them, Cam was the least excited about school starting.
In fact, the night before, when it was time for bed, he started crying. He admitted he was nervous about school starting, and that "Summer is so much fun" and the school year is just too long. I mean, I get it. We laid in his bed and talked. Then, he tells me that he didn't realize he'd "like having me at school so much", and he's sad that he'll be going to middle school next year, and I won't be there.
Me, too, kid.
He was all smiles this morning and in a great mood. I was glad for our talk and that he actually shared with me what was bothering him.
He picked his outfit to match his shoes. Isn't it usually the other way around?
Bella was beyond excited. But, after brushing her teeth, she casually remarks, "My belly tickles and be's nervous." She went on to explain that it kind of felt like it did when she rode a ride at Busch Gardens. She whined when I had to fix her hair because she was "so tired". It was the first time she got to ride to school with me and Cameron. I walked her to her class (man, I love my job), but she didn't seem to care and didn't even turn around to give me a kiss. Or a second glance. I must be doing something right.
Then there's this. This is what you get when Dad takes first day pics.
I don't get to see him off because he leaves much later than we do. And I let him sleep. Because this is the last year for that. Next year, it's off to high school, bright and early. And that just makes my heart hurt.
And can you guess who missed their bus home on the first day of school? My 13 year old. You see, the story was that he forgot his locker number and then something about not being able to fit his binder into his backpack with his P.E. shoes, which he TOLD Dad he wouldn't need today, and the bus wasn't parked in the spot it was supposed to be in.....
And so this is the last year for Cam in elementary school and the last year for Jack in middle.
This year can take its' time.
This weekend was packed full of love, celebrating, and friends & family.
Firstly, I am expecting a Great NIECE this December. I attended my first ever gender reveal to learn the sex. It was truly one of the coolest, most emotional things I've ever seen. I was pretty convinced Sarah was having a baby boy. Well, I was wrong.
Bella's 6th birthday party was the very next day. It went terrific, and I know Bella was the happiest little girl at the end of the night. All of her favorite little people showed up. Along with all of her family. They swam, cooked food in her kitchen, played lots of Barbies, rode bikes and scooters, and played house. Josh made the best wings and the kids enjoyed pizza and snacks. And, of course, strawberry poke cake for the birthday girl.
My name is Kaci. I am a working mom of 3. Wife to Josh. Mom to Jackson, Cameron & Isabella. My life is dinner, homework, baseball, basketball, grocery lists, laundry, wine, video games, and bath time. I started this blog because I am passionate about photography and journaling, and because I wanted a place to write it all down, to rememeber little details so easily forgotten in the mad rush that is the life of a family of 5. Through my photos and words, I endeavor to capture our story.