This year was our first Christmas at the farmhouse and was also the first time we’ve ever hosted family for the holidays (which is something I had long dreamed of doing but never had the space to do). Aside from the insanely cold temperatures, and the fact that it took me 9 hours to cook the turkey (more on that later), it could not have been more perfect! On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we had 15 people (10 adults, 5 kids and 4 dogs) – a full house in every sense of the word: full of people, full of stuff, full of chaos, but mostly full of LOVE. 🙂 And that’s really what Christmas is all about, right? We loved every minute of it. It was everything Chris and I had dreamed about when we bought this house – just wanting it to be full of our friends and family and a place to make wonderful memories with the people we love. It was also so great having all the cousins together. Chris’ sister and her husband have a boy and girl who are very close in age to Declan and Arabella, and it is so fun watching them play together and knowing they will grow up together and hopefully always be close! Also, Christmas with little kids is just MAGIC. Baking cookies for Santa, writing the note, leaving them (and carrots for the reindeer!) next to the fireplace, seeing their faces when they came down the stairs the next morning – it was all so awesome and made me feel like a kid again myself. Below are some of my favorite pics and memories.
Picking out our Christmas tree together at a Christmas tree farm! We couldn’t believe how fresh this tree stayed for the whole month! When we threw it out on New Year’s Day it wasn’t even brittle. Such a crazy difference from the trees we have always bought in the city.
Declan was most excited to set up his train from Poppy and CeCe that went around the tree (which, incidentally, played a song over and over again that made all the adults within earshot feel like they were going insane).
It was SOOOOO cold over the holidays this year on the east coast. Nights were routinely in the single digits (one time negative!) with days peaking out in the teens, so we had a fire going almost constantly. In addition to keeping us warm, it made the whole house feel so cozy. 🙂
Above: Cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer, plus a note thanking him for all his hard work on behalf of nice kids everywhere.
Below: Bella taking in the tree in all its splendor on Christmas Eve.
My dad read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas aloud and then we sent all the kids to bed (who were clearly much too excited to go to sleep). The kids’ bedroom on Christmas Eve looking all kinds of cozy. ⇓
The white lights I put around the windows for the holidays are still up as the kids love having them on as their “night lights.”
After the kids went to bed I (like every parent in the world) set to work furiously wrapping all the presents I hadn’t had time to wrap before that moment. This was made more difficult by the fact that I wanted to throw up the whole time and/or fall asleep (yay first trimester pregnancy!). Thankfully, my mom, Chris, and his mom swooped in and saved the day by helping me wrap. The end result of presents for 15 people (including 3 sets of grandparents being overly generous to 5 grandkids) was quite a sight.
This is the view the kids had when they came down the stairs in the morning. It was pretty awe-inspiring! But all the parents agreed it was a *bit* much and that next year we are imposing a 5 present TOTAL rule. Otherwise, I think it just becomes a bit overwhelming and they stop appreciating everything, you know? I don’t want to be a grinch or anything but it really seemed a bit excessive. Do any of you guys have rules like this?
When Declan and Bella came downstairs in the morning they were both awe-struck by all the presents Santa had left. They just stood there and stared for a minute and then Bella went over to Declan and gave him a spontaneous hug – I was SOOOO happy I was holding my camera! Such a sweet moment. I forced myself to look at it a few times later in the day when everyone was having sugar meltdowns.
All 5 cousins together on the stairs (+3 of the dogs). 🙂 It was so amazing having the whole family together for the holidays. They are the sweetest kids. Eloise (the oldest) is now 12 which is so hard for me to believe as she was just turning 4 when Chris and I first started dating!
Requisite Christmas morning shot in our matching jammies. It is no secret that I love matching PJs, but a huge part of that is because the kids love it so much! They get so excited when we all match and I couldn’t be happier about it (clearly). ⇓
Sadly, we didn’t get a white Christmas this year, but as soon as we get some more snow Declan and Bella are ready to sled! I got these cute sleds for them here in case you’re in the market for some.
In the end, the turkey came out perfect. But there was a WHOLE lot of uncertainty in between. Basically, we prepped the turkey and stuck it in the oven at 9am expecting it would be ready around 12:30pm for a big Christmas lunch feast. We finished opening presents, took showers, got dressed, etc., excited in the knowledge that our turkey was cooking away downstairs. But when we went to check on it a couple of hours later, we discovered that the oven was cold, and so was the turkey. Now, the reason behind this will forever be a mystery. My mom and mother-in-law SWEAR that they turned the oven on, and that it must have shut itself off. Possible. But regardless, we had a cold, raw turkey less than an hour before we were going to have lunch. So, we reheat the oven and start the cooking all over again. Thankfully, we have a second oven so I was able to heat up a bunch of delicious apps (ordered from a caterer – best decision ever) to help feed the starving masses. The turkey continued to be an issue (as did our top oven) and the little red button that pops out when the bird is cooked just wasn’t popping. We got all the sides ready, fully prepared to have a (rather unfortunate) vegetarian Christmas, when all of a sudden around 6pm it popped! We pulled it out of the oven and I took this picture below, fully convinced it would be like that scene from Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswald cuts into a beautiful looking turkey and it explodes to reveal a hollow inside of air and dust.
But not this bird! It was cooked to perfection, which had absolutely nothing to do with the many chefs who tried their best to mess it up. Christmas lunch became Christmas dinner but it was delicious all the same. 🙂 And the stuffing and all the sides were soooooo good. Apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert made the food comas official.
All in all, it was such a wonderful Christmas and I am so excited for more fun holiday celebrations out at the farmhouse.