pre-Christmas festivities

Our Christmas festivities started way back at the beginning of December. But with Christmas falling on a Tuesday, the weekend before was packed full of fun with our friends and family. I can’t tell you how much love and Christmas spirit filled that short span, it was enough to make my heart full before the 25th even arrived.

On Friday, we had dinner with Allen’s family. Braylen was looking forward to this all week long. She kept asking, How much more days ’til I see Bailey and Lawson? She adores her cousins and I love how happy she is to be able to spend time with them. I grabbed my camera on the way out and failed to include my memory card. I try to maintain this cool and calm, organized and put-together image, but it’s slowly fading. I’ve deeming 2013 my year of refocus. Actually, it was a nice change to be camera-free. I’m sure Cindy took some excellent photos that I plan on snagging from her later. I did take this picture on my phone of Braylen playing with her new tea set.

On Saturday, we went to Allen’s grandmother’s house to spend some time with her as a family. Allen’s grandfather passed away in May so it was important for us to be with her as much as possible during this tough season. Last year, I never thought that we would spend this Christmas without him, it clearly showed us how fragile life truly is. He always cherished Christmas and the excitement that it brought the grandchildren, I know he would have enjoyed this evening together.

Mawmaw cooked a yummy meal (including Allen’s favorite, dressing). Braylen kept us entertained with her medley of Christmas songs and her stellar dance moves. Then, everyone moved on to coloring, including a couple of “big kids.’

After leaving Mawmaw’s house, we headed straight to Mt. Fuji to meet up with Brooke and Josh for Reese’s birthday dinner. I think Braylen can eat more in one setting at a hibachi restaurant than she does in an entire week at home. Apparently I need to convert the cooktop in the kitchen to a hibachi grill and cook her rice for dinner.

We had a great time catching up with Josh and Brooke and Braylen was ecstatic that Reese shared her birthday desert. Sweet friends.

After church on Sunday, we had lunch with Debbie and Philip (and my parents, of course) and exchanged gifts. I need to document my sweet toddler because I might want to pull this memory out during her pre-teen years. One of her gifts was pajamas and she smiled so big as she pulled them from the box and exclaimed, “Pajamas! Just what I wanted!” Each and every time she opened a gift she was full of excitement and joy. She was thankful and gracious and I couldn’t be more proud of her sweet little heart. I hope she never loses that joy and excitement over the holidays, I hope she is always just as happy to spend time with family, gifts or not.

We wrapped up our weekend with pajamas and a movie with our neighbors. We really hit the jackpot with our neighbors when we moved into our new house this year. When we first met them back in May, we were thrilled to find out they had a three-year-old son, Brayden. Braylen quickly made a new friend and now they get together at least weekly to play.

Here’s the best picture I could manage before leaving our house. Braylen was way too excited to pose for a picture or I would have snagged a good picture of her adorable Christmas pajamas.

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