Another Christmas

We spent a lot of our holiday with the Gray family. Christmas eve and Christmas day were spent running around with cousins, eating lots of sugar (none of which came from Santa to my two littles, because we knew there would be plenty elsewhere...) and playing with all of Grammy's toys. There is something different about playing with the toys and Grammy's, even when you have the same toys at home. It is just more fun when you get to play at Grammy's, and the children all know it. 

Grandma and Grandpa Gray gave all the grandkids these fun plush animals for Christmas this year. Wesley now has a lion named Dragon (he named it, not us....funny boy), and Liliane has a giraffe named Chloe. They have so adored these new fun fuzzy friends. It was so thoughtful of Grandma and Grandpa to do this for them. They know that we never expect anything from them, yet they always go out of their way to provide a little something fun for the children. 
I took this picture just after Santa came to our house. Simplicity was key this Christmas at our house. We kept the "stuff" to a minimum and tried hard to think of useful and cost-conscious gifts that we could do for our children. The Doll-house was built by Jordan with the special help of one of Santa's elves. We wanted to do something fun so this is what we came up with. Jordan built it out of left-over lumber and used paint that we already had to finish it. We then found some leftover fabric to use to cover the backs so the floral design is actually fabric. Under the tree there was a set of furniture to furnish the whole house, along with 2 barbie dolls (purchased on Black Friday for a screaming $8 each!) for her to play with and bring the whole thing together. She has played with the dollhouse and barbies non-stop since Christmas morning. 

As Wesley is only 2 and is still a bit clueless on the whole Santa thing, "Santa" brought him a Mater RC car from Cars. He has always loved watching Jordan play with the big-boy RCs, so we thought it would be fun for Wesley to have one of his own. Wesley is loving that he gets to be just like Jordan. 

I have to say, I loved this Christmas! I love that we didn't have to spend a fortune to make it memorable. I love that we didn't have to stress out about the financial obligations because we decided in advance to just keep things simple. I think making that choice early on made it easier to focus on the real meaning, and helped us in reflecting on the Savior, his life, and his gift to us. While we were at my parents house on Sunday (December 23, 2012) my mom shared with us a special story that has been a little tradition in our family to re-read every year. I know the story by the title, "Teach the Children", but it has other names, too.

 I love this story because it breaks down the elements of Christmas and gives their symbolism. Because of that I think it makes it easier for the children to learn from because it isn't deep doctrine; it's simple and to the point, yet very thought-provoking. It was neat to gather around my mom, all of us children now grown with our own families, and hear her share this story again. I loved it.