On Christmas morning, we woke up to our most favorite breakfast in the world - Grammie's Tea Ring!! (Samuel had sneakily eaten all the cherries off the top the night before, hahaa!)
We snuggled together as the kids woke up. It's our tradition for starting off almost all of our days..
..and then got excited when we saw Santa had enjoyed his cookies and milk!! He even left a note!! (I'm always so surprised at how much the kids enjoy this!! Even knowing that Daddy is Santa doesn't take away from their excitement and joy.. they love playing the game as much as we do!!)
Along with all the goodness that Christmas Day brings, it's a double dose of special for our family, as it's also Samuel's birthday!!!
This sweet boy turned 2 years old this Christmas!! He is every bit as scrumptious, mischievous, and lovable as he looks!! He is more of a handful than I remember any of my others being, especially when he climbs to the top of his dresser and calls for me to come see because he is so proud of himself or when he takes off his diaper and brings it to me to show me all of his poop. Grrrrr, haha!! He is something else!! Something wonderful. Something precious. Something absolutely edible.
Wade made sausage (both patties and links, because, hey! Why not??) and scrambled eggs to go with Grammie's tea ring!!
Samuel sure looks pleased with his birthday breakfast of champions!!
After everyone ate, we went to the living room, sat in a circle and got ready to open our presents!! Stockings first!!
Remember how last year, Grant got pot holders?! Hahaa, well, this year Samuel got a spoon.. and look at that face!!! He loved it!!! And it's something practical we can all use! WIN WIN!! ;)) He waved that spoon around all day!!
Everyone emptied out their stockings..
..and then we started with gifts from under the tree!! Savannah went first and opened a fancy hairbrush - something she had been asking for and been wanting!! I love seeing their faces when they realize we have been listening and remembering all the things they've wished for!!
Probably my most favorite gift we gave this year was to Vannie. She had talked all summer about a sno-cone maker that was $40 at the Dollar General and could she please, please, please have it?! We said nooooo all year, unless she wanted to earn the money and buy it herself. (To which she replied, "I have 2 dollars and Sadie and Rylie said they have 38! We can just all split it.. Ha!!) Every trip to the DG that whole summer, we had to tell Van she was not getting that sno-cone machine!! Once the cooler weather arrived, she stopped asking for it.
I was looking for one last gift for her when suddenly, I remembered!! I knew exactly what to get!! I ordered one from Amazon and it came in only a day or two before Christmas, so she didn't really even have the chance to shake the box and wonder what it was. I simply handed it to her, her last Christmas gift to unwrap.. And her gigantic smile was worth all forty of those dollars!! ;))
Free sno cones all summer long, y'all!!
Daddy picked out Grant's last gift..
And boy, did he love his brand new tent!!
Andrew was most excited about his new walky-talkies!!!
Hello, cutest gift there ever was!!!!!!
Wade and I are obsessed with this girl on a PBS cooking show.. we like her so much and one day, we WILL VISIT her restaurant. Until then, though, her cookbook will have to do. ;))
Last, but not least, it was Samuel's turn to open his big gift!!
He had lots of friends to help, too.
It may not look like it here, but Samuel squealed when he saw this rider and rode it for miles around our house!! It's his favorite!!
Nothing like eating sno-cones on Christmas!!
We went outside and played Uncle Wiggily together!!
This bring back memories for anyone else?!?!
That night, we had a Christmas service at church. And of course, I made everyone dress in red. ;))
Merry Christmas 2016 from our Poole Party (of almost SEVEN!!)
After a beautiful service together, we went home and Wade began preparing dinner. I love having a husband who cooks.. I know I say it all the time, but goodness, that was as much of a Christmas gift as any of the others I got!! It's so nice to let him take over.. and know it'll be a perfect meal. Samuel agrees:
Everyone's request for Christmas dinner?? RIBS!!!!
This girl can eat her weight in ribs and that's no joke!! Her husband had better come over for barbecuing lessons, ha!!
Thank you, my Wadie!! This is such a gift!!
Nana and Paw stopped over after dinner to deliver Savannah's Christmas gift..
AN IPAD!!!!!!!!! Y'all, this was a really good year for Vannie, hahaa!!
And then we all had sno-cones together for dessert!!
The next morning, Kurt, Mandy and the boys drove over to visit!! We all had lunch on the deck..
And Samuel got in lots of extra birthday snuggles. He clearly enjoyed them.. ;))
Our whole Christmas season had been one of intention, instead of the normal rushing about. It was simple and savored and made for such a sweet time together. While it was hectic in its own way (is life with 4 small children ever NOT hectic?? Ha!), it was so nice to attend a limited amount of parties and play dates, shop online, and spend as much time as we could in our polar bear jammies, eating Nan's Chex Mix and Grammie's Tea Ring, sitting and reading by the fire, and never letting the coffee or hot chocolate grow cold.
I read somewhere that you don't have to have the perfect Christmas tree, throw the best parties, or do the most spiritual advent. Instead, this season, just focus on leading one heart to Jesus. And that became my goal: to not let the gifts, cookies, and wrapping overtake what really matters. This is our only family. This is our only Christmas 2016. This is when it counts.
And y'all. To focus on Jesus, His love and His sacrifice.. and less on ourselves, our traditions, our normal holiday activities.. was the best gift we gave to each other this year.