Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Five MORE Christmases

Get excited... Christmases #6-10! What a whirlwind holiday this was for us!! We celebrated Christmas TEN times and each one was remarkably special and fun, and made us feel absolutely, positively loved. What more could we possibly ask for?! If you missed the first five Christmases, you can read about them here. Enjoy!

Didn't get any pictures of Christmas #6 so
 you get our little Rylee posing in front of the tree!
Christmas #6. Let me tell you, Christmas #6 was quite a celebration! We enjoyed "Stocking Night" with the Triplett/Lamle/King/Morgan/Vaughn/Doyle families... (A big thanks to Rosalind for writing all those names out for me so that I didn't accidentally leave anyone out!) This was my first time to celebrate the holidays with Brandon's stepmom's side of the family. I mentioned in an earlier post how blessed Brandon and I feel to be a part of such a wonderful blended family and that feeling was reinforced by yet another amazing holiday. What a celebration it was?! Loads of yummy foods, tons of beautiful presents, sparkling Christmas trees in every room... but the best part of it all, was just the overwhelming feeling of being loved. The Triplett/Lamle/King/Morgan/Vaughn/Doyle family (Ok, now I'm just typing it all out because all the /'s are fun to write!) is truly overflowing with love! What I've noticed and have been most impressed by is how freely they give it - no hesitation, no reservation, no need for it to be earned - it is simply a gift from them to you with zero strings attached. I can't think of anything better! Everytime Brandon and I see them, we get in the car and we just talk the whole way home about how much we  enjoy their company, how much fun we always have and how much we appreciate their kindness, generosity, love and friendship! (**The real trick is getting us to get in our car because we tend to be the last ones to leave everytime - we just can't get enough!!) So, thank you Triplett/Lamle/King/Morgan/Vaughn/Doyle family for always making us feel so loved. We are so thankful for you and it is our great hope that you all feel as loved as we do!

Cousin Picture at the Ranch!
Blythe, Casey, Lyndsey, Brooks, Haley, Jake, Levi, Callie, Blake,
Brandon, Raegan, Zoe, Zac, Denver, Hayden, Maggie
Just missing: Ryan and the Anderson crew!
Christmas #7. This was kind of a quick one... Long story short, Brandon was on call on Christmas Eve night from 7pm-7am and my Rogers family (dad's side) always gets together that day... so, we were out of luck and I was bummed. We already missed the first Thanksgiving back at the Ranch and now we'd be missing Christmas too. Then Brandon had the great idea that we could drive to my hometown after Christmas #6 (which meant leaving for the 2.5 hour drive sometime around 11pm) and catch lunch with my family before hurrying him back to the hospital. Do I have a good man or what?! So we called my grandma and she moved Christmas lunch up a few hours and we hit the road... We were having so much fun at Christmas #6 that we didn't leave as early as planned so we didn't make it back until around 2:30am but when we pulled up, we could see my little brother waving through the window! He'd waited up for us!! Nobody knew we were coming except for my brother and grandma, so it was really funny when my parents woke up and were greeted by our little Rylee dog... They were so surprised! Christmas at the Ranch was wonderful - I always love time with my precious family. This Christmas was marked with lots of trash talk over the OU/Iowa game (my two cousins married two Hawkeyes... it's unfortunate, I know), oohing and awwing over little Miss Blake, huge hugs from my brother when he realized that the box with his name on it was full of cases of Monster (my brother may have a slight addiction to this energy drink), and lots and lots of laughter over old stories.

Zoe and her piggy bank
But my favorite story from this Christmas came from our little niece Zoe (3 yrs old)... Earlier in the week, Brandon asked Miss Priss what she wanted for Christmas and to everyone's surprise she said she wanted a piggy bank. When asked why she wanted a piggy bank she replied in her high pitched, whiny voice, "Because I had one and my daddy broke it and took ALL MY MOOOONEY!" (Ryan swears this didn't happen) It quickly became Uncle Brandon's mission to buy Little Z a new piggy bank. In our family we all open presents one at a time and Zoe's piggy bank randomly happened to be the last gift that was opened and I really thought this was one of those things little kids say they want and then never think of again. Boy, was I wrong. She pulled open the tissue paper and shrieked, "Piggy Bank!!" and immediately hugged it! Cutest. Thing. Ever. Of course, we had put some change in it and so she loudly told everyone, "and it already has money in it!" Well, everyone was laughing about how excited she was and then one of my uncles told her he thought he might have something for her to put in her new piggy bank. Quickly, everyone started digging in their pockets for change! It took ten minutes for her to collect all her money and she kept telling everyone, "It's getting reallllly heavy!" Seriously, our hearts were melting. Wouldn't you know, a $10 piggy bank would steal the Christmas show!

My cute husband with his new backpack... 
Christmas #8. This was the most low key of all the Christmases, but equally wonderful. Christmas #8 was celebrated on Christmas morning with my sweet husband. I wanted to make our first married Christmas special, so while B was at the hospital I stayed up late making home made cinnamon rolls for the first time. (Courtesy of Pioneer Woman) Something about using yeast made me feel like a real life cook!! Haha! They turned out yummy (Woohoo, big relief!) and we quickly scarfed them down before opening our presents for each other. Brandon bought me wonderfully thoughtful gifts... I collect Christopher Radko ornaments (They make up the tiny tree, that I tragically never got time to post) and he sweetly bought me the "Our First Christmas" one. I absolutely loved it! He also got me stationary with my new name - I'm a stationary junkie and he totally nailed that gift! I loved them too! I also had looked all over the free world (Brandon always asks me why is it "free world" instead of the "whole world?" I don't know, but I can't stop saying it that way!!) for crown ornaments and couldn't find them anywhere... Apparently I should have looked at the hospital gift shop because that's where Brandon found them, go figure! They were so pretty and I can't wait to deck out Christmas tree #3 with them next year! 

My pretty canisters!! I LOVE them!
And last but certainly not least, he bought me MacKenzie Childs canisters... They just make my heart smile! My husband is such a good listener! I had told him once that my mom had canisters for flour, sugar and powdered sugar in her kitchen and something about the fact that she uses those three ingredients enough that she doesn't just keep them in the bag made it seem like her kitchen was legit. (This probably stems from the fact that when I lived by myself I wouldn't buy a bag of flour for months and months and months. One normal size bag would last me all year because I never cooked!) So, my man bought me canisters to ensure that I feel like a legit cook and anybody that comes over will know our kitchen gets used! (And then he added a cherry on top by purchasing the MacKenzie Childs canisters... I am slightly obsessed with her adorable black/white checks!) He makes me laugh! I am always in awe of how thoughtful his gifts are - he always picks things that I love! {In case you were wondering, my stocking stuffers for him weren't nearly as good so they aren't really worth discussing... but I bought him a new backpack for our trip to Europe!! I think he liked it!}

New scary toys for the boys... and yes, Zac is playing a harmonica. 
Christmas #9. The craziest thing about the last five Christmases is the short amount of time they all took place in - Five Christmases and over ten hours of driving in three days! Sorry for partyin'. This Christmas was with my parents and brother. We made it back in time for a little brunch and then presents. We always start by reading the story of the birth of Jesus and one of my mom's favorite Christmas books - A Cup of Christmas Tea. Definitely one of my favorite traditions! Then we start with the presents... we go from youngest to oldest, one at a time. I know, that some people hate doing it this way and it isn't very efficient, but I LOVE watching the gift opening process! This Christmas, since it was our first to celebrate with TWO boys, (Zac and Brandon, if you're falling behind) there was lots of "Man Stuff" - knives, gun accessories, binoculars, scopes, etc. Looking back on Christmas #9, I think the thing I am most thankful for is how well Brandon and my family mesh... It's like he's always been with us! He and Zac gang up on me... he and my dad talk up hunting... my mom clearly adores him and you can tell the feeling is mutual... he feels comfortable being sarcastic with us (Having a good sense of humor is kind of key, if you can't take a little joke you're going to be in big trouble)... even my parents' dog likes him! It really is the best feeling knowing that the people that have always been the most important thing in your life love the man that has taken over that role and vice versa. The fact that my family loves, adores and respects Brandon makes me really happy. The fact that he loves, adores and respects my family makes me very proud. Life is good at the Rogers/King house.

The master storyteller... 
Christmas #10. Last, but certainly not least, Christmas with my Walters grandparents (My mom's parents). Because my mom is an only child and therefore, we are the only grandchildren, we have always spent Christmas day with my Walters grandparents... it's always one I look forward to because my Grandma can cook! She always serves up a grand feast and I always love to eat off her beautiful gold Christmas china (Have I mentioned that I love me some dishes?!). After dinner we typically just sit around the table listening to my Papa vividly tell his stories about horse races or basketball for quite a while! I enjoy his stories... I always wish I could get them on video because my favorite part is the way he tells the story - If there is something funny, he'll start laughing before he even gets to the punch line. If it's something impressive like a big win, he'll look away from you and start nodding his head and then when it gets to the impressive part he'll look you straight in the eyes so you'll know he isn't lying (Although it may be a tad bit exaggerated). He is a good story teller... but he's even better at praying! Oh I LOVE to listen to my sweet Papa pray! He became a Christian about 6 or 7 years ago and I think because he hasn't heard "churchy" prayers his whole life, he doesn't get caught up in the "churchy jargon." He talks to God just like he'd talk to you or me. He tells God stories in his prayers (typically basketball) but they have a point, it just may take him a minute to get to. They are the sweetest, most genuine prayers in the whole world. They are easily one of my favorite things in life and each time I hear him pray, I am reminded that God isn't impressed by my vocabulary... he'd much rather me just talk to him like normal. (sorry that was a rabbit chase if I've ever seen one!) 

Anyway, Christmas was great as usual... we were showered with wonderful presents! I always get a nutcracker every year and this year's was one of my favorites... a Doctor nutcracker! He was so cute! We also had the Thunder game on (It wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't watch a little basketball) and we all cracked up as the boys would start to celebrate when KD did something good and then they'd try to pull it off as though they were watching... {Example: Perkins blocks a shot - Zac, "Get out of here... bow on the package." KD hits a three pointer - Brandon, "Niiiice... wrapping job Tena." My favorite was a really big play where everyone yelled "YAY... a scarf!"} Christmas #10 was a slam dunk, sorry pun intended.

So that concludes ALL of our Christmas celebrations!! What a blessed holiday we had! The gifts were all wonderful, and greatly appreciated, but the joy of being surrounded by so many people we love was hands down the best part. Brandon and I consider our 1st Christmas a smashing success!!

Be Blessed,

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