OK, so our little guys turned 8. They get really excited about their birthday coming around, and even though they are Christmas Eve babies that open presents two days in a row, they never feel jipped. They feel doubly blessed and that's exactly what they are to us. A double blessing!
Their older siblings get extremely excited for them and they remember that in just one day, they'll have presents of their own to open.
Look at these cutie patooties!
I made a cake with vanilla pudding and bananas on top. Once the candles are blown out, and the cake is cut, the whipped cream is put on top. I had made two cakes for them in late November when we had their birthday party. It's the first time we ever celebrated them that early so that their friends could be there. Birthdays so close to Christmas are challenging, but we make it work.
Happy 8th Birthday, Grant and Cooper!
One day before we celebrated our twins, my Aunt Judy and "Aunt" Betsy arrived from New Jersey. I say "Aunt" because she is my mom's cousin. I'd rather show respect by calling her Aunt Betsy and she doesn't seem to mind. :-)
On the night of Christmas Eve, we traditionally open one gift and it's new pajamas! It's so much fun to get new ones.
And you just have to get a photo in front of the Christmas tree with them on.
On Christmas morning, this is what the kids woke up to...
and lots of presents.
The kids each buy a small gift for each other and Mommy & Daddy. They really love giving gifts to everyone.
Austin received this "Manchester United" mug.
My morning coffee and a gift from one of the children.
Braaten & Austin
Shawn was totally posing for this one as Melanie gave him his gift from Germany.
Braaten loving on the boys. She is a wonderful big sister.
Cooper is keeping track of all the great gifts he is receiving.
And Grant is rocking it out with his new guitar.
Fletch just loves to be in the middle of it all.
After the lengthy process of opening presents, we had ham strada for breakfast. Later on in the day, we baked a ham and had roasted potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and carrots. We each had a Christmas cracker which is a small gift that pops when you pull it. Inside each of them is a paper crown that everyone wears along with a little cheesy prize. It's traditional for the English to have these.
My Aunt Betsy is sitting next to me and Aunt Judy is across from me. They like the idea of the Christmas crackers and love being around the children as the magic of Christmas happens. We love being around them, too, as they share memories of days gone by. Their presence reminds me so much of my mom and gets me talking fondly of her. Some of the phrases they use are exactly what my mom used to say and it brings a tear to my eye and joy in my heart. Both my parents are missed incredibly.
Melanie was reading the joke & brain teaser found in each of the crackers.
The day after Christmas, we took the aunts to Wales. As they sat in the car at one particular point, they nervously watched Braaten pose as though she was falling down the side of mountain. Calm down, Aunt Jude, it's just a good photo op.
Beautiful Llangollen, Wales
Aunt Judy is smiling from afar as she sees Shawn capture her in this photo.
I love seeing her smiling and happy. It wasn't long ago that my Uncle Lenny passed away (in February of this year) and the holidays always make us reflect on those we love that have gone before us. She is strong and is doing really well.
Smile, Aunt Betsy. Both aunts don't like their pictures taken, but we love to take pictures. We win!
Melanie asked me to take a video with her new video camera.
Today both aunts took a train to Edinburgh, Scotland for a couple of days. They'll be back to help us ring in the New Year and will continue their European adventures on January 2nd.