We had a wonderful Christmas this year. My parents came to visit us the week before Christmas, so we started celebrating early. (Taylor asked why we still had our Christmas tree up - on December 23rd! He thought we were already finished with Christmas.) While Jeff and Julie were here, we harvested and decorated our Christmas tree, saw Portland's Christmas Ship Fleet from The Old Spaghetti Factory, enjoyed "his and hers" shopping (the girls went to the mall, the guys went to gun shows and outdoors stores), and enjoyed lots of gift giving. The highlight of gift giving was the play structure with swings and a slide that my parents got for the boys. Jeff and Jeremy put it together during nap time, then the boys got to go outside and discover it! They had seen part of it peeking over our fence, so I don't know how truly surprised they were, but at any rate, they love it!
When Christmas Eve arrived, we had a fun afternoon indoctrinating our kids into the mind-numbing culture of video games by letting them play a "Cars" racing game on Jeremy's X-Box. They thoroughly enjoyed the special treat. (Maybe we'll keep it as a Christmas tradition - preserve their brains by limiting video games to one day a year! :-) After a fun finger-food dinner, we debated how many presents we should open (our family traditions differ on this point) and we all ended up opening one gift. The boys each got a playdough extruder so we could have a fun new family activity to occupy us until bedtime. On Christmas morning, the boys were excited to open their stockings. Then, when they walked into the dining room for breakfast, Taylor was surprised to see his first "big kid" bike sitting on the table! It was a lot of fun! The weather was fairly mild, so he got to try out his new bike. Of course, there were other wonderful gifts, too, but the best gift of all was being able to share the wonderful news of our Savior's birth with our boys. Speaking of the Christmas story, Taylor was a shepherd in the Christmas pageant on Christmas Eve. We mostly saw the top of his head, but managed to get a few pictures of him peeking over the taller kids.