On Christmas Eve, we drove down to the Plaza (a famous shopping district in KC) to enjoy the beautiful lights and share our Christmas Eve tradition of eating out with Grandma and Grandpa -- we chose the Cheesecake Factory, which everyone knows is the one place on earth that makes food specifically designed to taste like heaven.
We would have enjoyed the beautiful lights, fountains, and architecture, but it was so darn cold that we could do nothing but scamper as fast as we could to the restaurant! My parents said they gained a new appreciation for the cold of the Midwest. It really is different. It's so cold that it feels like it's cutting you sometimes -- not so friendly for these desert rats!
We had the most wonderful dinner! I did feel some small measure of guilt, because Christmas Eve is, after all, my favorite little brothers birthday, and this was his first ever without a delicious turkey dinner cooked by his Mom. But I got over that fast! The food was amazing and the company was better:
Thank heavens we had two extra pairs of hands to help us get ready for Christmas morning! I think we would have been up all night without Mom and Dad's help. But we finished up about two and went right to sleep so that Santa could come and do his magic! And he did. The Double B and I woke up a little before six to the happy sound of tiny squeals and scuffles outside of our closed door. By the time we made it out there, there was so serious playing being accomplished on Katee's new play kitchen, and examining all the wrapped presents. Isn't Christmas the most magic morning on Earth? So awesome.
Unwrapping was a blast, everyone got something their heart desired. KJ especially enjoyed this awesome R2-D2 from Uncle Matt and Aunt Karen:
I'm sorry, but this picture cracks me up... Kate was just having the time of her life cooking things up for all of us, wearing her new Cinderella slippers and the bows Aunt Karen made her at strange angles:
Daddy worked really hard the weeks before Christmas making Olivia and Katelyn a beautiful doll house -- which was a double sacrifice, since he was already pulling massive hours over the holidays at work. But it was worth it, he loves working with his hands and it is something that will be special for years to come. And they LOVE it, it has been played with every day since:
Katelyn tapping her toes to Mom's new Beach Boys CD:
Olivia got the true desire of her heart -- an American Girl doll that looks just like her! Thank heavens Santa pulled through at the last minute! He even hid it behind her doll house, so she was double surprised to get it. She loves, loves, loves it, so it was worth all that extra umph Santa put in to making it a reality. Olivia is pretty sure Santa made her little look-alike a little bit magical. And guess what she named her? Olivia, Jr. That's right. So now we have Olivia and Olivia, Jr... it can get a little confusing around here:
Grandma and Grandpa were so confident Santa would pull through that they very kindly got Olivia and Olivia Jr. matching shirts -- and a tiny guitar for Olivia Jr., just like Olivia's guitar! Pretty lucky. Grandma B knew about the doll house and sent Liv some awesome doll furniture, so I think Livi can mark this year down as a raging success.
KJ got a HUGE Lego Star Wars set that took him and Daddy hours to put together -- his biggest set yet. They love to work on them together, so I'm not really sure who had more fun.
This is one of my favorite pics of KJ ever. I just love that kid so much. I learned this year that it is going to be trickier then ever to surprise him for Christmas... he accidently found out a few of his gifts in advance. Oh, brother. This does make Santa's job somewhat trickier!
Yummy French toast breakfast! French Toast by Daddy the expert, and the best scrambled eggs since Granny herself made by Grandma. Of course, Grandpa didn't get to enjoy too many meals with his lap to himself, but that's what you get when you're awesome:
We spent the day relaxing, enjoying our new toys, talking to siblings, and feeling the great love of family. It was pretty much the best Christmas ever!