Laps overflowing with love...

Bud and Honey
Will (4), Emma (2), Owen (7) and Clay (5)
Taken Christmas Day, 2011

Back blogging...

I was really hoping to start my new year off with a fresh blogging start...but here I am again...playing catch up! I just can't seem to keep all my balls in the air...I just keep dropping something and to be honest, blogging has been the one who falls to the ground most often! :) So here is a quick catch up on the Holiday Season at the Knight House!

Though Larry and I were busy decorating, putting up lights on the house, cooking, baking, etc..the REAL fun began when the kids showed up on Saturday, Christmas Eve. They all arrived at the house within 10 minutes of each other...David, Ashley and Emma arriving from Mansfield and Zach, Meg, Owen, Clay and will arriving from a few blocks over! :) Larry and I had been super busy in the kitchen. If I haven't mentioned it on here before, I am in love with Pinterest. I have a very big board of recipes to try. I have been trying to at least try one recipe a week...but I thought during the holidays I would try as many as I could. :) Good excuse! So, we fixed a big brunch for everyone and all the recipes were new and some quickly became new favorites! :)

Here is the table before the crew arrived....

And here we are busy doing what we love to do...eat! And yummy new recipes!

Then it was time for one of our favorite and oldest traditions. The Christmas Eve Morning Hunt. Not a terrible original and clever name...we have great traditions but we sure need to work on their names!
Here is the tradition explained. The little kids went first. In the past, I have taken pictures of things around the house that I knew the little ones could find but this year I hid some really cute paper Santa's around the house. I would show them a sample of one and tell them the room to find them in and off they would go. They were really sweet to help each other. We got tickled because we had told the boys to be sweet and help Emma. But it quickly because obvious that she didn't need help and was spotting them right along with the boys. After they found all their Santa's, they went to the couch (which has become a tradition! The boys think they need to get in the couch ANYTIME there is a surprise and close their eyes and hold out their hands!) so off they went and I love this picture that David captured of Emma...she at least had the hold out the hands part! :)

Here are the four digging into their gifts!
While the "big kids" wrote the next chapter in their crazy Christmas Story (which they did an amazing job once again...talented group!) the kids and I played Emma's game. 
We originally had planned to make gingerbread houses but everyone was having such fun relaxing and playing games with the kids so we decided to not try to rush through another activity. We spent the afternoon relaxing, visiting and then got ready for our annual Christmas Eve with my brother and his family. We had such a good time. We had our traditional snack food buffet, which is always a big hit. Then my brother read our Christmas book this year with some help from Owen and Clay. Afterwards, we played Bingo, yes, another tradition. We all bring an amazing and awesome wrapped $5 gift and fight it out to come away with the best gift of the year! This year, I played Christmas Bingo with the little   ones. I think they were so excited to get to play too and of course had fun picking out a gift from the little wrapped packages. 
After the party, we got the kids in their Christmas PJ's and off to bed. We had a chance to visit as adults before heading to bed ourselves. It was so fun because Zach, Meg and the boys spent the night as well. Christmas morning started with hot coffee, a beautiful fire in the fireplace and a very sweet and memorable devotional with our family. David did our communion thoughts, Zach and Meg shared the Christmas Story with a really sweet video. We sang songs and prayed as a family. It was precious. 
Then the little ones opened Christmas presents, it is always such fun to watch! Here are a few pictures of the fun!
 I love how it doesn't matter who is opening a gift, the kids get so excited for one another!
 Clay opening his set of Lego's. The boys had a Lego Christmas this year and it was a huge hit!
 Owen's turn!
 Emma sporting her new apron! She got lots of goodies to go with the kitchen Santa brought her!
Will opening one of his gifts.
After the kids opened their packages, we stopped for brunch. We have a very traditional meal...French Toast Casserole and Bacon-Mushroom Strata Casserole (thank you Pioneer Woman) plus sausage and lots of drink choices. The kids were very excited to have Chocolate Milk! :)
Another tradition...we always have new ornaments on the plates for each child and the couples.
As is the tradition (I know...another tradition) the little kids got an ornament to reflect the theme of their birthday in 2011. Thus, Owen got a Lego ornament, Clay a fishing ornament, Will a Superhero ornament and Emma a monkey. David and Ashley got a New York Ornament to reflect their trip to NYC and Zach and Meg got a pop up trailer ornament to reflect their love for taking their family on camping trips each year. 
Then it was back to one of our families very favorite parts of Christmas...STOCKINGS!!!
Afterward the little ones had finished opening all their goodies, the adults exchanged gifts. This year we made the decision to really cut back on our giving. Because we are all so blessed and truly don't need a thing! Even though in my heart I know this is a good thing, it was really hard for me not to stuff my kids stockings...after all we have been doing that for 30 plus years. Each adult was to buy a $5 gift for every adult. It was amazing to me how creative everyone was in their gift giving. Lots of fun little treats! We enjoyed playing with the kids for the next several hours...the boys were so excited to put together their Legos! I am pretty sure the adults had just as much fun. 
We spent the afternoon playing, visiting, snacking and enjoying our time together to the fullest.
That evening we drove to Hawley and celebrated Christmas with Larry's family 
It was fun to see everyone and of course, we ate. We always eat. 
Monday morning, Meg, Ashley and  I did a little after Christmas shopping. The nice thing was we had fun but certainly didn't take the shopping too serious! It was fun to find a few things to tuck away for next year! We returned to the house and fixed lunch. 
It was another relaxing afternoon of playing, visiting and vegging! 
Late afternoon the fun had to come to an end as David, Ashley and Emma packed up and headed back to Mansfield and Zach, Meg and the boys headed back to their house.
We are so very blessed.
We cherish these times and always enjoy our children being home for the holidays!