That meant that before going to bed on our first night back home as a family, Ellie and I put out some milk and cookies for Santa.
Leaving cookies by the fireplace
Then, lo and behold, Santa came down our chimney and piled the presents under our tree!
Wow! Thanks, Santa!
He filled our stockings, too!
He also left an extra one in the kitchen:
Well, that's intriguing!
The next morning, E.J. was awake first, so he got the first look at the tree and presents.
E.J.'s first look at his first Christmas tree!
Checking it all out
Hey there, Mr. First Christmas!
For whatever reason, Ellie slept in suuuuper late (for her) that morning. We actually finally woke her up at 9:20! She was excited to see that Santa had been to our house!
Here she comes!
So, it was time to open gifts! We got started with stockings first.
Ellie with her stocking
E.J. with his
Then we moved on to the rest of the gifts. Eric and I opted to not really exchange gifts this year, in light of our Disney trip just a week or so later. The kids got some nice things from Santa/us, though! Ellie got a bunch of Doc McStuffins stuff, including new pajamas that she barely removed for like a week, a new bathrobe, a new shirt for Disney, and a play cookie set. E.J. got a bunch of stuff geared towards starting solid foods, including a new high chair, bibs and bowls, plus a copy of "Where the Wild Things Are." My mom and cousin Molly also had their gifts for the kids sent here, so they opened those up, too.
Ellie opening gifts! When she saw her very first gift (a tiny one in her stocking) wrapped in this Doc paper, she said, "This Doc present is my FAVORITE present!"
E.J. testing out his soft new mat from Grammy and Grandpa Gary
Modeling my gift from Ellie - a Belle crown that she picked out for me!
Eric and E.J. reading E.J.'s new book
Ellie checking out her new tea set from Grammy
E.J. showing off his new high chair
Eric and I may not have exchanged full gifts, but we did continue our ornament exchange tradition. Everyone in our family gets a new Christmas ornament every year. This year, Eric got me a beautiful angel with a nativity scene on it. I got him a Millenium Falcon that lights up. Ellie got a "Dr. Ellie" ornament, complete with stethoscope and clipboard, and E.J. got a Declaration of Independence (because, of course, he "declared his independence" of sorts on the Fourth of July this year!).
Our new ornaments!
Ellie admiring her ornament
E.J. showing off his ornament
When there was nothing left to open under the tree, we made our way to the kitchen to open that one last gift that Santa left for Ellie and E.J.:
Open it up, Ellie!
Ta-da! A new play kitchen!
Hooray! Play kitchen!
Eric and I worked hard before our Christmas travels to give a plain Ikea play kitchen a little makeover. We painted the wood pieces white, painted the "appliances" with stainless steel spraypaint, added oven knobs, painted the countertop blue and the inner cubbies red, and painted the sides with chalkboard paint. I also painted a piece of plywood to look like tile to serve as a backsplash, and we put some adhesive push lights over the sink and stove. It was one of those projects that seemed simple and fun ahead of time, and then I got going with it and was all, "This is dumb, the kids would've loved it just as much straight out of the box, I regret everything," but ultimately I was really happy with the finished product, and I'm glad we fancied it up!
The original Ikea version of the kitchen on the left, and our updated version on the right!
Better look at my tile backsplash
The oven, with "holiday cookies" baking inside!
Ellie's reaction was great, too. She looked it all over then stepped back and said, "I love it!" So, yay! She also got right to work, slaving over a hot stove.
Christmas dinner isn't going to prepare itself, now is it?
Eric and I also got to work in the kitchen: I made french toast for breakfast, while Eric prepared the lasagna for dinner that evening (with homemade sauce, of course).
The rest of our Christmas was spent casually around the house. We all stayed in our pajamas all day, and spent the rest of the afternoon playing with new toys, napping, and just enjoying being back together.
Ellie sharing her new Doc McStuffins lip gloss with Daddy
We had our delicious lasagna dinner that evening - it was probably Eric's best lasagna to date!
E.J. looks ready! Just another year to wait, little guy!
Ready for Christmas dinner!
What a nice (belated) family Christmas!