but Thank the Lord, it didn’t and we were able to pull ourselves together after our crazy Christmas Eve to have a wonderful and (gasp!) stress free Christmas!
The girls slept until 8 am, which was a present all on its own. I was up before them and was able to spend some quiet time with the Lord on His birthday prior to the girls getting up and it was wonderful. I snapped a few pictures of our tree and just waited in the quiet for the craziness to begin…
Once the girls got up we made them wait while we got our cups of coffee ready and then we let them start opening their gifts. We made a commitment this year to getting each of the girls a few things that we knew they both needed and would LOVE, instead of bombarding them with a bunch of different things that we felt like they might enjoy. It turned out to be the most pleasant Christmas morning we have had yet as a family. The girls took their time with each gift and seemed equally enthralled with each one. I had so much fun watching them open them, and Matt and I received some really special things ourselves. I bought the new hunting day pack that Matt REALLY wanted from the girls this year, and he turned around and bought me the cast iron dutch oven I have been pining for since our first camping trip 6 months ago. And while that should have been my FAVORITE present, Gabbi gave me a little key chain with a letter about how proud she is of me for never giving up when life is hard that definitely took the top spot.
We let the girls sit and think that they were done receiving gifts for a few minutes before we walked them back to their play room. Matt and I had been working for a few months on a kitchen made out of old end tables and we couldn’t believe that the moment had come to show them! I don’t have any idea how we managed to hide this gift from them for all this time, but they had NO IDEA.
We have been blessed to have a membership to Strong Museum each year, and we tend to take the girls there often. The last few times that we have gone we spent nearly the entire time in the old kitchen that they have in the middle. We have had a plastic kitchen for awhile, but it didn’t hold a candle to the kitchen set up at the museum and we knew we just had to do something for the girls where they could have more fun playing house at home. So, in addition to the kitchen, we created a new dress up wardrobe to add to the play room. We were gifted with a wonderful little kids table and we cut up a set of sheets that didn’t fit any of the beds in our house and turned it into a cover for the plastic table and chairs. We left the couch out there and the TV and now the girls have their own playhouse inside our house! The best part is that is ENTIRE gift cost us less that $50. We sanded down the end tables and painted them with fresh coats of paint. Once we decided which table would work best for each piece, we got to work on the details. Matt handled sawing the hole in the top of one table for the sink, and we glued in (with some SERIOUS glue) a bowl to be the sink. The faucet is also glued down off to the side and the girls can really turn the handles. I got to work painting the top and front of the table picked to be the stove to make it look a bit more realistic. We stocked the fridge/pantry with dishes, utensils and pans picked up at a rummage sale, along with some empty food containers that we have been collecting and cleaning out over time! My mom completed their kitchen with some pretend food and a wooden sushi set.
For the wardrobe, we just removed some shelves from a bookshelf we already owned. We hung 8 hooks on the inside using command hooks (this way we can turn it back into a bookshelf later on once the girls outgrow it). We kept one shelf in to separate the hanging section from the two drawers at the bottom. We hung up their dresses on the hooks and filled the drawers full of a bunch of dress up accessories!
The girl’s reaction was even more than we could have wished for! They jumped up and down, thanked us 1000 times and immediately began a game of house that lasted a little over 2 hours. I am so excited to watch them continue to play and use their imaginations back there.
I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend wit my husband and girls, along with all of our extended family. I hope that everyone else had just as wonderful of a Christmas as we did! What were your kids favorite gifts this year? Did you get anything I should add to my list for next year!!??