Joel's side of the family always celebrates on Christmas Eve and they have lots of traditions. We started the morning off with a huge, delicious brunch. Then we all got to open our stocking gifts. We each filled a stocking for someone else in the family and were supposed to pray for them throughout the year. Joel's parents filled stockings for all the kids. The grandkids always get pajamas in their stockings. The older three kids got cameras this year. I caught Ellie taking a picture of Cora's picture. So sweet. Levi slept through all of this. When he woke up from his nap, Grammy and Papa gave the littlest grandkids their presents...wagons! They were a hit and we all braved the cold so that the kids could have wagon rides. Levi LOVES his wagon. He even will sit in it in the house and play with his toys. So funny.
The afternoon was spent cleaning up and munching on snacks. There is never a shortage of food at the McClenahan gatherings. And I can't help but eat all day because my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law are such fabulous cooks. We managed to get all the kids down for naps before going to the Christmas Eve service at our church. When we got home it was time to eat AGAIN. After dinner all the kids put on their jammers and posed for the yearly cousin picture...except Levi who didn't want to sit still for even five seconds. I'm going to have to look back, but I'm pretty sure Cora was doing this exact same thing in her cousin picture.
My father-in-law always plays the piano with Levi. He loves it...it is so sweet. We sang a few Christmas carols together and Levi wouldn't stay away from the piano. He thought he needed to help his Papa while he played for us. Two of my nephews recited the Christmas story and then it was time for more presents. We are so blessed and so spoiled.
We tried to put Levi to bed after he opened his presents but he just screamed and screamed. We didn't want him to wake all his cousins up, so he won and got to come back downstairs. He was SO happy, like happier than he had been all day...what a stinker. He crawled all around and played and played until almost eleven o'clock. Let's just say the rest of the night didn't go so well and I got to spend lots of time with my little man early Christmas morning. But through my sleepiness I reminded myself how thankful I was to be holding my baby. Last year I would have done anything to be rocking my crying baby in the middle of the night. A sweet, unexpected blessing.
And that is our Christmas Eve story. We are only half-way through our celebrations around here. More Christmas is still to come...and then someone's birthday is right around the corner.