Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Hartley Christmas

The first thing I noticed when I started pulling this post together was the lack of pictures that went along with our Hartley Christmas. Please don't make the mistake of correlating the amount of pictures with how great our Christmas was, because it might be hard to find something I love more than being with family & in this case, all of our family.

My mom and dad decided to have their Christmas celebration the weekend following Christmas. We would get together around lunchtime, exchange gifts, lay the kids down for naps and then once everyone was up we would head over to the Hartley Christmas with all our aunts, uncles and cousins. We had a lot to fit into our 36 hours we were in town but we were going to make it happen and soak it up.

We left fairly early on Saturday morning & as soon as we got on the highway the song that reminds me of my Grandma Hartley came on the radio---she was totally with us and knew exactly how to start the  Hartley Family weekend off. 

The boys were not at all tired. They talked they whole ride down & we were all very excited to pull into my mom and dad's. 

We unpacked as everyone else started arriving and as soon as everyone was accounted for we started handing out gifts. But not before noticing the beautiful white snow falling and before capturing a family picture with Mom and Dad. 

Grandma Sara asked for a little help from Kaden, Maddie, Logan and Leah. Leah would read each present and the littles would pass them out. Maddie was really only interested when her name was on the presents but these two little elves passed out every single gift. & Leah pulled off a great photo bomb.

Like I had mentioned in the South Family Christmas post, us Hartleys have decided to adopt the South way of opening gifts---one at a time, youngest to oldest with the kiddos. We made it around twice before it was a free for all. Probably best for all involved too.

And as you can see the Superhero theme continued but it wasn't all they received, they each also got a really cool V-Tech watch. You can play games on the watch, take pictures and videos or just learn to tell time. It has been a big hit.

The other hit, this guy. & I don't mean Logan either, although he is always a hit in my book.

He came out for lunch with us all and I am sure the moment he stepped into the house he was overwhelmed by the noise, we can be a loud bunch. This wonderful man has a way with small children, they flock to him---I chalk that up to the yummy goodies he gives out. Madison climbed on his lap for pie. Kaden and Logan were right behind for M&Ms. And although it's a great icebreaker and it gets the kids all warmed up, they could careless about the candy because the back scratching is where it is at. I know that when I was a little kid I would sit in front of my Grandma or on her lap and she would do the same thing---just sit there, rocking, scratching my back. It breaks my heart knowing our boys won't be able to meet her & know her like I did. To feel her love. And although she isn't here, I am so very thankful that Papa Richard is and that he is able to share some of those specials things we all love and miss about her with my boys.

After the gifts were ripped open and the wrapping paper was all picked up and handed to Papa Tom, Kaden went to work on his Lego set while Logan found a comfy bed and snoozed. Naps aren't always a requirement at Papa Tom's and Grandma Sara's but they help, especially when the boys stay up till the late hours of the night with everyone else. This was going to be one of those nights, we were off to our 2nd Christmas for the day. 

The adults do a gift exchange--one for the men, one for the women but before the gift exchange the kids get to open up their gifts. Our family is the best, my dad has two brothers & each one of them along with their families buy for our kids, Madison and Blake since they don't participate in the big gift exchange. They do this out of the kindness of their hearts. The boys certainly don't need more gifts, or we could bring something for them to open but no, they insist on getting the little kids something. & Kaden and Logan got a winner---look at these handmade Superhero capes that my Cousin Brad's partner's mom whipped together. They were so excited, and once again, fit the theme of Christmas. They also got some really cute stocking hats & a bag full of fun toys and candy, the glow stick is stilled used to this day at bedtime! 

The following morning we all--10 of us--were up and out the door by 8:30. One of Mom and Dad's request was to have us all at their C3 church service with them. We may have filled an entire row but we were all there, that hasn't happened in years & I know it meant the world to my mom and dad. Since there wasn't much time for breakfast before they took us out for breakfast after church. We ate at Granny Shafer's in Joplin & had this little room all to ourselves. The kids pancakes were bigger than Logan---Kaden, Logan, and Maddie all ordered them. I got my own order of blueberry pancakes and thankfully only got one because they too were massive---Leah was trying to figure out how she was going to finish her double stack. Wasn't happening. Not in a million years.

It's not often that my mom and Dad are able to sit at the table and enjoy a meal with their entire family and not do the cooking themselves. Or the cleanup. We left there with full bellies and full hearts.

Jennifer and her kids headed out as soon as we got back and we settled in for the Chiefs game. We sat and watched as the Chiefs beat the Chargers and their season came to an end. We loaded up shortly after the game and said our goodbyes. On our way home I got one more reminder that Grandma had been with us the entire weekend celebrating from above. Every time I see a PINK and ORANGE sky, I think of her. The evening that she passed away and was welcomed into her forever home the sky was just as beautiful...

I know she is looking down at us with a sense of pride, she & Papa Richard created quite the legacy.

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