This Christmas was fantastic. I couldn't quite pin point why it seemed so great to me, while discussing with Blake. We were missing our family and sans Caroline, which is always tough during the holidays. Perhaps I was cherishing every moment knowing that next year would be different. This was definitely our last year with 3 children believing. I can feel it. And, it's time.
Christmas Eve actually brought me to tears as I tucked the kids in and we heard Santa & reindeer landing on the roof and bells ringing outside our house. I took a good look around the room and accepted that our family was changing. We have a 10 year old. That 10 year old will join the grown ups next year in preparation for Santa's arrival and will be assembling toys with Blake while his younger siblings sleep. I'm ready for it and I'm not.....all at the same time.
I locked eyes with Carter just before leaving the boys' room and he saw a tear roll down my cheek. We shared a little moment there.......I think he knew why I was crying.....and returned my look with his own, "It's going to be OK, Mom" smile. He's always been our old soul. Love that kid.
A few pictures from the last few days of Christmas at the Starnes house.....
We made Martha Stewart magazine trees with neighbors one morning. Vanessa brought donuts and we spent hours creating decorations and chatting. Such great people.
That's Daryl on the left and her daughter, Vanessa. She and Carter are drinking tea. Another grown up thing to do.
The Davidge family came over Eve Eve for dinner. 7 kids in an 1,100 square foot house? It actually worked!
Holly is super photogenic, which is making me question whether or not I want to expand my friendship any further with her. Love this shot of her and Ainsley.
OK, she's a keeper. I love that baby, too!
Guess who else loves the baby?
Here is Mike with Ainsley. Mike and I went to college together at LSU. So happy to be in touch again and living so close to each other in fabulous San Diego.
Inappropriate. Luckily, Ruby and Stefan left for the North Pole shortly after this dance-off. (pay no attention to the still-not-glued headless wise man)
Fast forward to Christmas Eve night.
Punks pre-mass. Lovely.
This might surprise you, but Jack didn't care for his picture being taken.
So, we threw him in and Blake started acting like an idiot. 2/3 smiles is pretty good for this group!
At the church that evening. Don't you love Carter's outfit? His jacket is from the suit he wore in the 2nd grade for his First Communion. Too small, but he insisted......and put it with his white button down and skinny jeans. So chic.
We returned home to Skype with Caroline as we opened gifts. So fun.
Blake read The Night Before Christmas, as he always does.
Punks tried to pay attention. Lainey was busy brushing her teeth with a new Hello Kitty toothbrush and Jack couldn't put "Snowy Thomas" down.
Outside to spread reindeer food and to look for Santa in the sky.
Jack found a new way to spread the treats. Our little thinker.
Back inside to prepare goodies for Santa!
Sweet Mae Mae lent us her precious Santa plates because one of the children broke the darling one she gave us 10 years ago. We will cherish them!
Santa puts bells on the kids doors just in case they want to come out and peak. You never can be too careful.
Christmas morning greeted us at 2:30am with Carter chanting something about a new phone. We rushed him back to sleep and then finally gave in at 5:00.
Carter was all smiles with his new Ipod from Pa and Mae Mae.
And, his new phone from Santa. Fair warning: If he has your number, he will be calling or texting. Be prepared. (Answer or return his text at your convenience.)
Christmas in California.......not too shabby. Little ones ventured outside at 9am to ride their new bikes. Shortly before, they ran to the windows, asking if it snowed. Blake and I had not even considered that Jack and Lainey had never seen a Christmas without snow. We moved from Texas to Denver when Jack was 5 months old. And, Lainey was born there. So, this was a first for them.
A misty fog rolled in within the hour to remind us of what it was like.
We played and napped and cooked and then joined the Davidges for Christmas dinner with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Lovely.
Mike fried a turkey. It was delish! I learned some new recipes from Holly that I will be adding to our holiday menu in years to come.
Neighbors came out to enjoy a fire pit and the kids rode their bikes again. Here is cute Holly trying to get a picture with Mike. Sometimes, you just have to improvise. Even when there is a kid on your back!
Such an awesome couple. With 4 kids ages 5 and under!
We played games and watched the kids run all afternoon and evening. Austin ended the night by collapsing. I think we all could have joined him at this point!
This week's agenda:
*San Diego Zoo trip! My big brother gave us a family membership for Christmas. So excited!
*Visit with Melissa and kids on Coronado Island.
*Clean out kids' rooms, put away toys and organize closets - dreading all of it.
*Prepare 2011 calendar.
*Celebrate Blake's 36th birthday on Wednesday!
*New Year's Eve.
*Football on Saturday. *****I'd like to formally announce the end of an era here in the Starnes house. We are retiring Blake's 12+ year old bubble TV we've been using since living in Austin. Pa and Mae Mae bought us a flat screen! I think they felt equal parts of embarrassment and pity each time they visited. And, they knew we wouldn't buy one until the TV we had didn't work. We're thrilled!
*Thank You notes.
Can't wait to catch up on everyone's Christmas celebrations. Later!
What a great Christmas!!! This was my first White Christmas in decades. I am really missing warm, sunny Florida right now.
Tears about Carter! I'd say you should still play along. Don't rush him into putting together toys for the others just yet. It's fun to still pretend. :) I'm shocked he still believes. He looks 12 so I just figured he didn't.
LOOOOOVE that he got an iPod Touch and a phone. Awesome about the flat screen too. We just got one as well and we love it. Now I can't imagine not having one.
Glad you had such a great Christmas even though it was away from fam.
I am glad you had a great Christmas.
I am teary over the stuff about Carter. My heart hurts for you and for me when it is my turn.
Missy Mack was confused this year because last Christmas was the first she remembers well and it randomly snowed in Texas. She thought we would hav snow too.
Lots to do on your list. Get busy.
I agree with the other comments...what a GREAT x-mas for all of you. One for the memory book for many different reasons.
San Diego Zoo passes...YIPPEE. Remember they are also good for the Wild Animal Park. We have passes and enjoy going as often as we can. It is great fun to pack up a lunch, have a picnic, and visit our favorite animal exhibits while we are there. Have fun!
Remember we still need to meet someday. Maybe a trip to the zoo would be fun.
Have a GREAT new year!
You made me cry too. It seems they just grow up too darn fast.
Overall you did have a fantastic Christmas. I would certainly love to sit around a fire pit at Christmas time. Have a great week!
I, too, am totally dreading the day when my first born doesn't believe any more! I know it will be here sooner, than later!
It looks like you had a fabulous Christmas! We didn't have snow so it just didn't feel like Christmas this year!
It looks like you have a fun week ahead of you! I love, love, love Coronado!
Yep, Carter tears on this end. I felt it this year with Sophia....breaks my heart! His precious Eve outfit- he's stylish, has the oldest soul I know, and is now geeked out with electronics! Why hasn't he texted me yet?!?!
Love your recap. Looks full of joy, good food, goofy happy kiddos, and good friends. Christmas with the Starnes. Miss you guys!!
what a beautiful post! and great pictures!
Where do I even start with why I love this post?!?! I cried. Reading about you and your moments and your realizations... yup. Crying. But happy tears I think. As I get older, I embrace my tears. I was a hardass when I was younger and I hated to cry- thought it was a sign of weakness. Now I think it's beautifil. Tears are signs we feel... and I'll take the hurt and sadness anyday because they're signs I'm alive.
And Lainey with that baby?!?! Oh my cuteness. And I love the name Ainsely. Love it. Carter and I wore the same shirt on Xmas!!!! Mine came from ebay... classic. And Stefand and Ruby!?!? Bwhahahahahahaa...... freakin' made my day.
Oh, sweet Carter is certainly growing up. Love his choice for church attire--expressing himself quite well. So glad you have met some nice neighbors and friends--aren't Californians great?
we finally retired out 4ft deep tv this year too (well when we moved here-I refused to move it)
Looks like it was a great cmas. I always enjoy hearing about the starnes way of celebrating
Thank you so much for this post. I missed my babies this year, but still felt like I was a part of it. Thank God for Skype!
Congrats on the new tv. My in-laws bought us one last year because we are just like you. I refused to buy anything I knew the kids would break and that probably explains why we would have to beg them to come and visit.... they have a SWEET tv at home. It looks like you had a great Christmas and the kids had lots of fun. Is it weird that I want to hang out with your 10 year old? He just seems so awesome! Have a great week and I can't wait to see what you do for New Years!
Lainey and baby Ainsley - darling.
Carter's outfit choice for church - unique.
Jack and his train sweater - perfect.
Let's hook Austin and Carter up with each others phone numbers- they would have a ball!
Looks like a wonderful Christmas!! And congrats on the new TV. It's life changing. For real.
Glad the Starnes 1st Christmas in California was a good one!!
:( The end of Santa is just SO sad!
But you know what's not sad? Actually doing Martha Stewart crafts. That's just crazy impressive.
I'm quite in awe.
Such a sweet post!! Times are changing but Carter is going to love his new role next year!! Happy New Year Starnes - can't wait to see what it holds for you!!
It all sounds so fantastic.
I think I teared up thinking about Carter not believing in Santa next year...and realizing my limited years I have left with my little guy. Carter does seem like an old soul. You have such great kids! They're all so adorable. I love Carter's pjs "Allergic to Lame Gifts". That's fantastic.
Hope you guys are having a great week!
What a wonderful Christmas.
My 13 yr old daughter is in to drinking tea. Wth?! She even got a tea kettle for christmas. She comes down of a morning and fixes her tea and goes back upstairs to drink her tea and get ready. Cracks me up.
Loved this whole post!!
Catching up. YAY for a flatscreen!! Jack is looking so big!
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