I guess that is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of this Christmas. It seemed that with every gift the boys opened, their eyes just got bigger and wider. Nate also got really good at yelling, "Oh! Wow!" every time he opened a new present. Gina and I have already discussed that we want to be purposeful in making sure the boys know that Christmas is not just about the gifts, but it still was a lot of fun watching them get excited with every new toy, book, puzzle, set of pajamas, pair of boots or shoes, etc.

My favorite part of the whole Christmas season was staying up late on Christmas Eve (and into Christmas Day, actually) playing Santa Claus and putting their gifts together. This was always a special time for Katie and I growing up, and I have always looked forward to setting up the toys and seeing the boys discover them first thing on Christmas morning. Their reaction to Santa's goodies did not disappoint, and we had so much fun playing with their toys that morning. I hardly even noticed that I was functioning off about 4 hours of sleep (until later in the day, that is).

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Tommy's house in Roanoke, which is only about 30 minutes from us. We had a great time sharing delicious food and playing with the cousins: Zach, Kendal and Kierra. We were also able to attend a wonderful Christmas Eve service at one of the churches in Roanoke.

Sam and Nate playing with their new car track

And taking a ride in their new wagon, which they pretended was the Polar Express.

Woody and Buzz even took a ride on Bullseye at Uncle Tommy's house.

The day after Christmas we gathered at my grandparent's farm to celebrate Christmas with the Gooches. It was always Big Mama's tradition to have everyone over on Christmas evening, or the day after, to eat Mexican Stack (burritos and all the fixins') and open gifts. We wanted to honor this tradition by meeting at their house and meeting together for some great food, fellowship and of course, an old fashioned gift exchange ... complete with stealing and swapping presents. The boys got a complete set of farm toys, including a big rug they can run their tractors and gators on.

As much as they loved all their new toys, the best part of the night was rolling around in all the wrapping paper with Callie Kay. She is pretty much Nate's hero and he followed her around all night doing whatever she told him to do, which included holding a plate under his chin when he ate cookies so he wouldn't get crumbs on the floor. Let me tell you, Callie Kay runs a tight ship. Big Mama's spirit was alive and well at this Christmas gathering!

And before I sign off, I need to share a couple of Christmas traditions of my own. I am pretty sure only my sister Katie will understand these, and I really don't feel like going into the details. So, just let me be self-indulgent for a minute (as if this whole blog isn't self-indulgent enough!)

I hope your Christmas and New Years were filled with as much joy, love and fun as our was. Happy 2011!