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christmas eve

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.Ā 
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.Ā 
  • Stef - oh my goodness, sounds like it was delightful! I love traditions like these. I think we may steal a few of them from ya šŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Wet Floor Anti Slippery Safety Solutions - Very very nice photographs. These kids are so cute. Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed very much…..ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - wow i miss this SO MUCH. thanks for putting these up, jess. looks like it was a great day. can’t wait to see you guys.


  • Carla - Yup, before you even mentioned it, the cousin picture reminded me of Cora’s (does that mean I have been hanging around here too long??) I borrowed some of your Christmas traditions this year and dressed my two in Christmas Jammies on Christmas Eve, the results were ridiculously cute. Happy Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Littlest Learners - I lurk a lot, but felt the need to post today.

    First, the pic of the 3 little ones lined up in their wagons is adorable.

    However, the main reason for posting is what you wrote about being grateful to hold Levi all night. When my older son (now 5) was an infant/toddler I dreaded those sleepless nights.

    We now have 16 month old identical twin girls and reading about Cora for the past two years has changed me as a parent like nothing else. I appreciate everything more and make more time to just play. The biggest difference though are those sleepless nights. We’ve had a few recently where they scream their heads off when they are put down, but are content being held.

    I am able to put it all in perspective and actually cherish those long nights because I constantly remind myself how blessed I am. I often think of you during those times, hug them a bit tighter and simply enjoy the gift of having them in my arms regardless of the hour.

    Thanks for always being an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Those wagons are PRECIOUS all lined up! Levi is too cute!!
    Happy 2011 to you & your family!
    Love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Kristi REDISKE - Your pictures are so good-they really tell the story well. It is so fun to look at them-love the wagons-when my kids were little they got scooters with all the cousins getting them too-so you brought back a memory for me because of your pictures. What kind of camera do you use and what lense-i need to learn how to take the great pics.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - i love that you spend all day with one side of the family instead of rushing off to the next place. that’s very sweet. you have such a handsome little boy. i enjoy looking at your pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Ali - The picture of the kids in their John Deeres! Priceless.ReplyCancel

  • Marla Taviano - Our girls got cameras too. The pic of Ellie taking a pic of Cora is priceless. Melt my heart.ReplyCancel

  • Claudia - What sweet traditions!!!!!!
    Merry Christmas!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Help Meet in the Making - Levi is just too cute!!ReplyCancel

  • Tara - oh my gosh … the wagons! haha! i love it. my haden is 13 months old and he LOVES wagons! must be an ornery boy thing. šŸ™‚ i’m so glad that y’all had a good christmas. & cora’s story is a reminder to each of us to cherish every moment with the ones that we love! thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Jess, those wagon pictures are priceless!! Your family is adorable. All of them. šŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Deborah - Every time you post pictures I think I have a favorite of Levi and then another incredible heart melting photo. I don’t know you will every say no to that boy. The wagons are adorable. Your family brings me joy šŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Marie@PoutyPinkPrincess - The john deer wagons are so stinkin’ cute!! Looks like a very Merry Christmas!!ReplyCancel

  • Annie-Staten - Your pictures are always soooo great!!! What kind of camera do you use???ReplyCancel

  • Brad, Kara, & Braden Janzen - LOVE LOVE LOVE the John Deere wagons! I think we might need one around here. šŸ™‚ Looks like such a wonderful time! So sad there wasn’t time to see you when we were in KS but hopefully again soon! Have a blast celebrating Levi’s birthday! We’ll be thinking of you.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Beautiful post! I love all the pics but the last one of you and Levi is the best!

    I love what you said about being grateful when you are rocking your crying babe in the middle of the night, we’ve also had more than a few of those here recently with my 6 month old and you remind me to feel the blessing that warm little boy is in my arms and enjoy each moment.

    Praying for you from Florida!
    aka babykatesmomReplyCancel

  • Alex and Jill - There is nothing sweeter than babies in their Christmas pjs! And the pic of all three of them in their wagons – priceless. Love it! Happy New Year to your sweet family.ReplyCancel

  • Jody - How cute are all the dads pulling the wagons!! My niece got a pink John Deere wagon for her birthday. And how sweet is your family’s little photographer. She’s not going to forget Cora šŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - The photo of your sweet niece taking a picture of Cora got me– what a cool family.


  • Wenzel Family - Ah…Mr. Mac…I had him for Bio and Chem…what a great father in law you have!!! One other question Jess…where did you get Levi’s crib bedding…I love it!ReplyCancel