What is Christmastime without gathering together with some of your favorite people, and coordinating all of your kids' outfits and pajamas?! We are so blessed to have deep, long-lasting friendship with the Larson and Bellito families. We feel more like a family than friends - our kids have known one another since birth, we are all Aunts and Uncles to one another's children (as well as Godparents), and we are all figuring out this phase of life together as young parents to many small children!
Getting together has become a high priority several times throughout the year, and we marveled at how fun and easy this last get together was. Although young, the kids are old enough to play independently of the adults and together with one another. We actually started and finished many conversations! It helps that the Bellitos have a beautiful, large home that includes an open-but-gated playroom with hundreds of wonderful toys right off the family room, and are always willing and gracious hosts to our growing broods!
Robbie and Charlotte enjoyed a sweet treat together...
...and continue to be a match made in heaven. Few little ladies are as sweet, adorable, energetic and tough as Char is. She and Robbie could be found chasing each other in circles throughout the house (when he wasn't unlocking the deadbolt on the front door and running down the street in his socks and pj's). She has dance moves you have to see to believe, and melted our hearts with her sincere thank-you's for her Christmas gifts, sweet hugs, and freshly painted red fingernails and toenails.
The three littlest boys - Joey, Luke & Ryan (the twins) kept us entertained with their charm, new tricks and ever emerging personalities. Joey remains the most contented of the bunch, flashing his baby blues and reaching for anyone who will pick him up and give him a snuggle. He is already a confident walker and provided Ellie the motivation she needed to get moving on her own two feet. Luke and Ryan have mischievous smiles and love to run around in their diapers as well as climb anything in sight. They are sweet as can be but team up against their mama and keep her on her toes - it's no wonder she's so thin. Who has time to eat when you are literally running between boys!?
It was really fun to spend the whole day together and realize that although we know one another so well, our children are constantly changing and growing into new little versions of themselves. We love watching their little relationships grow over the years!
As fate would have it, all of our kids were given the same Christmas pajamas by various extended family members and we realized this just before our get together. We couldn't help but plan a group picture of the kids in their matching pj's.
The dads were in charge of staging the kids (and feeding them M&M's to keep them still) while the moms stood ready with the cameras.
This was the best we could get.
Ellie enjoyed Charlotte so much this visit, and snuck over to her during Char's milk-break to steal a snuggle. Poor Char. So much for alone-time.
We wanted to do a little gift exchange for the kids but to keep things from getting out of control, decided to draw names and let each child give one gift vs. 6! It was perfect, and we managed to make a huge mess with just 6 presents.
Kids were mounting gifts...
...and squeals of delight were heard with the unwrapping of each present. It was adorable and so fun. I pulled a classic Aunt-move and we gave Char an Easy-Bake Oven as her gift along with a few dessert mixes for her to bake. Becky is awesome and did not disown me as a friend.
It's always fun to try and get a decent meal into them while they sit together at the table. So! Much! Excitement! Robbie definitely had goldfish, fruit snacks and M&M's for lunch, leaving his fruit cup and PB&J. Nice.
Oops, this one is out of order, but Char and Ellie are helping Joey open his belated birthday present. How cute are these two in their accidentally-coordinating ribbon shirts and hairbows!? (I promise we did not plan this, but oh yes it made me so very happy.)
And this is about what it was like the entire time... bodies everywhere. There is something so wonderful about having friends who just understand the phase of life you are in because they are in the thick of it, too... and are totally unaffected by the noise and chaos but instead cherish and embrace it!