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05 January, 2015

The One With All the Christmases

With Thanksgiving so late this year, it seemed as though Evie went back to school for just a few days before she had her class party and broke for the holiday.

Advent brought tidings of great joy....and the flu.  All four of us had it over the course of two weeks and it lingered. FOR-EV-ER.  Our pediatrician said she's never seen anything like the influenza outbreak we've had in Georgia this December.
And perfect timing BrAun for the Klout Perk.  We love our new temporal thermometer. It came on day 2 of the flu. So awesome for taking lots of people's temperatures several times a day.
After many, many, many days cooped up in the house we finally joined the land of the living and made it to almost all of our regular Christmas events.   

I did NOT make it to the Gingerbread Party this year, so there won't be a post. But it did happen and I heard it was fabulous. (photo c/o Katie)

My family and any in town in-laws gathered for our annual girls cookie exchange party to kick off the Christmas season.  Evie was glad someone made her favorites, Snickerdoodles (that's a funny word, she says). And Maggie got to try butter cookies!
My cousin, Jackie, drove up from Tampa/St. Pete for the weekend. After the cookie party we had some girl-cousin time at my sister's playing games and sending ridiculous Snapchats to each other.  It was an awesome day full of laughter and great cookies.
The following weekend was my Mom's family's big Christmas dinner.  (My cousins and I live tweet it with #sanderfamilychristmas).  

The cousins exchange gifts, my mom and her siblings exchange gifts, and we finish the evening with Angel Food Cake and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

That weekend I also had the girl cousins over to decorate gingerbread houses. This tradition started when I nannied for them ten years ago, but now they're in high school and college so it's a fun day to get together and have quality time.  Pro tip: If you're not going to eat your gingerbread house, there is no shame in pulling out the glue gun for a little architectural reinforcement.
 And finally Christmas was upon us.
Christmas Eve was simple with just dinner at my parent's house. Eric's parents and sister, and her family joined us.  My brother and his girlfriend were there too.  The Buergler cousins exchanged gifts and received their gifts from Grandma and G. Daddy.  Evie's been practicing her sewing (she also got Winter semester gymnastics classes) and Maggie loves her new climbing car.
And then there was cake. I was terrible this year. I seriously took like maybe 50 pictures in December. Being sick really gets to you.  I just had to share this cake. Because OMG.  My parents made an awesome super healthy dinner and then dropped this bomb on us.
After dessert we went home to put the sleepy girls in bed and play Santa.  I was SO thankful we'd wrapped all the gifts earlier in the week.  It made for a restful Christmas Eve.
Eric made sure to set the Nativity out in a prominent place, and hid baby Jesus so Evie could find him and put him in the manger first thing in the morning.
Christmas morning we actually had to wake the girls up.  Between all the parties and flu recovery it was after 8 when we woke them. We needed to have prayers, gifts, breakfast, and get ready for 10:45 Mass!
Eric and I had gone shopping the week before Thanksgiving.  We picked out several things for the girls and put them on a list.  Then, I stalked the internet for sales and coupons. I loved having Eric help with the shopping this year.  It was fun to choose intentional gifts for each of the girls. And we each took Evie shopping to choose a small gift for the other parent.  Evie even asked if she could get Maggie a gift and chose a little Hippo for her. It's actually one of Maggie's favorite toys now.
Evie kept telling me she wanted a telescope from Santa.  I couldn't figure out how she even knew about them until one day we were watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Ah, yes. A telescope.
 We went to Mass.  10:45am Christmas Day is the way to go.  It was less full than a regular Sunday.  It was a little tricky getting everything timed just right, but I hope this also becomes tradition for a few years.  I like being able to have the fun of Santa first thing in the morning but then quickly transition into Mass.
After Mass we went back to my parents for our big Christmas lunch and our gift exchange with all my siblings, nephews and grandparents.  My grandfather dresses up as Santa (their last name is Sander, so we call him Sander Claus) and comes in for pictures with the kids.
My parents and grandparents outdid themselves in generosity.  It's fun to have a day where we can be a kid again...even with grown up gifts like new frying pans and FitBit scales.

I think my favorite gift we gave this year was the photo book we made for my grandparents with all the pictures from our Siblings Weekend at their cabin.
One of my other favorites was my sibling gift exchange.  We draw names of couples. This year we had Sam and Katie.  There is an established budget. This year my brother suggested a theme of Date Night. We went with a game-night-in idea and purchased a bunch of two player games for their crazy competitiveness. So fun!

After all the eggnog and coffee was consumed out of Marty Moose Mugs we headed home.  We weren't super hungry but knew we needed a little a little something for dinner.
 Evie asked if Waffle House had a drive thru.  Haha. No, but they have take out.  Excellent choice little girl.  This, too, may become tradition.
In addition to all the beautiful and thoughtful gifts my parents brought back from Europe, my sister wins best gift that I received (okay, Eric, maybe second to my new pillow!).  She got me a Bobblehead Pope Francis.   And she and Sam had it blessed by the Pope when they were in Rome this Fall.  I mean c'mon, how do you top that?
I made Eric take the day after Christmas off from work so we could have a few family days.  We made it out to visit Dan's family when they were in town.  And we had a game night with Rosemary and Pat when they came to visit.  We did lots of puzzles, go on walks, Evie got a fresh new hair cut...

 And we tried potty training's a story for another day.  And even came down with a SECOND virus!  At least this one wasn't nearly as bad as the flu and the girls are both almost at 100% after 5 days.

Eric and I have spent the last week in purge mode. We have thrown out, donated and gave away around 3 carloads of stuff.  Our house still looks like a tornado went through it, but it's in the "it gets worse before it gets better phase" -- We tackled all the projects on our Advent list.

I'm equal parts going to miss the snuggly Christmas family time but ready to dive into the new year with some of the changes we've made to the house and family "rules".

We hope you had a joyful and blessed Christmas.

Happy Epiphany!  With love,  The Buerglers

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