our Christmas 2015 + an unexpected gift

Oh my goodness, Christmas 2015 was the best Christmas I can remember in ages. I will treasure it as long as I can still remember. :) Maybe I'm feeling a bit sentimental, but I'm sad to see this holiday season go. 

To kick off our holiday break, we hosted a "school party" like we used to have at real school. :) Each kid was assigned a snack or dessert to bring, we bought gifts for a secret exchange, and we had snacks while we listened to Christmas music and made sugar cookies. :)

The next week we celebrated Christmas Eve with my in-laws. Every single year I appreciate someone else hosting more and more. :) Rob's mom and dad do all the hard work and provide most of the food for this ever-growing crew, and we get to sit back, relax, and enjoy the day. They're awesome. :D

We were hosting Christmas at our house this year, so ever since Thanksgiving we were working furiously on our house to get more done before we had company. Unfortunately we never even finished our list {naturally right? :P} so we didn't have time to put too much effort into decorating or anything. :) The kids decorated the tree and {gladly} wrapped most of the presents! :)

Food was a big part of the merriment of course. :) On Christmas morning I made cinnamon rolls:

And I decided to cook something new altogether since so many people were coming for dinner this year. I made a 15 lb. brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans, and veggies instead of our traditional taco soup. Even though it took a bit more effort, I think it was a good change. Maybe my nursing self is craving protein, but the brisket tasted heavenly if you ask me! :D

It was this guy's first Christmas to enjoy opening presents, and he loved it:

And though she didn't quite understand what was happening, Ivy had fun opening gifts too. :D

I was excited my mom {below} and Granny got to come this year:

And my brother Josh and my sister-in-law Cayse traveled 7 hours to come see us as well. They brought all the kids these adorable winter hats we'll get to use when we come visit them up north. ;)

And their talented Aunt Cayse always makes something special like this sign for the girls' room:

Then Rob surprised me with some very exciting kitchen goods this year. I think he was afraid to give me all kitchenware but I was delighted- I got a new little dutch oven and he surprised me completely with a blender! Kitchen goods are tools I use everyday so I was in love . :P

Honestly though, as good as they were- I'm not sure I'll remember the gifts given and received, but I know I will remember the gift of sweet moments with our families this year- sharing food and laughter with everyone I love in one room. I realized as we were all sitting together, some of us for the first time in years {!} that we may never have this chance again. We never know what tomorrow will bring.

And armed with that knowledge, I'm going into 2016 with a whole new appreciation for how quickly seasons change... and a little lump in my throat reminding me to consider it all joy.