Christmas in Minnesota

We always travel at Christmas, which means that we never get to have Christmas morning at our house so for the last few years, we've been having Christmas a little early and surprising the kids.  It's great to not have to take so many gifts to my parents house and it also gives us a chance to have some family time together.  This year we broke it up between two days.  We gave the kids a bath, then surprised them and told them we were going to let them open some presents from their Texie.
As you can see, they were excited!  Love those cheesy grins! 
It seems to be the only way these two know how to smile these days :) 
Miss Ava has been asking me for weeks, several times a day, "Is it Christmas yet?" and "Can we open some presents today?"  You can imagine her delight when I finally gave her the green light to indulge.  There were squeals of joy for sure!
Carter was a bit more stoic.  I'm pretty sure he had no idea what I was talking about until he saw Ava in action and caught on!
Christmas cuties! 
Their pile from the relatives had been growing and accumulating for weeks, we were shocked they managed to stay out of them.  
It took Carter all of 2 seconds to catch on and rip into his pile!
Pure joy :) Ava chose wisely and opened one of her coveted gifts first. This was the beginning of a theme for her.  It's been a Disney Princess Christmas for Ava! 
 And as is typical of a two year old boy, Carter's Christmas has been all about planes, trains and automobiles!  One of my favorite things about Carter is how he plays.  He immediately drops to his tummy and gets up close and personal with his toys, mostly his trucks and trains.  It's so cute and so fascinating to me, probably because I only had sisters.  I love having a little boy :)
A Thomas book and a little smile :)
Some princess books made Ava's night!
Seriously, isn't he cute??  So funny!
New books for Christmas, always a hit!  We told the kids that we were only opening gifts from Texie, but when they went to bed that night, we stayed up to wrap the rest of the gifts from Travis and I so that we could open them in the morning and they could play all day while we packed for Iowa. 

 Ava's pile
Carter's pile
There is something so fun about giving gifts to your kids.  I love that about being a parent!  We were giddy thinking about their reaction and knowing that they would be so happy to play with their new things.  I did lots of shopping in advance this year, faithfully hiding things away in our closet, so I was pretty happy to pull out things I'd forgotten about and to finally free up some closet space.
After breakfast, we finally let them come into the living and room and they spotted another stack of presents.  They were ready to go!
 Last year Carter didn't really understand the present thing so this year was pretty fun with him.  He was very excited and while he opened every gift he would say, "Dares somepin in dare!"  "What's in dare??" 
 Ava of course was totally on the ball and hilarious.  She gave us tons of running commentary on every gift she opened.  We have some priceless video from this year!

All was exciting and fun, but one look at this excavator from Aunt Shaye and Carter was won over!
He couldn't take his eyes off it  :)

While Ava was opening his gifts Carter got us a screwdriver, in case we needed help opening his excavator faster :)  He's a helper, ha ha!

Sassy boots that Ava helped me pick out, she loves them!
This was one of Ava's favorites, Prince Charming himself.  She was completely thrilled and we captured her shrieking on video when we unwrapped him and screamed, "It's Prince Charmin!!!!  From Cinderellllllllllaaaaaaa!!!"  It was totally hilarious! 
We had such a sweet morning with our kids, they are at such fun ages where they are thrilled with everything they open and so contented to just play all day with their toys.  I'm so glad we let them open gifts early and enjoy themselves.  It definitely made it easier for us to pack in peace.
We aquired a few new princes to add to the fairytale fleet.

There was some dancing going on...
Some heavy construction too  :) 

Curious George is always a guaranteed crowd pleaser, just like he was when I was a little girl. 
When I was cleaning up the kitchen I came back to check on the kids and found this funny sight.  It appears Ariel made it safely out of the sea and into a cozy boot with the man of her dreams! 
Sounds nice to me :)
Merry Christmas to our kids!

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