Finley Family Christmas

We did the Finley Christmas a little different this year and I think it was a HIT. When I was growing up, there were 10 adults and 13 grandkids for Grandma Katy to buy for and she shopped all year long in order to have it all done in time for Christmas. I cannot imagine buying for 23 people, let alone all the spouses and great grand-kids we've added. The past several years, she was buying for well over 50 people and it all just became too much. Understandably.

Grandma decided not to buy this year and we all encouraged her not too. She was worried about the little kids so we drew names amongst the second cousins. Instead of having it at the Pavilion, the place I've been going my entire life for Gma's Christmas, we had it at my cousins gym, The Launching Pad. Guess what? No one even noticed the lack of presents. We all got to visit, the kids got to play, and my cousin Casey got to show off his American Ninja Warrior skills.
Tylee and Brynna in the bounce house.
 I told Tylee we were going to a Gym and she should wear sweats and tennis shoes but she insisted on a dress and her cowgirl boots. The boots came off and her dress ripped within 5 minutes of being there but I couldn't keep my girly-girl at bay.
 We love you, Grandma!


Elks Kids Christmas Party

Typically, Tylee is very intuitive and doesn't let much by her but one thing that has surprised me this Christmas season is her whole-hearted belief in Santa. Usually the simplest things catch her attention or cause questions, but with Santa, they haven't. For instance, seeing multiple Santas. The Santa below was older and had glasses and the Santa for pictures was dark-skinned and didn't have glasses. Then we go to the mall and see a totally different Santa with a real beard and long straight hair and I really, really thought she would put it all together. I didn't get one question about it. She 100% wants to believe, and I love it.
The Elks Kids Christmas Party was our first encounter with Santa this year and she was so excited. She couldn't hardly make it through the magic show to give Santa the pictures she had made him.

He was thrilled and so nice about it.

Santa brought her a baby Lalaloopsy, which just came out and she hadn't ever seen so it totally blew her mind. This was definitely a great way to start our Christmas Season!


Gingerbread House

December, the most blogged about month of the year, right? I know that rings true for me. It is, by the way, the happiest time of the year. Lots to do, lots to blog!
Totally worth the $8 price tag at Wal-Mart, in case you were wondering.


Merry Christmas Card

I wasn't thrilled with our card this year, especially considering how great of pictures I had to choose from. I tried this concept a few years ago but it didn't work out as I planned. This year, Tylee was a total rockstar and I have photographic proof. See below:
The two above made the card and were my favorites but unfortunately, the sun glare didn't print well. I should've known better but thought she looked beautiful and couldn't pass it up. My second choice was the picture below, in which I think she looks really cute. Beautiful won over cute this year.  
On the day we took these, she had a pretty nasty cold so we couldn't use any close-ups because of the goop in her eyes.
Another "beautiful" nomination (above) but it isn't 100% in focus. It is rare that I nail the focus on the best picture of the group. That would be too good to be true, wouldn't it?
Although not my exact vision, I perfectly captured Tylee at 5-years old and our card is cute as a button. Can't ask for more than that!


O' Christmas Tree

In the past, TJ and I have made it a tradition to take Tylee to the Christmas Tree Farm to hand pick and cut down our Christmas Tree. I always look forward to going but unfortunately, the perfectionist in me hasn't been thrilled with the trees that we've brought home. Last year, we ended up at Home Depot buying the Fir Tree I'd been swooning over and Tylee never even noticed. This year, I took it a step further and bought a 9 foot fake Fir Tree that I found mid-October and couldn't stop thinking about. I have to say that I thoroughly thought through my decision and didn't have any only had a hint of regret once we got the tree up and put together. It is beautiful and seriously a dream come true, but the thought of not going to the tree farm or having those memories for Tylee did sadden me a bit. Not enough to take back my purchase, though. It is beautiful!!  
And only a little crooked. :-S
Another reason I wanted to ditch our tradition is because of the short amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Those real trees are pricey and to only have it up for 3 full weeks? No thank you.We've had our Christmas stuff up for a little over two weeks now and to say I'll be sad when it comes down is an understatement. The Christmas Season is one of my favorite times of year and I want to drag it out as long as I can. We didn't skip Thanksgiving but thus far I've already been Christmas shopping, decorated inside and out, made some wreaths swags, and are counting down 'till Christmas morning. I'm confident by Christmas day that I will have thoroughly soaked up the season, and will be ready for things to get back to normal.