The Adventure Starts Here: Christmas with the Cousins!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas with the Cousins!

As I mentioned yesterday, this weekend we were up in Rhode Island visiting Noah's cousins (and my brother and sister-in-law).  We arrived Friday afternoon and the cousins played while we waited for my brother to get home from work.  We had pizza for dinner and then got ready to act out the nativity.  I have mentioned before, and in a guest post I shared on Meet the Sullivans, that singing Christmas songs and acting out the nativity is one of my family's traditions.  While we don't do it with just Noah (not enough people for all the parts), we always make sure to do it when we get together with the cousins.  Kaitlyn and Matthew played Mary & Joseph, and Noah and Aidan were shepherds.  We kept the costumes super simple this year and just had all the kids wear their their bath robes :)  My dad played the guitar and my mom was the narrator.  My brother even stepped in last minute as a wise man.  And I of course, was the official photographer ;)  Since we dimmed the lights to set the mood, I broke out the external flash and blinded everyone throughout the performance.  Matthew kept asking where the bright light was coming from.  I joked I was the star leading the wise men to baby Jesus ;)

^^^ the wise man bringing gifts to baby Jesus

^^^ the wise man (my brother) bowing to baby Jesus.  Apparently his daughter thought this was cool while Noah was wondering what on earth Uncle David was doing ;)

After we finished singing and acting out the nativity, it was time to open some gifts.  This is also when we turned back on the lights and I stopped using the flash.  Though looking back I kind of wish I kept it on rather than bumping up my ISO.  Hopefully no one cares about the grainier pictures ;)  

The cousins exchanged gifts with each other and my mom brought a few gifts for each of the kids to open.  We won't be seeing my brother's family on actual Christmas (since they will be visiting their other side of the family in Florida), so my mom wanted to give a few of their gifts early.  She left the rest for them to open on actual Christmas, which is when Noah will open the rest of his as well.    This is when it became total mayhem.  Ripping gift after gift open, Noah begging to open and play with each thing, and me telling him we'd wait til we got back to the hotel so we wouldn't lose any of the pieces.   That's when he told us it was time to go back to the hotel ;)

^^^ I think my favorite part was seeing Kaitlyn's excitement for her dad to open the gift she got him.  She bought it at the little holiday store set up at her school.  It was one of those gag gifts were you open the can and a snake like thing pops out.  Oh to be 8 again!  

Noah always has so much fun following Kaitlyn around.  The love is mutual and Kaitlyn really is great with playing with him.  But this trip, he also played really well with the boys too.  All of Matthew's toys instantly became something that he just had to have... especially the Transformers!  Noah also learned that when you are surrounded by other kids, you can get away with more because you tend to blend in.  At one point I caught him on the couch just eating from a bag of chips!

On Saturday, after we got home from visiting Santa and going to Dave & Busters, we decided to decorate some gingerbread houses.  We brought up some of the pre-made house kits (that I picked up at Costco) and were amazed with how much candy came in each box!  I am glad we bought more icing though, because squeezing it out of the provided bags was not the easiest!  

Chris and I took turns helping Noah (and taking photos), my dad helped Aidan, my mom helped Matthew, and Kaitlyn was good to go on her own :)  We were pleasantly surprised to see how long Aidan was interested in decorating the gingerbread house.  He's usually on the go non-stop so it was nice to see him so involved in an activity like this.  

^^^ one of the houses' sides caved in, so my dad (the engineer) replaced it with cardboard, and once iced you couldn't even tell the difference!

All the kids did a great job and really got into it.  I love how the pre-made house kits make this activity so easily done by all ages.   I remember when I was a kid spending most of the time getting frustrated for my house caving in.  I think that's why we eventually stopped that tradition.  With these though I can definitely see us doing one (or two) each year!  The little boys just had fun sticking the candy all over the place.  While Kaitlyn and Matthew took their time and really put some thought into their design.  After the younger boys were finished, Kaitlyn even asked me to help her draw on the roof shingles using the gel icing.  I have to admit it was a lot of fun helping her... and I realized that even if I'm not the best at it, I really do like expressing a more creative side!

Another fun filled weekend with the cousins!  While we are sad we won't see them on actual Christmas, I'm so glad we got to do all these fun activities with them! 


  1. What a great tradition! It sure looks like you all had a great time! Spending time with cousins is the best!

  2. THIS!!!!! This is exactly what makes being away from "home" for the holidays a bit difficult. I love all of these traditions! What a special (and very important) tradition that ya'll get together to act out Nativity. Love it!

  3. LOVE this!!! So glad you had the opportunity to visit and do all these fun things with the cousins! I love that they get along so well. Too bad you don't live closer!


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