Friday, December 24, 2010

Darby Christmas 2010

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

It was a very Merry Christmas here at the Darby casa. We had the honor of hosting Christmas Eve in our home and I loved every minute of it! We don't get the chance to bring the entire Cottier side of the family together often, so when we do get together, we make it special.

First, I'd love to thank my family for making the hike to Fellowship Church. Nathan had the privilege of singing in the candlelight Christmas Eve service. It was incredible. Our church is amazing and it was special watching him on stage. All of our kids were in the sanctuary and got to watch Daddy/Uncle Nathan sing. It was a highlight.

After church, we all piled up and headed back to our house for dinner. We had the world famous "Cashew Chicken" and it did not disappoint. My dad has got the magic touch. It was divine. I don't think any plate had a bite of food remaining.

After dinner we got a surprise visit from THE ONE AND ONLY SANTA! That's right...Santa came to our house on his busiest night of the year. Pretty amazing, don't you think? Needless to say the kids were freaking out and squealing and in total shock. Alex was awesome with Santa. She was a gracious hostess and offered him a drink. She asked him so many cute questions such as, "Santa, why is your beard all wet (it was raining at the time)? Why didn't you just come down the chimney? Your belly is bigger in real life than in the pictures, did you know that? Why do you send so many other Santas to the mall to take pictures? Santa, can you really know if I am bad or good ALL the time, or just during Christmas?" Ha! I just love our Alex. She brings life to any party.

Santa was a trooper and stayed while the whole family opened presents. It was so much fun to watch the kids tear through their gifts. We all gave Grandma gifts too (she just moved to a nursing home so it was truly special having her with us). One of my personal highlights of the evening was when Grandma asked Nathan to sing to her. There are many things I treasure about my husband but his voice and musical talent is high on the list. We had 18 family members in our living room area when she asked and we all stopped and listened to his fabulous concert. I love that he is bold with his voice, is unafraid to use it, and I loved watching my Grandmother MELT while he sang to her. We all melted to be honest. It's a precious memory that I will cherish forever.

After presents, we watched the kids play with their gifts (and each other). The adults had a wonderful time catching up. I stopped several times during the night to "take it all in." I hope and pray we will have many more Christmases in our home. This was one of the best yet, I believe.

Here are a ton of pictures from our evening:

Alex greeting Santa

Alex leading the way

She was beaming

You can see that Alex was "all in" for Santa!

Santa loved having Alex & Natalee in his lap

Alex took every opportunity possible to get a Santa hug

Alex opening her "Barbie and a Fairy Tale Fashionista" doll. Her reaction was priceless - she said, "Santa, OH MY GOSH! This is the Barbie I have been wanting all of my entire life! Thank you, this is the best day I've ever had!"

Santa giving Thomas his goodies

YaYa and B.B. hit the jackpot - a princess castle! Nice job.

Alex with her new Barbie she got from Santa

Timothy gives Santa a thumbs up for his iTunes gift card

I love this picture! Even Grandma got some love from Santa. Priceless!

Such a sweet picture. Kelley is 37 weeks pregant and in Santa's lap. She was such a trooper coming all this way.

Santa had room for all the ladies :)
(I had a coat on, I just got hot from running all over the place hosting.)

Love this picture of the Cottier sisters

Natalee Grace with her new baby doll and accessories

Alex was giddy that she got "Tangled" hair...and it got very tangled indeed

She pranced around the house and gave us all quite a show

"Rapunzel" had to get a photo with Santa of course

"Rapunzel" with Aunt Genie

Princess Rapunzel with her fairy dog, Macy

Timothy (a senior in high school) is such a good sport. Macy on one shoulder and a barbie on the other.

Adorable parents feeling the holiday love

After everyone left, Alex wrote notes for Santa and the reindeer (he promised to come back and leave even more presents). I wish you could see the notes she made - they were precious. We love this picture of doesn't get better than this!

Chrismas morning: the kids woke up to find a huge ball pit in the middle of our living room. Santa rocks!

Merry Christmas to you all!

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