Today is the first day that both of my kids are back in school and it's so quiet at home! I'm catching up on blog work and housework today and as I looked over the posts that are coming up this month, I wanted to share a bit about our holidays with you before too much time passes! Today I'm sharing our Christmas morning- it's one of the most magical days of parenthood! (and childhood.. ;) I love how having kids at Christmastime brings back some of the magic that seems to get lost as you grow older!
On Christmas Eve we went to my parents' house and spent time with my brother & sister and their families. We missed my other sister and her family who live far away!
Here's a cute photo I was able to grab of my girls with their little cousin, Tori. I love it! I didn't take too many photos that day, but I definitely had my camera glued to my hand the next morning ;)
The girls woke up and joined us in our bed and we all went downstairs. Before opening gifts, we finished up our advent. We also put "baby Jesus" in his bed. [Ken's parents invited us over earlier in the month and showed us a movie about a family that made a manger, drew names of family members and secretly did acts of service for them (they drew new names each week in December). Each time they did something for "their person" they would put a piece of straw in the manger. The idea was to make a soft bed for baby Jesus on Christmas day. They gave us this little decoration with straw so that we could do the same thing. It was such a great thing to do and I look forward to this new tradition each year!]
I used my Nikon D3300 for all of these photos (with my 35mm lens). For some photos I used an external flash (bouced off of the ceiling) and for some I used no flash. In the photos below you can see the difference between the flash photo and the no flash photo (no flash allowed me to get a more glow-y look from the tree lights, but a flash allowed me to get the girls faces clearer and more lit up).
If I were to take a pretty photo of the tree without my kids in it, I would opt for no flash and a slow shutter speed, but I would set up a tripod so that my camera wouldn't move (which would avoid any blurriness that comes as a result of a slow shutter speed).
We usually start with opening stockings (and I'm always interested by how excited the girls get about the little things that come in their stockings. Some years I wonder if we really needed to give them any gifts beyond what they got in their stockings!)
I've mentioned this before, but I'll say it again- I love that I can set my camera on a more automatic setting and hand it off to someone who is not used to a DSLR and have them take a photo for me. Talia grabbed these shots of Ken & I looking through our stockings.
After we got through the stockings, the girls set their Santa gifts to the side to be opened last and we got a glimpse of what the tree looked like before Santa came:
We got the girls a big box of Play Doh and thought it would be fun to take the containers out and decorate the tree with them! We did that, but we certainly couldn't fit them all on the tree- they kept falling through branches!
I love having this photo (below in the top, left) of the gifts the girls wrapped for other people and their writing on them :)
The photo below (in the top, right) was taken without a flash (settings were f/2.8, 1/60 sec, 800 ISO).
Next the girls exchanged gifts with each other and with us. In the photo below (bottom, right), Talia was very excited to receive "hair chalk" from us. It was high on her wishlist!
Probably my favourite photos of the morning are these reaction photos. One thing I love about a DSLR is that when something happens that I want to capture, I just press the button and the camera's reaction time is quick enough to catch it! It's so sad when a camera phone or a point-and-shoot camera has such a delay or hesitation that you totally miss the moment!
These next photos are of the girls opening their Santa gifts. They each got a "Fur Real Friend" which was something they had both been dreaming of.
It was so fun to see their reactions!
They have been and continue to be such good "Mommies" to their pets!
Disclosure: I am part of the Mom Central Canada Nikon MOMents team and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.