Time to finish up 2011 :)
Christmas was such a great SEASON this year. We really tried to focus on the entire season rather than just the day. We wanted to teach our kids humility, modesty and the importance of giving, as well as obviously the real reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus' birth. So we started off the season with our advent, which I wrote about a few posts ago. It included simple and fun things that we did every day (movie night, dress up for dinner, etc) mixed up with some service/giving type activities too (treating the person behind us at the ice cream shop, buying a gift card for a stranger, etc). We wanted to take all the presents out of Christmas, to make the entire month memorable and special, each day in it's own way. We decided early on that the kids would get three gifts, no more than Baby Jesus got for His own birthday and they could ask Santa for three things also, although they weren't promised all three from Santa. One of the three from us would be a handmade item and the other two would be gifts to inspire creativity and sharing. It kept our budget low and shopping time minimal, really allowing us a lot of time to spend together DOING things and CELEBRATING.
Hubby works a lot, especially during holidays, so this year I had to decide to just go for it and do the things that we wanted our kids to experience, with or without him. We missed him a lot this season, but did manage to save some very special times for just Daddy too. I had to be kinda brave a few times and brave some crowds that I would normally have avoided with just the kids and I, but it was worth it to see their faces and excitement and then hear them tell Daddy all about our adventures when he was home.
Another night was to write down all the participating addresses for the town's Christmas light contest and go check them out. This took us two nights because there were so many! Some were just 'eh' and some were so awesome. This one house had Santa visiting!! What a lucky surprise ;)
We took the kids to the Mission Inn to check out the lights, visit Santa and say hello to his reindeer. The lights were pretty and Santa was so kind, but we will probably not brave THOSE crowds again ;)
We saved Gingerbread houses to do with Daddy! So fun...the kids did them for over an hour!!!
Baby thoroughly enjoyed eating more than his fill of candy and marshmallows. ;)
Love the tongue...haha
Coloring by the little tree together
My friend Kati and I hosted our second annual Christmas morning party for all the kiddos. We had breakfast food, a book exchange and a surprise visit from SANTA!! SO exciting!
A little dinosaur play with Daddy
A matching beanie set I made for Kati's new baby nephew and niece.
Sprinkling the reindeer food on Christmas Eve
Setting out cookies, milk, carrots and drawings...making sure everything is just right
Thankful for the gift of the season
"Santa Clause, Keep this picture. I love Santa Clause."
Santa's magic key, because we don't have a fireplace
Santa came!! He brought the kids books, dinosaurs, hot wheels, a kite, some balls, nail polish, an art set and yes, a pet rat.
Hello Sally. ;)
Daughter was thrilled!! This was really all she wanted! It took some time, but Sally is growing on me.
Finished gingerbread houses
Son's. he said there was a hurricane, hence all the snow piles.
Daughter's, with a marshmallow snowman out front. :)
Thank you Jesus for coming to save us. We are so blessed, and thank you for teaching us how important it is to BE the blessing to others this year.