I have been bursting with Christmas Cheer! Ever since the day after Thanksgiving I seem to be going non-stop fitting in as many festivities as possible. We got the tree up and the house all decorated right after Thanksgiving so that we could enjoy it the whole season long. I think we have all been equally excited about the warm holiday reminders that surround us.
On our first Family Home Evening for the month we got doorbell ditched by Santa with two gifts that could not wait till Christmas, but had to be enjoyed all season long. Maybrie was thrilled! They opened a big Disney Christmas book and the Little People nativity. I have been wanting this nativity for years, and it has truly been a lifesaver this season. The kids love it and it has plenty of pieces for them to share(most of the time!). It keeps the kids from playing with and destroying nicer breakable decor. Oh, and my favorite thing about the nativity is the angel you can push down to light up the star and play "Away in a Manger." Thomas loves it and sings and dances to it every time- so cute! I love it! We have tried reading a Christmas story to Maybrie every night, which doesn't always happen because her fits often send her to bed without stories :(. Thank you Gillespie's for the fun idea (and knock on our door so we could pull it off!) to kick off the Christmas season at our house.
One morning last week I pulled out the movie Polar Express. Maybrie remembered it from last year and was so excited she laid out blankets for her and Thomas to lay on while they watched. It was such an adorable Christmas scene I had to snap a picture. :)
Our good friend Becca swapped babysitting with us at the beginning of the month so we could each go on a date. Brian and I headed downtown to see the tallest Christmas tree in the country (in lights) on the Saints and Soldiers monument (kind of a fun piece of trivia). There were tons of people out because of the BIG10 football game that was to be played the next day at Lucas Oil Stadium. But we found a spot and strolled through Circle Center Mall and then down the street to the circle. It was so warm outside that we didn't even need gloves or get cold. The lights were magical and I loved the windows on the IPL building that lit up like a tree. We also discovered a new favorite shop call Rocket Fizz. It on the circle and full of every flavor of soda you can imagine- like peanut butter and bacon! Plus it has tons of candy with all of the old-fashioned classics you can't find anywhere else. Super cool! My family of candy lovers would love it! It was a great (cheap) date night... thanks again Becca for watching our kids!
On Wednesday, Dec. 5th we went with our friends the Gillespie's and the Jenks to Christmas at the Zoo. It is probably the closest you get to lights at temple square in Indiana! The lights we so fun to walk through, they had a fabulous holiday Dolphin show that was super fun, and some of the animals are actually more active at night- so it was fun to see the bears walking around!
All bundled up! It was cold, but thankfully dry.
Huge polar bear strutting its stuff!
Liam, Jenna and Maybrie before the dolphin show
The whole gang- Dan, Leigha, Dawn, Jenna, Liam, Dennis, Kristin, me, Maybrie, Brian, and Thomas. Thomas especially got really into the music and cheering of the dolphin show... it was adorable.
Maybrie and Liam in front of the lit "choo choo!"
At least Thomas decided to cooperate and say Cheese!
Inside a giant (fake) snake in the deserts building.
Maybrie and Jenna pointing excitedly at the snakes.
Such a poser!
Mommy and my marshmallow Thomas
The lights of the city behind the lit trees along the parking lot looked amazing. Unfortunately the picture doesn't do it justice... the street lamps got in the way. Oh well. A fun family night with friends... and a needed break from studying for Brian.
Then on Friday the 7th we had a jam-packed day going to the Children's Museum during the day and the Ward Christmas Dinner Party at night. The kids got to meet the real Santa (by far the BEST Santa I have ever seen!). They both were excited and Maybrie actually ran up to him and recited her well-rehearsed Christmas list for him. It was magical! I hope they do it again when we go back with Daddy next week. They have a special "Jolly Days" exhibit where you can meet Santa, groom his reindeer, climb and slide down an ice castle, ice skate on a frozen pond, ice fish, etc. It is adorable and we easily filled three hours of fun in that one spot. They also have the awesome Christmas Story slide. We went down twice- it is fun for adults too!
They have adorable shop windows filled with toys to look at while waiting in line for Santa- genius idea!
Liam, Jenna, and Maybrie
Look at Maybrie's priceless look of joy in this picture!
Isn't Santa Jolly?
Santa had to cutest conversation with Maybrie. It was straight out of Miracle on 34th Street!
The kids went down this ice castle slide for probably 30 mins. straight!
The giant slide comes down here behind this display from the second floor. Super cool!
Even Bumble Bee was all dressed up for winter! :) I love that we live so close to this amazing museum... it is like every child's dream play land! I am obsessed with it!
The ward Christmas Dinner party was a lot of fun. Good food and decadent desserts (that I ate too much of), fun visiting with friends, kid's coloring and crafts, a nice slideshow program, Christmas carols with all the children to help bring Santa... Thomas was so funny my cheeks ached from laughing and smiling! He danced and applauded every song! I have decided that 18 months and 4 are perfect ages for Christmas... my kids are making this year so fun.
Happy to be coloring with a fist full of crayons.
Maybrie was very dedicated and focused on making her nativity picture beautiful and realistic, of course!
Can you spot my little cheeseball in the center with his big sister standing very poised? :)
On Saturday the 8th my friend Alanna and I took our kids to the Garfield Conservatory where they had a free poinsettia display, model trains, lights, and treats with Mrs. Clause. It was beautiful and a fun little outing to break up the day while our husbands spent the day studying.
Thomas and Beckett (both 18 mos.) loved the trains. Isn't it pretty?
Such a cute vintage display.
Kaya, Aislin, Maybrie and Thomas looking at the fish.
Beautiful conservatory oasis in the winter.
The kids loved the waterfalls and the bg colorful fish you could reach out and touch.
Thomas and Maybrie with Mrs. Clause.
We've had some really fun holiday excursions lately and we're looking forward to a few more in the next two weeks as we countdown to Christmas! Brian only has one final left and then we get him home for 3 whole weeks! We can't wait for Monday to come! Hope everyone is having fun celebrating and making memories with their families. It is easy to get caught up in the business of the season and forget to enjoy the little moments of joy throughout all the bustle. I hope we all get a chance to stop and sip some hot chocolate while surrounded by family, Christmas lights, and a nice carol that reminds us of all we've been blessed with because of Christ's birth.