Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas 2014

We just wrapped up another fabulous Christmas season. We had a wonderful break, and were so blessed to spend time with family and friends. We are thankful that everyone is healthy and happy! I wanted to capture those memories so we can look back in years to come.

Around the week before Thanksgiving, the kids and I started asking Doug to put up the tree... we try to hold out for the day after Thanksgiving, but never seem to make it. This year, the kids got to put up their little trees in their rooms a week or so early.

This year, before our big (12') tree went up, Doug and I had the fun job of un-lighting the tree. After 10 years, the pre-lit tree was only half pre-lit, and we spent many hours in the basement cutting off the lights. It was worth it though! We all love our big tree. It should be good for many years to come, even if it is a little more work to light the tree when we put it up.

We got to do so many fun things to celebrate the season this year:
**We went to the Children's Theatre to see "The Snow Queen" with Nani, followed by a visit to the Museum Center. Ainsley didn't want to visit Santa, but had fun interacting with Pouge and Patter, the talking reindeer.

**We were treated to the Festival of Lights by Doug's work. We hadn't been in a few years, and everyone really enjoyed the light displays and animals. Added bonus - we won $100 for going!

**For the second time, we were able to attend Santa's Candyland at Prasco. We love seeing the Christmas story, visiting Santa, and eating lots of candy!
**We made our annual Gingerbread house with Chad, Jen and Abigail. Each kid got to make their own house this year. We're not sure if they got more candy on their houses or in their mouths.

**Ainsley and I attended Awaited. We both loved the show and enjoyed singing along to the songs.
**Our family enjoyed the annual Cub Scout skating party. Our kids can both skate independently which makes it fun for all!
**Ainsley and I attended the Nutcracker with Mya and Robin. The girls loved the show, especially the Sugar Plum fairy.
** We spent Christmas Eve Eve and New Years Eve with our good friends from Seattle and neighbors down the street. We all had so much fun visiting and attending church together. The kids all played while we all got to visit. We are so thankful for the time we had together. The kids and adults all love each other so much.

This year was quiet different because Evan was in the know about Santa. He was asking questions, and then ended up reading something in a book that caused us to confess. It definitely made things different, but he was a great sport. He told us multiple times that he enjoyed knowing and being in on it.  He even helped be assemble Ainsley's dollhouse.

Ainsley's top wish from Santa this year was a fold-up beach. This is something that she made up.  She said it was a beach to play on that folds up into a bag.  It made things interesting, but I think Santa figured it out.

One of the things that Doug and I have a love/hate relationship with each year is Twinkle, our elf. :) Ask us every night, and ugh.. but each morning, the joy we get seeing Ainsley search the house makes it worthwhile. (He landed in our pantry in this picture.)

Of course, we had a fabulous time celebrating Christmas Eve with extended family, Christmas Day with the Ross family, and Christmas day after with the Weis family. We love having the time together to make memories, and everyone is so generous.

There are a couple of moments we will remember most about this Christmas.  First, Evan could not fall asleep the night before because he was so excited. It was somewhere around 1:00am when he finally fell asleep.  Ainsley didn't fall asleep until much later than usual as well.  We thought we were all going to be very tired the next day since the kids would be getting up so early.  To our surprise, we were the first ones awake.  The kids didn't come out of their rooms until after 9:00!

The second moment happened Christmas morning.  Before the first present was unwrapped, it touched our heart to see Evan bow down and pray before a single thing was opened, without any prompting from us. Ainsley even followed his lead and did the same.

We are all so thankful for the real reason for this season, and it was so special to see our kids embracing it as well.