Well, Christmas happened.
2 weeks ago, apparently.
It was wonderful... and I just never sat down at the computer to blog. Not once. In fact, I forgot to check email for over a week. I confess, I didn't really miss emails. Or blogging.
We hosted four different groups for two Christmases, New Years, & R's birthday. It was perfect - except when it was messy and tiring and chaotic - and somehow that felt exactly perfect for the Advent.
Blogging just wasn't high on my priority list - menu planning, cooking, reading Christmas books, cuddling, being with friends and family, reflecting on the coming of the Christ, long naps, - so much just seemed more important.
So - just in time for the Epiphany (barely) - I present part 1 of 2 of our Christmas:
attempting to take a perfect Christmas photo with these two budding entertainers was hilarious
Ellie informed Will this Christmas that she has 3 best friends but he is her favorite. She also plans on marrying him. She says "Because I love him."
We made some Christmas crafts and did lots of Christmas coloring.
I keep piles of Christmas books by the fire and loved catching the kids frequently reading
(I love having holiday themed books for major holidays that I only pull out for that holiday.)
I'm telling you - these two are constantly putting on shows. We laugh hard around here.
More story time
Holiday in the Park
Ellie loves to cook! She also loves to eat - this makes cooking with her kind of difficult. The cook must work quickly because the sous chef eats the ingredients.
But I LOVE it.
Ellie helps me every single night prepare dinner. She begs to help and loves cooking and learning about different foods. This particular instance, we were making whipped feta cheese with kalamata olives, tomatoes, garlic, and shallots. Ellie loved it. What kind of 3 year old eats that?
(Notice her hand in the tomato container - I'm telling you - she is sneaky.)
One day, I took the kids to see Santa at a friend's party. I figured this would be perfect - we could see Santa without the long lines of the mall.
My kids were scared.
This was as close as I could get Ellie and she refused to smile.
Will finally agreed to go talk to Santa and basically he reviewed the list we mailed.
(Ellie's list actually ended up printed in the newspaper!)
The week before Christmas, Ellie's dance class did a little Christmas show. Lots of moms and dads and grandparents and friends came to watch and the girls were so cute. Dance class with Ellie is one of the highlights of our week.
Ellie's Daddy brought her flowers after her dance show - she was one proud girl and insisted on putting them in a vase in her room.
Will celebrated Christmas with his class with a pjs and pigs party - the kids had fun eating breakfast together and getting really excited for Christmas!
Silly kindergartners - group hug on their teacher
Ellie loved to help me "decorate" - and even did some of her own decorations
she hung up one of her aprons on the tree and I loved it - so it remained up all season!
(and still is up because I have yet to take down the tree.)
We hosted Christmas this year for the very first time... and decided to go big by doing it twice!
First, R's side of the family travelled here from all over Texas. The kids were beside themselves with excitement.
We celebrated Daddy's bday a little early while his family was in town.
The kids LOVED having their cousins spend the night. We filled Will's room with mattresses and my kids were so excited.
Rainy, cold weather changed our plans for Saturday so we improvised to wear off energy with a little Dance Dance Revolution.
and some woods exploration in our backyard in between rain showers
The kids were so excited for gift time on Saturday!
I found these perplexus puzzle balls right before Christmas and they were such a hit - with both kids & adults! Santa managed to get our family one too.
Playing with new toys and cousins all afternoon is a perfect way to spend a rainy day
I love to set a pretty table and had such fun setting and resetting my table for each meal. I have to admit - it was one of my favorite parts of the hosting.
This was my first time to do a real Christmas dinner. By the time I sat down, I realized that one of my dishes was luke warm... so I think I didn't quite get the timing perfect. That was hard for me - when feeding a big group of people and trying to get the timing right on the food along with everyone to the table. Oh well - learning experience. I did love cooking for family and being in my kitchen while I listened to kids playing.
In between Christmas celebrations - more cuddling and reading by the fire... with sweet Meow Baby (now a year old!)
One cold morning, I took the kids to a nearby indoor water park for some much needed water time. Water is my happy place. It makes me feel peaceful and centered - even if its highly chlorinated. The kids loved it (except Ellie resented being made to wear a life jacket by the lifeguards.) It was a great way to wear off some winter energy on a cold day.
Round 2 coming up soon... I promise (not that anyone cares except my mom who told me she was ready for me to update pictures...)
Will is being honored all week at school as "special kid of the week" so I do want to do a school post soon!