"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." John 15:11

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I Remember from December

December - what a fun month! I love how joyful and cozy it feels even though the days are short and cold.

When we returned from our Thanksgiving trip it was already Advent. We were staying home for Christmas this year which meant more cleaning and preparations than usual, but also the joy of being at home on Christmas morning. I have learned the last couple years to tone things down in December - I don't take the kids out to as many activities during the day and we try not to schedule extra get-togethers with friends this month. It helps me to get my list checked off at a more relaxed pace, and allows us to focus more on Advent.

We did have some fun, of course!

A "wild" lunch we had with friends

I had planned to go out in October or November to get Christmas pictures of my kids, but of course I put that off and then got stressed about personally capturing a good family photo for our cards. We ended up going to a photo studio and getting some classics for the photo albums:

Naughty and nice?

Julia did not like having all the attention focused on her and was especially mad when Mommy wasn't able to hold her for the sibling shots.

We did get one good one for the Christmas card, so it was worth it!

Philip and I went on a Mommy/Son date to the Symphony with Philip's preschool. They played songs from Duke Ellington's Nutcracker and a dance company performed as well. It was all geared towards children and was a wonderful event. Philip had fun riding in a school bus for the first time!

We celebrated St. Nicolas Day. Each child received an orange, a bag of gold coins, a small toy, and a Saints for Little Boys/Girls book.

We took the kids to a local nursery to visit their train garden and then picked out our Christmas tree on the way home. Philip and I both saw our tree and knew it was the one. It was beautiful. The only beef Philip ended up having with it was that it was so tall we couldn't put a star on top. He is still telling us that next year he wants to get a smaller tree so we have room for the star.

Andy and I got a baby sitter one afternoon and went to the mall for lunch and shopping. We always used to love going shopping together at Christmastime, but we haven't really done it since we had kids. It was a lot of fun to get out together, but the time flew by quickly!

My parents arrived the weekend before Christmas and we had a great time with them! Philip loves to build things with his Grandpa and Julia loves to read with Grandma.

Having Christmas morning at home with the kids was so special. We opened stockings and presents, had a nice brunch, and then went to noon Mass. Julia was so exhausted by then that she fell to sleep at Mass - there is nothing like having a child fall to sleep in your arms - such a great Christmas gift! The kids happily played the rest of the day away and we had a nice dinner together.

Hmmm, what to open next?

Wow, Andy's jacket is doing some crazy stuff in this picture!

The following day my Mom and I did a little shopping and that evening we packed up the family and went to a Christmas Light show. So pretty and fun!

We also took my parents to one of our favorite museums - the Fire Museum of Maryland. They still had their train garden up, so we enjoyed that in addition to all the beautiful fire trucks and the play room. Andy and I went out that evening to a friend's 40th birthday party and then caught a late movie afterwards.

My parents departed a few days later and their presence was missed by all. We had a nice New Year's Eve at home, playing games together and drinking hot cocoa. The following evening we took the kids to another light show, which was great too. Now we know the best ones to go to in our area!

The kids had a doctor's appointment tucked into the month. Philip shot up more than 1 inch over the last two months. He is growing fast! He was so excited about Christmas this year and really got into Santa Claus. Amazing how much they pick up on Santa without the parents ever saying a word - school, TV, random strangers all teach your kids for you.

Julia is a girly girl. She loves her baby doll and dress up clothes, but is also happy to play with cars and other boy toys. She is silly and likes to make us laugh with her funny faces and silly expressions. She asks to read stories (and eat peanuts) as soon as she wakes up and many times throughout the day. There is never a dull moment around here with these two!