(I put all of the pictures first. So if you don't want to read all the details, you don't have to! :) They are all in order of our activities except this first pic. I had to post the anticipation pic on the steps. Didn't your parents make you do that when you were little?? also, half of these pictures are iphone pics so I apologize in advance )
Okay, since I didn't post the entire month, I have tons of pictures and information to share. I'll make it as brief as possible! We've had SUCH an exciting month. With the children being 3 and 2, December was magical this year...and completely WILD. We started off the Advent season by joining the Advent Wreath Family Celebration night at church. We participated in this last year and decided it would be a tradition. We all eat dinner, then make the advent wreath together with tons of different families. Everyone shares greenery and decor! The night ends with what the advent season really means and we all light the first candle (hope/prophesy) and sing christmas carols.
Next up was the live Nativity at Briarwood. We had never been before and we LOVED it. Briarwood does an incredible job of retelling 13 scenes of the Christmas story and the resurrection using people and animals. It takes 800 members to make it work! If you haven't ever been and you live in Birmingham...go. The kids were totally in awe.
Up next...who could forget Zoolight Safari?!? All the lights make the children hyped up for quite some time. Of course with Chick-fil-A sponsering the whole event, the children were more impressed with seeing the chick-fil-a cows up close and personal. Zoolight Safari is a big hit around here!
We rested for about a week in between all these events, but the excitement at home continued to build. The Grinch became a daily ritual while I showered so the children can pretty much quote it. Of all the Christmas movies, I was shocked this was a favorite. Frosty was a close second. But for all of you out there thinking, "did they really sit and watch the whole thing while you got ready?" the answer is no. One morning (before pics with santa) I came down before drying my hair (as I do everyday to check on them) and it was eerily quiet in the house. I walked into the kitchen to see green sharpie on claire's cheeks, arms and neck. Wells proudly walked up to me and said, "mama, I colored claire with make-up. Isn't she pretty? She looks just like the grinch!" I was furious and didn't take any pictures, but really wish I would have. It only took 30 minutes before I laughed for a LONG time. And just so you know...we didn't go get pictures with santa that day. The next morning, I came downstairs before drying my hair to find chips ahoy cookies spread all around the house. Again, I ask wells in a frustrated tone, "Why are cookies all over the floor?" He responded with, "mom, we are getting ready for santa." Needless to say, my showers are now taken before they wake up or during their naps. If you see me on a day where I didn't want to wake up early...sorry!! We did eventually get pics with santa and ride the reindeer carousel. Claire's eyes tell you how excited she was about that santa's lap experience. We also spent many nights riding around looking at Christmas lights. EVERY night before bed we read Wells favorite book, Born in a Stable. He had the story down pat by Christmas. It was so sweet!! And Claire continued to make us laugh by talking about Mary and "Jophus" all season.
Back to the activies...
The 23rd was spent with Chris' dad's side of the family. David, his brothers and their families and his sister all went to Chris' parents lake house. I sadly had to stay home and rest because I had 103 temp for a couple of days, but the kids and Chris had a blast!
I rested all day on the 24th (except we HAD to make cookies for Santa!! the kids did it all :)) and then we headed off to a children's service at my parent's church where the children dress up as angels, shepards or lambs. It is so sweet. They help to tell the story. Baby Jesus was the big hit of course! From there we went to my mom's side of the family christmas where we had crock pot soups and TONs of fun with all the kiddos. By the way, soups are the way to go! Everyone got to visit and have fun and no one sat over the stove. The kids totally passed out on the way home.
Finally, Christmas Day was upon us! The children really were beyond thrilled and their faces were priceless. We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and played with toys all morning! We then ventured over to my sister's for brunch with just our immediate family (where the kids all have matching pj's of course). After coming home to more playing with toys and naps by all, we headed off to chris' parents for his mom's side of the family Christmas. Chris' mom made the kids an awesome circus tent which was the hit of the night!! Then after MORE food and MORE presents we headed home with children who were completely spent. With spinning heads and exhausted bodies, chris and I decided it was our favorite Christmas season we could ever remember. What joy and excitement children bring to the season. Not only was it magical to experience it all with the kids, but we honestly celebrated Jesus more than I ever have. I saw Him through the eyes of a child this year and it was fascinating. I hope yours was equally as awesome! Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!!