Our December has already been quite full...I just haven't had a camera to capture much of it! Between my adventures in trying to charge the stupid camera battery to my cell phone being lost in Nebraska, I've been really at a loss. Borrowing Lucas' phone...when he is around...has had to suffice.
For starters, this is one of the things that I'm most excited about this year. A couple years ago I read about (and LOVED the idea of) a tradition where they read a different Christmas book each night leading up to Christmas. The problem was that we didn't have enough books. I have been slowly collecting each year, but figured it would still be a couple years before we had enough. Then I was reading one of my favorite blogs, and she had a post about her book advent calendar. Not only did it seem like a great way to combine a tradition I thought would be awesome with my lack of an advent calendar, but she also had the suggestion of using the library to fill in the gaps until you build your Christmas stash. Genius! I wrapped each of the books and we are already having so much fun!
The best part was that, the first night, I was trying to explain to them why we were doing this. I said, "Today is the first day of December. Do you know what that means?" Without missing a beat Ryan said, "Christmas-time!" Surprised, but trying not to show it, I said, "Do you know what we celebrate at Christmas?" Allie chimed in with "Jesus' birthday!" I was floored. I had never sat down to talk about this with them, but they picked it up somehow. I got all choked up. They are getting so big! So we call this tradition our "Countdown to Jesus' birthday!" They are doing pretty well with not opening the entire basket full of wrapped books when I'm not paying attention...and they certainly keep perfect track of whose night it is to open the book!
I was expecting a lazy Friday night, but Lucas was in the mood to do something festive. He suggested the Living Nativity at the local campground. We decided we didn't have enough time to do the whole hayride through the Living Nativity (Lucas had a meeting), but they have an indoor portion with hot chocolate, decorate your own cookie, yummy treats like popcorn and roasted nuts, AND model trains!!!
The twins were in love! Not only did they stand they spend the majority of our 40 minutes there watching the trains, but even yummy snacks could barely pull them away (but we had to because other kids wanted to see too)!
I thought it would be fun for the twins to have their own little tree in their room, so while we were out shopping, I took them over to pick one out. I have always secretly wanted one of the shiny, colored trees. They are so delightfully tacky :) I was thrilled when that was what the twins picked (because kids can pick out tacky, and its just cute)! But they couldn't decide on a color. Allie wanted purple, Ryan wanted blue, no one wanted to compromise. Then I looked up and saw mini trees - 2 were the same price as one of the size we were looking at! So they each got their OWN tree in the color they wanted! They are so thrilled!
For our main Christmas tree, we went and got a real one this year! We weren't going to. I had a plan where we would save our money and use the fake one we were given last year until the twins were old enough to remember and appreciate the experience of getting a live one. Then we discovered that we only packed half of our fake tree stand (and couldn't find the other part). Since we didn't have a tree that could stand up on its own, and the twins seem to be really clued into Christmas this year, we decided to spring for the live one. But, Lucas and I had no clue what we were doing. And we went on their busiest day of the year. And it was a bit of a disaster. But there was a kind lady who walked us through the different trees, and the process. It was late in the day, so we decided to go for one of the pre-cuts rather than do the wagon ride out to the field to cut our own. We decided to save that part of the experience for next year :) Because of the craziness, and us feeling out of place, we only got one picture...the kids with Santa.
Their very first picture with Santa!
They were very unsure about Santa. Who wouldn't be? At the time, I was thinking that there was no other circumstance in which I would encourage my children to endear themselves to (let alone sit on the lap of) a strange man who was trying to earn their affection by offering them candy! They didn't sit on his lap, but they got close enough to get this picture. They now refer to Santa as "the guy that gives them suckers." This could lead to future disappointment should another Santa offer them anything else!
Getting the tree in the house was an adventure. It was too fat for the tree stand. And then when we got it upright, the top branch brushed the ceiling! Our tree that had been one of the "small" ones at the tree farm had to have the top branch cut down in order to put on a topper! Yikes! Then the majority of our lights from last year didn't work, so we had to go buy new lights. I half expected a squirrel to be living in there!
The twins helping decorate the tree.
They tended to bunch up the balls in one spot so the tree looked like this:
We finally got our tree decorated (sorry, no after pictures...yet. My camera is currently full of some other pictures...). I was surprised to discover that we had enough ornaments to fill the whole giant tree! And our little tree (decorated almost entirely by the twins...pictures to come later, I'm sure). I was also surprised to realize that we have 5 Christmas trees of varying sizes in our house! At least it looks festive! It has been really fun having the twins help decorate this year. It is taking me so much longer, but I love pulling out a box and asking them where things should go, and letting them put the things they can't break wherever they want. Decorating was one of my favorite traditions growing up, and I love that they can finally be a part of that now!
Hope your Decembers are full of festive celebration too!