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Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day 2015

We had a very relaxed Christmas this year. Traveling home for Christmas was a little out of our budget, so it was just the three of us. As usual, Sarah crawled into bed with us around 7 for a little morning cuddle time. I convinced her it was time to get up and go downstairs by reminding her that Santa had come to visit while she was sleeping.

 The first thing she said as she came down the stairs was, "painting!". We had to spend some time drawing pictures before we could open any presents.
Helping Mommy take down the stockings.

 Sarah was happy to help unload all of our stockings - especially when she realized Santa brings chocolate.
 Santa brings Play-doh too? We had to take another break from the presents after she found this one.

 Sarah has this weird thing right now where she insists on wearing socks on her hands. These fuzzy socks made perfect mittens.
 What little girl wouldn't be thrilled to get a puppy for Christmas?
 Sarah's big Christmas gift was a Little People princess castle with all of the Disney princesses, which I picked up on Craigslist months ago for $10. I have been anxiously waiting to give it to her. She played with it all day long.
Aunt Amy made Sarah a "cray hair, don't care" shirt. She knows our girl well.

Kelson got lots of new socks and a case for his watches.

 And some gummy bears, of course. Sarah was happy to help with these.
 Apparently Kelson was getting a little emotional over the Little Engine that Could.
 Kelson surprised me with a new guitar. I can't wait to learn to play it.
 Grandma Bonnie sent Sarah a beautiful quilt
 And Aunt Jehana sent our puppy-loving girl a new towel.
Between her parents, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, and Santa, this girl had quite the Christmas. She spent all day playing with her new toys, and so did Mom and Dad. We finally got dressed sometime in the middle of the afternoon. It was a perfectly relaxing day.
 Kelson made a delicious stuffed pork roast for dinner, and we drove around town delivering a few secret Santa gifts while it cooked.
We enjoyed our simple Christmas dinner and then spent the evening at home watching a movie. It was a wonderful Christmas. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to spend it with our loved ones. Thank goodness for video chatting!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

We spent our Christmas Eve cooking, making last-minute preparations, and eating dinner with our good friends, the Phillips. They have a little girl exactly Sarah's age, and we all had lots of fun together.
 After dinner, we enjoyed some Christmas carols. 
Elaina helped me out on the piano while Sarah took care of the percussion. The Little Drummer Boy is her favorite.
It was dark by now, and Sarah declared it was time to go see Christmas lights, so we went for our traditional evening walk.

 We did a scavenger hunt with the nativity pieces as we talked about the Christmas story.
 Sarah was excited to open the final box in the advent calendar and find a tiny nativity scene.
 After Sarah went to bed, Kelson and I got to help Santa out a little bit. Kelson put together Sarah's easel while I played with arranged her princess castle. We had a little too much fun. Christmas is so much better with children in the house!

We had so much fun decorating and preparing our new home for Christmas. This room looked so happy on Christmas Eve!

We finished our Christmas preparations about 11:00 and walked outside to look at our Christmas lights for a moment. We looked up and saw the most amazing moon. This is apparently called a moon halo, and it is a rainbow caused by moonlight refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. It looked awesome! We both felt like it was a special Christmas treat, like seeing the Christmas star.

 All ready for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


This Christmas season, we enjoyed plenty of festive things around the community, but we also made sure to have plenty of time to enjoy Christmas things at home. We made a special effort to set the stress of the holiday season aside and really enjoy ourselves as a family, and I think we were pretty successful.
Sarah has played non-stop with her Little People nativity set since Thanksgiving.

 Giving baby Jesus kisses.
 Making gingerbread cookies
Sarah loves playing with play doh. Cookie dough was even more fun.
Adding frosting and M&M's. Sarah was happy to taste samples.

 Sarah & I had a mommy-daughter date to the Smithfield Christmas parade. It was a fun parade, but Sarah got bored toward the end, so we snuck out ahead of the traffic.
 We stopped for donuts at O'Doodle Doo's on the way home, and Sarah was delighted to meet a giant rooster.
 Kelson carved a beautiful set of chopsticks for his parents for Christmas, and I made them a shiny case.
We took Sarah to Bass Pro Shop to meet Santa Claus. Mostly she wanted to watch the fish in the giant fish tank.

Santa was pretty much terrifying. Sitting on his knee was definitely not happening.

 A couple days before Christmas, we went to Colonial Williamsburg to see their Christmas decorations. We didn't really take any pictures that day, but it was very festive. It had been pouring down rain all morning, so the place was deserted. The rain had pretty much stopped by the time we got there, and we had the park practically to ourselves. This was Sarah enjoying the coloring room in the art museum.
 Sometimes, getting out a real ladder is just too much work. That is when you have to use your head to solve the problem.
 Sarah was amazingly excited to wake up from her nap one day and discover that we had a Christmas tree in our living room. She helped me hang up the ornaments, and then she really didn't bother them for the rest of the season. She would walk all around the tree pointing at each ornament and naming it, but never trying to take them down.
 She did add things occasionally. Notice that her glasses found her way on to the tree. I also found some interesting items from her play kitchen, such as a bagel and some lettuce, tucked in the tree.
All ready for the ward Christmas party. This is the face you get when you tell Sarah to smile. Sarah had a great time at the ward party. She kept slipping away from us to get up in front and dance during the musical program.

One of Sarah's favorite things was opening the boxes on our advent calendar each day. It was always one of my favorite parts of Christmas as a child too, and it was fun to watch Sarah get excited about it.

 Ready for church on the Sunday before Christmas.
Sarah LOVES Christmas lights. I don't even know how many light viewing walks and drives we have gone on. Each night, around the time it gets dark, Sarah wraps herself in a blanket and announces "Go lights!". She is going to be very sad when discovers that people take down their lights after Christmas.

We have been having so much Christmas fun!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Busch Gardens Williamsburg shuts down for a few weeks and completely transforms into Christmas Town. When I heard about this, I knew we had to go. It definitely did not disappoint. We had so much fun! The park is set up so that each section represents a different European country.

We started the day in Scotland, where Sarah met a Clydesdale and some very fuzzy cows.

 Kelson and I each took a turn on the Verboten roller coaster, which was super fun.
 My mom definitely needs one of these in her house.
 Notice the t-shirt and shorts. Our weather here in Virginia is completely confused. We had cold weather for a few weeks, and then we got hit with a heat wave. It was 75 degrees this day. They had to cancel the ice skating show because they couldn't keep the ice frozen.
 Sarah told everyone that walked up to this display, "Look! The train's comin!"
 The decorations were awesome! Sarah is a big fan of Christmas trees.
 We made it to 5 of their 6 stage shows, and they were all awesome. Sarah got a little bored during one show, so she and Daddy went out to explore Ireland. They were playing some very jaunty Christmas music, and people stopped to watch Sarah's adorable dancing.
 What happens when Mommy isn't around? Sarah starts kissing Christmas lights.
 We found the North Pole!
In England, we felt like we had walked into a Dickens novel.

 We ate dinner at Das Festhaus while watching a Rockettes-style show. Very Christmasy! Sorry you had to be subjected to the terrifying sight of my hair at the end of a rainy day. It was drizzling for a good share of the day, and by the end I was afraid to look in the mirror.

 As you entered the North Pole, the music from the movie, The Santa Clause was playing. It was a very magical feeling.
 Enjoying the light show. The lights on the Christmas tree changed along with the music.

 One of the rides is shut down for the winter and completely covered in lights, turning it into cliffs of ice with waterfalls. 
For our last activity of the day, we rode the sky tram around the park to look at the lights from the air. Sarah snuggled in and told me, "Mommy's tired." A couple of minutes later, it was "Daddy's tired." Finally, we made it to "Sarah's tired." She was asleep almost before we had made it out of the parking lot. We had a wonderful day together at Christmas town!