I won't lie, I may have overdone it this year on Christmas activities. This year the girls are at especially magical ages - they believe in Santa, understand all that's going on, and I know this stage is so short! So yeah, I planned about 23843984 activities. I asked Aubrey out of everything we did in December - Disneyland, Polar Express, Nutcracker, etc, etc. what her favorite thing was. She thought about it for a minute and said, "making gingerbread houses with my cousins at our house!" I loved how out of everything we did, a simple family activity was her favorite. Even though our schedule was overfilled, we still had lots of fun! But will definitely plan less for next year. :)
The girls had their Winter dance show a few days after we got back from Disneyland. This year it was the "Grinch" and Kate was a Christmas tree and Aubrey was a stocking. They both did wonderful and were darling in it. As usual, we aren't allowed to take pictures in their costumes for the Winter show since they rent the costumes and put them on backstage. (I'm still bitter about no pictures after all these years of recitals...) I did snap a quick shot before we left.
The morning of their dance show, we went to "Breakfast with Santa" at Aubrey's school. Needless to say it was a busy day! Aubrey met Santa and told him what she wanted. Kate was too scared, but Aubrey let Santa know what she wanted for her. (Makeup) I thought that was so sweet!
Our next Christmas festivity was the Polar Express. We had never been but knew it would be good since it sells out so early each year. I bought the tickets so far in advance we didn't realize Steve had somewhere important to be for work that night. You can't reschedule or get a refund - gulp! We went with my family so I didn't brave it alone! We missed Steve (and the $55.00 we ate for his ticket) but the girls loved it. There was cookies, hot cocoa, the North Pole, and Santa, what more could a kid want? Here are some grainy phone pics from the train ride.
First taste of cocoa!
That Saturday we did one of our favorite traditions - saw the Nutcracker Ballet with Grammy! We skipped last year to wait until Kate was old enough to enjoy it. She did think it was a bit long, but still loved watching the beautiful ballerinas dance. We all decided we want to be ballerinas when we grow up! :)
These girls! So beautiful, inside and out.
Kate conked out in the last act.
Next was Aubrey's favorite - gingerbread houses! We made our family dinner one Sunday and took family pictures in my studio with everyone, (thanks to my dad's tripod!) and afterwards decorated gingerbread houses.
More fun pictures from our month:
On Christmas Eve eve we always do our own little family's tradition: sibling gift exchange, new jammies, hot cocoa, new ornaments, and Christmas movie marathon. During the gift exchange, Kate had gotten Aubrey a Star Wars play doh set that she loved. Before we had the girls open the gifts, we told them no matter what it is to say thank you, give their sister a big hug, and act very excited about it no matter what the gift is. Well, once it was Kate's turn to open Aubrey's gift, I think that advice was a little too much pressure for her because as soon as she unwrapped the gift and saw a plain cardboard box, she burst into tears! It was hilarious (she didn't know what the gift was and thought it was just a box - in the box was an easel which she ended up loving.) Anyway it was too funny!
Christmas Eve was spent at Steves parents and Christmas day was spent at my parents, as usual. Lots of fun and memories made! Here are a few phone snaps from Christmas morning. Christmas fell on a Sunday this year so we had to wake the girls to open presents (they slept past 7:30!!) so they would have some time to play before church. I have no idea how we got there on time with all of us ready - a true Christmas miracle!!
Christmas morning - best mess ever!! This year's favorite gifts for the girls were a makeup/vanity set for Kate, and a Just Dance video game for Aubrey. Ella was happy just playing with wrapping paper of course. :) We got her her own little piano since she loves our big one so much.
That was our Christmas season in a (long) nutshell! We had lots on our plate, but had so much fun making memories and being together lots.