Christmas was only a few weeks away so it was time to squeeze in as many holiday traditions as possible. We tried something new this year that we thought the girls would enjoy. We took them for a ride on the Santa Train!
The old fashioned train car takes you for a short ride down the tracks while visiting with Santa. It was a cool experience since the girls had never been on a train before. They learned a little bit about trains while getting another chance to tell Santa what they hope to get for Christmas.
What better way to get into the holiday spirit than a little snow? We got our first decent snow fall in December and the girls couldn't wait to get out and play. Beasley even got in on the action. I think he may have had more fun in the snow than the kids! I'm glad we got some snow in December, because we haven't really had much since.
To celebrate the holiday season Cece's classroom held a little party for the kids and parents. Cece loves a chance to show us what she does at school, and she loves running around with her little friends. She has really come into her own this year and has become much more confident in her abilities. It's hard to believe that she is more than half way through her Kindergarten year!
There is probably nothing we look forward to more each year than our "official" visit with Santa. We always pick a night for the girls to put on their Christmas dresses to visit with Santa and get our annual picture. We go to the same place each year so we often get the same Santa. He was super friendly and made a cautious Cece feel very comfortable. She was happy to sit on his lap, but was a little shy about sharing her Christmas wishes. Big sister helped to relay that message.
In between all of our fun holiday fun Cecilia got to attend a super friend birthday party at Build-A-Bear for her friend Avery. Cece loves this store, so when she found out that she was going to a party there and was going to get to make her own bear she lost her mind!
Cece chose to make an Elsa bear and even got to dress her in an official Elsa dress. She was in heaven! She had the best time with Avery and the other kids and declared this the best birthday party she had ever attended! The Elsa bear has been by her side ever since.
Christmas break means time off of school, which means special days with Nana. She has certain things she likes to do with them each year like visit the holiday village at one of our local hospitals. It is set up like a seek and find. There is a list and you try to find everything on the list throughout the village. It's a challenge! And of course there is cookie decorating. My Mom makes her sugar cookies each year and the girls look forward to decorating their own. They took this activity pretty seriously and the results were fabulous...and tasty!
Another advantage to Christmas break is that Cecilia gets to spend more time with her babysitter, Holly. Since she is in school full day she only sees Holly for a few hours each day. She was really looking forward to spending some full days with Holly and her friends during the break. One of the days was extra special as she got Holly all to herself. They did some shopping, went out for lunch, crafted and of course left time for cuddles. It was Cece's perfect day!
Olivia kept busy during the break as well. One of her highlights was attending the Beasley soccer camp with a few of her soccer buddies. Demarcus Beasley is a local professional soccer star and he hosted a 3 day camp over the holidays. It was an amazing opportunity for the kids to be able to learn directly from a pro. They had a great time and learned a bunch!
Christmas was only days away and it was time to start celebrating. We kicked off the holiday weekend with beer tasting party. Some family friends hold this party annually and we were excited to attend again this year. The girls were excited to return so they could see Winston. Winston is their puppy with the most unforgettable face. He may be goofy looking, but he is super sweet and the girls just love him!
After weeks of anticipation Christmas Eve finally arrived! The girls were bursting with excitement! Each year we attend the children's service at our church on Christmas Eve. It's such a fun service for the kids and we always participate as a family. For the past few years Olivia has done a reading and we help to bring up part of the nativity. My favorite part? Seeing the girls in their beautiful Christmas dresses!
After church we usually head to my Mom's to open stockings and a few little gifts. Christmas Day is so full of presents that it is nice to spread things out a bit. We have appetizers for dinner, throw on a Christmas movie and prepare for Santa!
The girls each took turns opening their stockings, and then Cecilia took her time opening all the little gifties in our stockings as well. She just loves opening gifts, even if they aren't hers. It may not officially be Christmas yet, but you would guess it was by the joy in their eyes!
After a fun night it was time for the little ones to rest their heads and hope that Santa and his reindeer make his way to our house. We are fortunate that our girls are not super early risers on Christmas morning, but when they do wake up they are beyond excited to head downstairs to see if Santa made an appearance.
Success! They were ecstatic to see that Santa granted their wishes. Cece wanted Troll toys and Olivia wanted Panda bedding. Pretty simple requests...thank goodness! Their smiles were priceless! There is nothing quite like Christmas morning.
Next we moved onto our family gifts. We kept things simple, like we have for the past few years. The girls get so many gifts from both grandmas that it seems silly for us to spoil them as well. They each had a few things they really wanted, and that is what we stuck to. Olivia desperately wanted a Dash Robot. This is something she discovered at her school that she instantly fell in love with. It's a small robot that you can program to do certain things through coding. It was the perfect gift for her.
Cece's request was even simpler. She wanted a basket full of blind bags. What are blind bags, you ask? They are little bags that contain little toys. The trick is that you never know what is inside, so you never know exactly what toy you are going to get until you open the bag. She loves the suspense of opening these bags, only to discover what's inside. Along with a few other gifts Cece was completely content with her goodies!
Next it was onto Nana's for Christmas #2!. I prepared myself for the fact that Nana was going to spoil the girls. It's what she does every year. There were more presents than you can imagine, and of course they were above the moon. Nana enjoys every second of seeing the joy in their eyes!
It was a morning full of wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper and awesome gifts! It was a lovely Christmas morning which turned into a relaxing Christmas afternoon. We had two very happy little girls with more than enough gifts to keep them occupied. Blessed is an understatement, and we make sure they know it!
Our final stop on a busy Christmas Day was to Todd's Mom's. As if the girls had not received enough gifts already, it was time for round 3. Olivia's day continued to get better with each panda gift she received. Her grandmother gave her the biggest Panda gift to date...a huge stuffed Panda. She was speechless!
Our Christmas holiday was a magical time. Watching the joy in my girls' eyes was the only gift I needed. My girls are growing quickly so I am enjoying these times while I can. 2016 was an interesting year. I am ready close the book and see what 2017 has in store for us.