It's always so fun to see the magic of the Christmas season through the eyes of children. This year was no different!
Kyler LOVED the Christmas tree! It was just the perfect height for him to roll under, those branches were just so fun to grab, and the lights and shiny ornaments made the best teething toys. We couldn't keep him away so we just went with it!
Early in the season we made sure to go to breakfast with Santa. It's been a tradition for Keith's side of the family since before I was ever in the picture and it continues to be a highlight for all the kids. It holds a special place in our hearts because we announced our first pregnancy at this breakfast 4 years ago. The past 4 years we've gone to the Nazarene church event. They serve a nice pancake breakfast, provide fun activities for kids, take great pictures with Santa, and then Santa comes out to read a story about the true meaning of Christmas. The morning finishes with each kid getting a small gift from Santa's bag. It's totally worth the $6 tickets!!! If you are looking for a morning with Santa I would highly recommend this event! Every year is fun, but this year had the added bonus of Kendall's best friend Liam joining us. In fact, he was the ticket to getting Kendall to sit with Santa for the picture. Lucky for us, we now will forever remember the year that Liam came!
"Liam helped me be brave, Mama"
And her bravery continued on our way out as she got a little tiger stuffed toy and a candy cane directly out of the hand of Santa!
Right when we got home I had a little photo shoot while the kids were still in their Christmas best.
This year we introduced Kendall to a few classic kids Christmas movies. Her favorite is the old cartoon version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Although she insists it's actually called "The Grunch".
Kendall LOVES to craft! We did several fun Christmas projects this year. We made a snow globe (it took 3 tries but we ended up with this great Dora in a baby food jar snow globe!).
Kendall made little gifts for all her friends and cousins. She filled these bags with "snowman poo" that they could add to their hot cocoa!
She painted (over top of masking tape) snowflakes to give to the special adults in our kids lives. I really like how these all look together and it makes me want to have her paint some more to add to our holiday decorations!
I also made the kids foot prints into reindeer, but can't get that picture to load from my phone.
One day while Quincy came over they made Christmas tree hats, and reindeer headbands. And I didn't get a picture, but on one of our "Ella days" the girls made sticker Christmas villages and also arranged window clings to decorate.
A new event we did this year was the Journey to the North Pole in Couer D'Alene. We took a cruise boat all the way to the North Pole! We enjoyed all the pretty lights and then waited to hear if Kendall and Kyler's names were read by Santa off of his "Nice list". They both made the list! What a relief! Kendall genuinely bought into every second of this journey. It was one of the best Groupons I've ever purchased and we will be looking for it again for next year.
One afternoon our cousin Alli came over to babysit this kids so I could finish up wrapping gifts. It had just snowed a couple days before so Alli took them outside to play. This was Kyler's first time in the sled. Kendall had a blast pulling him along in it.
We kept planning to drive around and look at Christmas lights but it was just not happening. Until right before Christmas. We were driving home from an extended family Christmas party and Kendall hadn't had a nap all day, she fell asleep HARD on the car ride home around 4:30. We took her straight to bed and thought our chance to do the lights was totally over. But she ended up waking up at like 8:30pm and totally freaked us out by standing and chatting with us in her half asleep state. We were super confused but embraced it and ended up going for a late night spin around town. We did stop in at Dutch Bros for a "whip stick" and hot cocoa. We found a few really good ones close in our neighborhood. Kyler slept through it all snuggled up in his car seat.
I enjoyed the magic of hand made cards and gifts from my students. This little guy worked so hard to write my name. I know it took a lot of patience for him to get all these letter down and I appreciate each one of them!
Rudolph and Mrs. Claus
Or is it Santa and Rudolph?
I like dressing my kids up and taking pictures of them :)
One of Kyler's favorite Christmas activity was playing with the Little People manger scene. He mostly ate the characters in the story, but we like to think he was just celebrating the birth of Christ. Kyler also loved tipping over the manger and filling it with all the characters then dumping it out. Here he is sharing it with his buddy Carter.
Our last magical activities took place on the night before Christmas. Here Kendall dumped out her reindeer food. She looked at some other areas to spread it out, but in the end decided to put it all in one pile on the front porch.
Then she picked out (tasted) the perfect cookies to leave out for Santa. We did these things before we left for church and dinner with family because we figured she'd be fast asleep in the car again. WRONG! She was wide awake and excited about Santa coming. We worried her when we didn't go to bed at the same time as her because she was afraid Santa might skip our house. Before she went to bed we watched a video that Santa sent to my email just for Kendall, and then Keith read T'was the Night Before Christmas (along with a few new holiday books the kids opened as their Christmas eve gift).
And here is our peaceful little house where all the magic of Christmas has taken place for Keith and I for the past 8 years. It's bittersweet to say goodbye to our first home, but I'm so thankful we got to spend one last Christmas in it.