Dec 22, 2009

Busy Holiday Season

I did it to myself. This year we tried something new and put a piece of paper with an activity in each box of this advent calendar. Steve and I are notorious procrastinators so this seemed like a good idea and provided some structure to the holiday season for us. It's a lot to do 24 activities even if you sneak some boring ones in there, like wrap presents and put out the Christmas lights. And of course, nothing goes 100% as planned. Like losing the paper snowflake templates....

.....Or like the night this was taken. We were supposed to go see Santa and got all ready to go but discovered at 8:15 that because it was earlier in the month than our normal last minute visit they closed at 8:00 instead of 10:00. I was annoyed to say the least so rather than waste all that energy getting ready, I broke out the tripod and got a family shot in front of the tree. Lemonade from lemons, right? Except that the kids didn't think it was fun and cried.

Here we are trimming the tree. Evie's wearing her Heidi costume. She always has some crazy dress-up outfit on. This was another Goodwill find.

I do love the look of the tree at night. I just wish it didn't take 3 days to put on all those ornaments. And I wish there was more time to sit around looking at it so it felt worthwhile. In reality I have to admit I'm a bit of a scrooge.

We didn't get as lucky as last year when our neighbor brought us a gingerbread house ready to decorate. We had to make it this year and it's still half decorated on the kitchen table. Even the kids are bored with it. Maybe we'll finish it next week.

Ainsley "got it" right away.....

... and tried her best to put some pieces on. She was able to pick up the candy with a pincer grasp. Just sticking it onto the Royal Icing was hard for her. Heck it's hard for us to get it to stick.

So we made it to see Santa the following week. Unfortunately I have a tendency to close my eyes in response to the flash so the kids don't look great in this shot but at least my eyes are open. Sheesh!

The kids got teddy bears from "Eggnog" the photographer. What a name.

The kids dropped their Santa letters in the mail box to be sent to the North Pole. A very cool thing, Macy's is donating $1 to Make-A-Wish for each letter received up to $1,000,000. We've had many friends receive a "Wish" and Ainsley may be a wish recipient some day. What a great thing for Macy's to do.

We always visit the trains in the Macy's window. The kids look forward to this every year.

We visited the Gingerbread Village made by local architects, at the Sheraton Hotel. (Thanks Jenny for that tip.) This year's theme was Christmas Films. Ainsley didn't get to come (she was at home with her nurse) but I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of the photos anyway. Remember if you click on the pictures you can see them full size. This one is the Muppets.

We loved the Snoopy house for its simplicity. But they were all fantastic.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

A close-up of A Christmas Story. Love the tongue stuck on the pole.

The full Christmas Story.

A Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Polar Express. Wow! I couldn't fit the whole thing in the picture with the crowd.

As always we put out the Christmas Village that I inherited from my Mom.

Making cookies. Ainsley knew what to do with the rolling pin. That was a surprise. She thought it was a blast!

She even seemed to smell the gingerbread cookies (I think her sense of smell is compromised by the trach).

The kids have had fun. But we're having a hard time keeping up with it all. Not every day was a sucess with the advent calendar but we did a lot more than we normally would have.

We also visited Madrona Beach to see the Christmas Ship carolers (I forgot my memory card in the computer.) We made Great-grandpa Herb's Swedish Almond Spritz cookies. We sang Christmas carols. Read our favorite Christmas books. Took a trip to Candycane Lane to see their lights (too many pictures to post). Made a gift for Daddy (Note to self: Big mistake!). We watched the Nutcracker ballet on DVD, Elf and the Polar Express. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. We did more than we normally would because it was all planned ahead. I'm not sure I'll be doing this style of advent calendar again next year. I learned the chocolate ones are popular for a reason.

Now we start visiting family, all four sides within 3 days. So you won't hear from me until it's all over. I'm looking forward to the day after Christmas. I think it's my favorite day of the year. Gee I wonder why. I told you I'm a bit of a scrooge.



  1. Beautiful tree, beautiful family and beautiful Christmas memories. Thank you for sharing. Merry Christmas to you, Susan and family.

  2. Gorgeous family picture Susan.

    I love that idea of the advent fun is that? Beats having the children open a plastic tasting chocolate that was probably made in 1945.. right?
    I mean seriously have you tasted one of those things?

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. hope your holiday is wonderful!!!! Izzy's surgery was postponed agian now till feb 19th so she will not be there on the 8th anymore but we do have apts the 5th nd 6th so hope we still get to say hello!! we will be keeping all in our thoughts though the new year adn hoping she heals fast! sending our love~wyndi and Izzy

  4. Susan...YOU ROCK!!!!! i actually think it is a great idea. Looks like the kids will have so many great memories!!