We had some wonderful times surrounding Christmas this year. It is difficult having a newbie at Christmas and I remember feeling the same way when Mac was little three years ago. I felt torn between trying to snuggle with Johnny and learn more about him with doing our Christmas "to do" list and making things "perfect". We found a good balance in the end and I think we all enjoy some of our traditions.
This was from the photo shoot I did for our Christmas card. I loved that Johnny's tag says "Special Delivery". I also particularly love this picture because it shows their current personalities so well...Mac is looking up for approval, Keegan is direct and mischevious, and Johnny is...
This year we attended our church's Children's Christmas program so the girls could see some of their older friends singing on the big stage at church. It was a good little program and MacKenzie really enjoyed seeing all the angels on stage.
We also got to continue a long standing tradition of decorating and baking cookies with my dad. I have done this tradition for as many years as I can remember and my dad said he has been doing this for years before I was born. Growing up we always decorated with sugar and sprinkles, never, ever with icing. When Matt joined in the tradition he pushed for icing which I find to be blasphemous. Sometimes he gets icing and sometimes he doesn't...this time we "forgot". We love to nibble on the dough as my dad rolls it out and prepares the cookies with a wide assortment of cutters. In a rather silly way, I knew I was becoming an adult when, in high school, I was finally allowed to spread the milk on the cookies for the sprinkles to stick to. It's a task that my mom had always done prior and I really felt a sense of pride in being trusted to do such a small part.
Of course we had plenty of mess ups and sugar coated cookies as the girls got enthusiastic with their decorating. Both girls were covered in sprinkles at the end of the night, but they really enjoyed picking out which cookie to eat for several nights saying "I want the (star, tree, bell) cookie that I made with PawPaw".
A growing tradition (second year) is for our family to have dinner at Chick Fil A the night Santa comes to visit. All of the CFAs in our area are doing more and more for family events in the evenings and sometimes during the days which includes an evening with Santa and free pictures. We like this for a number of reasons, the main one being we hate to pay for mall Santa pictures without knowing if the girls will be in the right mood to hang out with Santa once we get there. The girls gladly went up to Santa, smiled, were polite, and said thank you for their Candy canes. MacKenzie knows that Santa brings candy canes and usually tells us that he lives at Chick Fil A since she remembered meeting him last year. This year as we walked through our neighborhood Kroger there was an older man wearing a Santa hat and giving out apple samples so now she thinks Santa brings apples too.
Johnny of course simply thought good thoughts about a warm, snuggly body to hold him.
The girls had a blast opening their presents.
On Christmas Eve we went to my Dad's house to enjoy time with him and Debra. My dad loves to cook and had some great appetizer snacks for us to eat. While snacking we all sat together helping the girls open presents and visiting. After dinner, which was nice and relaxed, we all sat and watched A Christmas Story. The girls were fascinated by it and sat through almost the entire movie. Add one more to the continuing traditions!
We have tried (successfully so far) to have the girls home on Christmas morning so they can wake up in their house and have a fun time opening presents and having family time there. This year the girls got a bicycle and a tricycle and enjoyed multiple laps and pushes around the house from Daddy. It rained most of the day so they weren't able to try it outside. We enjoyed a big breakfast and spent time reading new books before nap time and really treasured the relaxing time at home.
For Christmas dinner, my Mom, Fred, and Grandmother came over. We had some Mexican food and sweets and watched the kids run around like little maniacs. Of course Johnny did the same thing he always does...sleep.
I was very glad for Johnny to get to really meet my Grandmother and had a chance to snuggle with her. That was an extra special part of Christmas for me.