Thursday, December 31, 2009

Holiday Highlights

Yet another very tardy and almost outdated blog post, but I'm sure that's no surprise to all you faithful readers who actually still check this blog every so often!

I have promised myself that I will carve out time for this a little more often, and make it more routine and not so overwhelming for myself. As scattered as my posts have been over the past couple of years, I'm still glad that I have at least a small archive of the happenings in our household, so that Sophie and Jack have something to read and look back on when they're older. And looking back myself, it amazes me to see how much things have changed over such a short time. We are entering a whole new phase of life with Jack's growing independence.

Here are some of the highlights from our Christmas Season...

Sophie participated in our church Christmas Pageant as one of many 4 year old sheep. The children have worked on learning the songs and memorizing bible verses since early September, and it was thrilling to watch it all come together. Jack didn't make the age cut-off for the pageant, but he too learned the music and surprised his pre-school teachers by requesting, "Angels We Have Heard on High" during music time!

Here's Sophie in action.

The Loomis Family annual gingerbread decorating party was another favorite. The Loomis's never disappoint with the amazing array of candy that can be used for the house as well as the fact that Lorraine makes the cookie houses and icing all from scratch, and has assembled on for each child before they arrive.

This was the first year that Sophie was more focused on actually decorating the house than sneaking candy. She worked on her house for more than an hour, covering every possible space with a different type of candy. Jack on the other hand, was much more focused eating the candy in his bowl. All was well in his world until he shoved a handful of shredded wheat in his mouth (intended to be used for a thatched roof), which threw him for a major loop.

Sophie and I enjoyed lots of baking and some fun crafts this year. She definitely has a love for art and creativity. She especially enjoyed adding her own special touch to our frosted sugar cookies.

Having traveled to North Carolina last Christmas, we were content to stay put this year and have Oma join us for a few days. The kids always love it when there's a grandparent in the house and it made it extra special this year.

After several weeks of build up and excitement about Santa, Sophie gleefully ran into our room Christmas morning and declared, "Santa has come!". When we asked how she knew this, she confessed to glancing over the balcony on the way to our room and seeing that our stockings were filled. Interestlingly enough, she was content to hang out in our room for awhile until Jack woke up so they could venture downstairs together. She did end up popping down before him since he slept unusually late, but she was suprisingly patient.

The first thing they both did upon arriving at the fireplace was check out whether or not Santa had eaten the cookies they left out. There were several crumbs and cookie parts left on the plate, which Jack proceeded to chow down on without any urgency to open his stocking

It was hilarious to watch the different "styles" of the kids in opening their gifts. Sophie ripped into to everything quickly, barely glancing at the item before moving it to the coffee table where she lined up her loot and admired it. Jack was only interested in his new train set and still had gifts under the tree a week later because of this.

After a relaxed morning and our delicious traditional breakfast of egg casserole, we hosted a few of our neighborhood friends for a mid-day casual get-together. It has become sort of a tradition for those of us around on the holidays to share some part of it together, and it was lots of fun for the kids to see each other and exchange stories about what Santa brought for each of them. We have been blessed to be surrounded by such great families with children at similar ages who we can spend time with on a regular basis.

We capped off our Christmas with a trip to Stone Mountain Christmas on the 26th with Uncle Matt, Aunt Kori, Colin and Will. It was a bit cold but the kids enjoyed watching a few short Christmas productions, seeing part of Polar Express in 4D and a train ride around the mountain complete with Christmas lights and music.

The fact that Christmas and New Years both fell on Friday this year made for an especially relaxing and fun week for our family. Eric was able to take the week off between the 2 holidays, which allowed us to enjoy time at home with the kids, with no real agenda. Sometimes being at home like that is the best gift of all!