I am so behind on posting! Needless to say things have been busy here.
It was so special spending our first Christmas in our very own home. This was also Levi’s first Christmas, so that made it even more special!
We started the day off checking out our stockings and opening presents. After that we had breakfast, played with our new toys, and got ready to go to Nonna and Papa’s house.
It is hard to believe that not even two months ago on Christmas Day the temperatures reached the low 50’s. Right now in Lowell it is a balmy 7 degrees! I’m getting off track here. Like always, Christmas at Nonna and Papa’s house was a crazy messy blast. We had a great day spent with family.
A friend of ours from church let us know of a great learning opportunity for Abigail. She told me about it a good year ahead of time and I’m so glad we didn’t forget about it because it was so great!
Every Saturday for 10 weeks or so in the fall/winter Abigail joined a few other children her age to learn Christmas carols. The end result was a beautiful performance along with an older youth choir and adult choir. Abigail LOVED going to music practice. I went with Levi every Saturday and enjoyed it too. It was fun getting to see husband and wife team Eric and Robin work together to create a really special performance.
Here is a video of Abigail singing with her Kid’s choir and then also with the Youth choir.
This performance was part of Not Your Typical Silent Night and happens every year. Check out http://nytsn.net/ for more info! We can’t wait for next year!
We were all very excited to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. We went as all out as we could given our budget and having four little ones. The first task we tackled was the outdoor Christmas lights. I guess I should really say that Jonathan tackled this task. Though I helped by watching the kids! We invested in LED lights. What I like about these is that you can choose white lights or multicolored lights with the push of a button! Jonathan probably both loved and hated doing this job. Of course it was fun to put lights up, but it was a very cold and tedious job as well. This weekend (mid-January) he will finally take them down, to be stowed away until this coming December.
Jonathan installed our Christmas lights with a lovely coating of snow as a backdrop. During the afternoon we gave the kids a chance to play in it for a bit. This was Levi’s first experience with snow. He didn’t quite know what to make of it at first. But then I think he decided he didn’t like it. Lily and Sarah spent most of their time harvesting the snow for a little snack.
We ventured north to New Hampshire this year to pick out and cut down our own Christmas tree. Decorating the tree was a bit chaotic, but a memorable experience. As Christmas drew nearer and nearer the ornaments climbed higher and higher up the tree. The funny thing is though, Levi was not the primary offender. Lily was the one who just couldn’t keep from grabbing at the ornaments.
We had a great Christmas this year. We did have to battle a little sickness before December 25th, but managed to all be recovered by the time Christmas morning came.
We kicked off the festivities by leaving Jonathan, Abigail, and Lily home to hold down the fort while Sarah and I went to our church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service. Abigail was still getting over a stomach bug so we thought it best to keep her home. As far as Lily went-it was a candlelight service, need I say more?
The girls woke up Christmas morning after the sun came up. It was wonderful! Lily did not understand why we made her wait in the hallway while we got ready with our camera. She enjoyed going through her stocking and opening up gifts. Her older sisters did too, of course.
After getting acquainted with their new toys and cleaning up a bit, we headed over to my parents’ to spend the afternoon. There was no shortage of toys, food, fun, and a few tears (the girls were exhausted by the end of the day).
For each weekend in December I made different batches of Christmas cookies. A few weekends ago the girls joined me to decorate spritz cookies. Lily didn’t take much of a nap so she joined in on the fun. This was Lily’s first Christmas cookie decorating experience. Her favorite part was probably munching on colored sugar while the cookies were baking.
My Mom made gingerbread houses this year for us to decorate. I just didn’t want to deal with them this year, so I was happy she made them! We supplied the sugary sweets to decorate with. Sarah and Abigail were pretty serious about their decorating. Lily joined in too, helping Abigail decorate her sides, but then she quickly lost interest and skipped the decorating step completely-moving the candy from the bowls to her mouth.
This past weekend we made a day of seeking out and cutting down our Christmas tree. We wanted to head north, but weren’t sure exactly where to go. Thanks to social media and a photo post to Facebook we decided to check out Holmes Tree Farm in Kennebunk, Maine after we saw that friends had gone there too.
Our drive only took about an hour and a half. Lily wasn’t too keen on a road trip at the beginning, but she soon fell asleep for a much needed nap. Once we got there the girls were anxious to find the perfect tree. Abigail pretty much chose the first tree she saw-which wasn’t even in the “cut-your-own-tree field”. Needless to say she was on a mission.
After wandering through trees of different shapes and sizes we settled on one. Jonathan cut it down with ease strapped it to the van with Grandma.
The girls had fun decorating our tree. After making a few adjustments (mainly moving copious amounts of ornaments from the bottom of the tree and spreading it throughout the top) Jonathan topped off our tree with a new homemade angel topper and I wrapped our new tree skirt around it (both courtesy of Grandma).
Every year my immediate family draws names for a “Secret Santa” of sorts. Instead of buying a gift for the person we pick, we make a gift. My family has had this tradition since my 30 year old “baby” brother was in Kindergarten. Now my husband, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law have joined in on the fun. When the girls are a little older, they’ll be able to draw names too. This is just one of the many traditions I love at Christmastime.
This year I drew my brother’s name. When he was younger he was a fan of Ninja Turtles. I figured they still had a special place in his heart, so I decided to make him a hat and scarf featuring his current favorite turtle, Raphael. He loved it. And, of course, I have to thank Pinterest for the hat idea. I used the same stripe and eyes on a scarf.
Jonathan painted a daisy for Dawn, my sister-in-law.
I didn’t want the girls to feel left out so I made them each a “Lego sack”. I had been searching Pinterest for a Lego storage solution because lately cleaning up Lego’s has been like pulling teeth. The girls get so into playing with them that they end up everywhere and they have no interest in cleaning them up. I thought about storage where you could separate Legos by color/shape/etc but realized that they might stay organized for a day tops. Instead I found instructions for a Lego sack. Basically it is a mat you can use to play with any small toy on and when you are done you simply pull on draw strings and the mat becomes a sack.
The girls also made a gift for their Grandma, who was visiting from South Carolina. My Mom found a recipe for sugar scrub. The girls made warm vanilla sugar scrub with brown sugar and a peppermint scrub with white sugar.
Here are more pictures of gifts exchanged on Thanksgiving (the only time we would all be in one place for Christmastime).