There is something about cold weather, snow, and winter activities that make Christmas time really feel special. Our first Christmas season in Maine did not disappoint when it came to those areas. We even were blessed with a white Christmas. We tried to take advantage of all that living up north has to offer during the holidays- ice skating, snowman making, sledding, and of course tons of yummy comfort food. The boys had such a great Christmas! Grandma was here for an extended visit, they got everything they asked for for Christmas, and they absolutely loved playing in the snow.
This Christmas season was busier than ever. Between school functions, church performances, work events, and celebrating the holidays with family, Christmastime flew by. I managed to get some photographs to help us remember all of the fun and craziness!
We did a quick trip to Savannah before Christmas and had so much fun going to see the Christmas performance at the Savannah theater downtown with Grandpa and Nana. We also did our annual visit to the Botanical gardens to check out the beautiful Christmas lights.
Our Christmas Eve and Christmas were relaxing. We went to to church and ordered pizzas with my mom and Aunt Claudia. We stayed in our jammies all Christmas day. It was so fun to see the kids soaking up the Christmas magic!
After Christmas we went on a road trip to the Atlanta area to visit Chris’s grandparents.
We had a great Christmas season and are looking forward to a fun new year!
The holidays with a 4 and 6 year old boy have got to be just about the sweetest thing ever. Yes, life is busy and chaotic, but there’s something about a child fully believing in the magic of Christmas that makes you want to slow down and enjoy every little moment. I love all the traditions that we’ve created with the boys that they now have begun to remember and look forward to. I love that we are now closer to extended family so we can share these moments with them. I even have started to love that freakin’ Elf on the Shelf. (Well, I love how much my kids love it!) Here are some pictures from the last month of all our festivities and adventures.
Decorating- this took forever this year…especially with the kids “helping.”
The Elf…man, did my kids love looking for her every morning.
Christmas week events…
After Christmas moments…
The holidays did not disappoint this year- I only wish they could have lasted a little longer. Now onto those New Year’s resolutions- just as soon as we finish all the pasta leftovers.
This holiday season came and went so super fast! (That seems to happen every year.) While there was lots of hustle and bustle of travel, gift buying, parties, and baking, we were able to find time for lots of simple moments with the boys. They really enjoyed listening to Christmas music (and haven’t stopped singing holidays songs yet), finding our Elf “Pixie” every day, and seeing what Advent Calendar activity we would do each day. We try to fill our calendar with a mix of fun moments for the boys and activities that will help them learn to enjoy the spirit of giving. Here are some of the highlights and special moments from this past month…
Christmas vacation trip to LEGOLAND…
New Years Eve…
I can’t imagine anything better than experiencing the holidays with a 3 and 5 year old. Seeing Christmas through their eyes was so special and nothing short of magical. We are certainly blessed in many ways and look forward to what adventures 2017 will bring our family. Happy New Year!
We’re loving the Christmas season around here. The Smiths are the type of people who listen to Christmas carols a little too much, decorate way too early, and head to the mall in the peak of crowds. We love spoiling our kids this time of year, but we’ve made a conscious effort to teach our boys the joy of giving. I’m not gonna lie-it’s a little tricky when so much focus is given towards, “what are you going to ask Santa for?” and “how many days until you get to open your presents?” Our hope is that they will learn that giving and doing for others can bring as much enjoyment as receiving gifts some day. After all, there’s nothing quite like putting a smile on someone’s face to make your heart happy.
Since the boys are only 2 and 4, it takes a little creativity to think of ways to get them involved in the act of giving or doing for others. Here’s some of the ways we tried to get them in the “giving” spirit this year…
And probably the biggest sacrifice this Christmas season was cleaning out their old “baby toys” and donating them to a local ministry thrift shop. This was the toughest part for Nolan- he insisted that those were HIS toys. He had a hard time letting go (but was more willing once he realized that made more room for new toys!) We also gave away all of their clothes that they outgrew recently and donated food to a food bank- thankfully that was done with a more generous heart. It was so touching to hear Brady’s thoughts about how much he cared that other children might not have all of the things that he has. Kids can be amazingly empathetic.
I hope this is the start of raising children who have a love of doing things for others. While I still fully intend on taking part in all the sparkly, indulgent, over-the-top Christmas traditions, maybe, just maybe, it will be done with a charitable mindset that rubs off on our kids!
December has been a quick and busy month. We kicked it off with some Christmas decorating and tree trimming. Our tree this year was less than stellar, but it got the job done. While we didn’t put out all of our ornaments or decorations because of our impending move, we did just enough to make it feel festive. Plus, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a tree filling the house with that awesome smell and glowing lights!
We had a 9 day trip to Savannah and then Daytona (Chris went to Clearwater for a work trip) in the beginning of December. It seemed like a good idea (before we got our December 26 closing date). Even though it was right in the middle of Christmas season and our big move, we had some nice visiting time with my dad and step-mom and then my mom and Grandma in Daytona. The kids loved all the time with their grandparents.
One of my favorite memories from last December was our advent calendar. Each day was filled with a fun activity or treat to experience with Brady. This year we did something similar, but we wanted the focus to be more on the act of giving and doing for others (with some fun stuff for the boys mixed in.) Here’s some of our activities we did…
Making cards and giving candy to the kids in Brady’s class.
Surprising the boys with their train track around the tree one morning.
Donating a gift for Toys 4 Tots.
Eating treats and watching a Christmas movie.
Visiting with our elderly neighbors and bringing them a Christmas present.
Picking out Christmas presents for Albert and Gato.
Getting Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshakes from Chick-fil-A (mommy’s favorite tradition!)
Making Candy Cane Brownies for our neighbors.
Christmas presents for the trash collectors (Brady’s most favorite activity!!)
Breakfast for Dinner!
Baking cookies for Santa (frosting/sprinkles for Brady and Nolan!)
Some of our other activities included cleaning out our old toys and giving them away, putting a surprise present in the mailbox for the mailman, looking at Christmas lights, and surprising Brady’s teacher with her favorite coffee one day. I hope these are traditions we continue as it was such a joy watching the boys experience the act of giving and getting to spoil them a little along the way.
While much of the month was consumed with thoughts of our new house and tons of to-do lists, we appreciated any small moments where we got to slow down and enjoy Christmas, our boys, and our new hometown. I loved getting an afternoon to myself to do some exploring and shopping downtown.
I also loved baking cupcakes and getting to go to Brady’s class celebration for Jesus’s birthday.
But, admittedly, lots of adult beverages were consumed after bedtime this month to help keep our sanity.
Even though adding a big trip and a big move to an already busy month at times made us a little, cray cray…
We are abundantly aware of the many, many blessings God has bestowed upon us. We are constantly in awe of all that He has provided for us and give thanks for the good, the bad, and the crazy every day!
We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a blessed 2015!