I decided early in October that I was going to try my best to block off the month of December for uninterrupted family time. That meant I would have to order my holiday cards in advance, finish my Christmas shopping (including wrapping), plan and prep a month's worth of lessons at school and tie up loose ends with Red Thread. As you can imagine, October and November are filled to the brim with holiday sessions and Julie and I had our hands full....a dream for a photographer! Somewhere in the mix of this, D and I decided that it would be a perfect time to plan a family trip to Disney. We decided that the first week of December would give us the opportunity to enjoy the parks with small crowds and still soak in the amazing holiday decorations.
By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, all was merry and bright. The house was trimmed from top to bottom, presents purchased (and wrapped) and the last of the holiday Christmas card sessions were delivered. AMEN! We packed our bags and headed to Florida. It is an amazing trip that seems to get better with every visit. I usually don't lug around the "big camera" at Disney (afraid I will get caught up in photographs and not enjoy the moment) but wanted to make sure that I captured a few shots at the castle breakfast on our last day. D reserved it months in advance and I knew it would be a special treat for the kids. Sadly, Jack-Jack woke up with a fever and was unable to attend. So, the guys stayed back and enjoyed room service and cartoons. Although it wasn't what we had planned, I loved spending a Mommy-Daughter day with Nola at the Magic Kingdom. We enjoyed short wait times on all of her favorite rides and also took part of the Disney Christmas Day Parade, as they were taping it for television. It was truly a day that I will not forget.
Mommy and Rosie's day at The Magic Kingdom!
After we returned from Disney, Nola performed in her preschool holiday program. I thought she would be shy and somewhat reserved, but that was not the case. She hammed it up for the camera! D and I were speechless as she "did her thing!" My dear friend Sarah (mother to Gerry) laughed until tears dropped from her eyes as Nola posed for the camera and made faces at Dzia Dzia who was fueling the fire!
Nola and buddy Gerry at their holiday preschool program!
This year for Christmas we once again welcomed Granny for an overnight. After spending Christmas Eve with the family on the farm, we headed back home to prepare for "the big event!" We sprinkled magic reindeer food on the front lawn, read "The Night Before Christmas," and slipped into our special holiday pjs (Thanks, Buscia and Dzia Dzia). Obviously the candy cane striped pajamas were for the children as I can't imagine D wearing a shirt that says, "Santa's Little Helper!" Nola and Jack sampled Santa's cookies and milk before placing them on the mantel and retiring to bed for the evening.
At 7:30am Rosie made her way downstairs and woke everyone with her squeals and clapping. The rest is a blur of giggles, tearing paper and thank yous. Highlights of the morning included a pair of Chinese print pjs for Mom, a cool piece of art work for Daddy's office, a camera for Rosie and a train for Jack. The most thoughtful gifts of the day were for Granny. The kids worked hard to pick out things that they "knew" she would love. In this case, they filled Gran's stocking with Icy-Hot, Vick's salve, slippers and a hand-selected BFF necklace from Claire's Boutique. Granny's eyes filled with tears as Nola explained, in great detail, how a BFF necklace works. My traditional Mennonite Granny, who does not believe in adorning the body with jewels, proudly wore her necklace for a week! Thanks for being a good sport, Gran! And even more so, thanks for being best friends with my little Rosie.
Jack proudly showing a truck he found in his stocking! Thanks, Santa!
Nola showing off her new "curls" after trying out sponge rollers...a rite of passage for all young girls! PS. Thanks Grandma Carolyn for the gift card! Nola was able to purchase the perfect tree for her bedroom!