Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Christmas

Christmas morning at our house begins with a yummy breakfast (cinnamon rolls, spinach quiche & grapefruit). Then we immediately proceed to our stockings, which very well may be our favorite part of Christmas :)

Alathea had to make sure Abigail knew "this" one was hers (and not the other way around)

Alathea was excited and grateful for everything! Even sippy cups :)
She also kept a close watch on what Abigail received :)

Joe is so sweet and gets me a new globe every year...this is one of my favorites 

We lost Abigail pretty early on to toys...
We kept things pretty simple in the gift department this year. Joe & I bought each other new tennis rackets (its the one sport we can actually play together). We also open one gift at a time and all watch each other while the gift is being opened. It makes each gift more meaningful and it makes the present opening last longer too!

At our house we give the girls 3 gifts each. We'd like to do "1. Something Needed 2. Something wanted & 3. Something to read". We kinda stuck to that :) I have to confess that one of Abigail's was an old glow-worm of Alathea's. It hadn't been played with in almost a year and I replaced the batteries. Abi loves it. We got a good laugh when Alathea proclaimed, "Abigail, I have a glow worm too!" We kept Alathea distracted so she didn't try to find hers :)
Alathea got a small princess figurine set which was her favorite. But a 2nd favorite for both girls had to be the book they each got from us. After everything was opened  all that Alathea wanted to do was read her new books.

So 4 stockings and many gifts (all opened one a time- it took quite a while :) later....
this is what we had to show for it:

Our Family Christmas day

After the morning spent with just our family, we headed to Joe's parents house after Abigail's morning nap and had Christmas gifts take two...

Alathea with her great-grandmother Mere & her dog Monique
The Lechners 2008

Grammy with her wiggly little babies.

Christmas 2008 has been wonderful and besides missing my family, it was one of my favorites. I think because the girls are old enough to really enjoy it and Joe was home for 5 straight days! We thought hard and couldn't remember ever in our 6 years of marriage that he was home for that long (any time he is off work, we are gone on vacation). So that was a real treat. It was like a "home vacation". Alathea cried today as he drove to work. I think she really loved having him home too :)

Our Girls on Christmas

We had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas week and have LOVED having Joe home with us each day. Here are just a bunch of pictures of the girlies from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Day was GORGEOUS and we spent a good bit of time outside- what a December treat! Oh, and just a side note, the dress that Alathea is wearing in the 2nd picture (Christmas Day), Abigail wore that exact same dress just a few days before. Yes, they can already "share" clothes! It was a 12-18month size dress...Alathea's just a little shrimp and can still fit into insanely small sizes for her age ;)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Little Cousins

These two were so cute running up and down this ramp laughing & holding hands.

Little-man Andrew
Little lady Alathea

A spontaneous hug

Our attempts at getting a cousins shot...never seems to work, even with us sitting with them.
Especially with the two-year-olds crawling away (below)

The very happy baby's

My Girls are so blessed to have cousins the exact same age as them. Andrew is just 3 months younger than Alathea, and Caleb is just 4 weeks younger than Abigail. And they are two of the most incredibly adorable little boys I have ever seen (seriously!). Its such a treat to be an "aunt" to 2 little guys since I don't have any little guys of my own. Andrew is all-boy and a bundle of energy. Its cute watching how my girlie girl, plays so well with her tough boy cousin. As different as they are, somehow they really love playing together. And Andrew gets Alathea do to some crazy things- like jumping from lawn chair to lawn chair outside- things she's never think to do. And Caleb, gosh, he is a cutie. Just as happy as can be, always smiling and those big blue eyes. He & Abi just "chill" with the Mommie's and toys while the toddlers run around like crazy. Anyways, we love having Jon & Heather and the boys in town and are grateful for all the time we get with them. (And if I could get my family to move here too it would be just perfect :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas...

We decorated our house...

We chose our tree...

"This one!" declared Alathea. 
She chose our very 1st ever live tree!
And was pretty proud of herself!

We made our gingerbread house... 

We decorated cookies with friends...

We spent a morning in uptown looking at the decorations...

We read Christmas stories and did an advent calendar almost every day...

We decorated ornaments at our friends house...

And now we're waiting, waiting, waiting!

It's amazing Christmas is now just over a day away! We take the Christmas season pretty seriously around here, listening to Christmas music and decorating the house the day after Thanksgiving. I actually started really early this year, doing my Christmas shopping and ordering Christmas cards in October. I'm sooo grateful I did though...it's helped me enjoy this month so much more than I did last year running around like crazy to get everything done.

Christmas was HUGE growing up and I think my family had every Christmas tradition known to man. Its been amazing getting to start some of our own with our little family. God is so kind to have given me an amazing mother whom I know get to emulate :) I've done everything the easy way...just making sugar cookies, buying a gingerbread kit (my Mom made it all from scratch), getting tons of books on Christmas from the library, etc. 

One highlight this year was getting our 1st ever real tree! We've always had a little four foot fake charlie brown tree. But now I don't think we could ever go back! We LOVE having a real one. Alathea loves it too. I catch her just gazing at it throughout the day. She did a great job picking it out and took her job pretty seriously.

 Another favorite this year has been getting the girls the "Little People Nativity" Set. It wasn't cheap, but both Joe & I agree it was a very worthwhile investment. It's really given Alathea a hands on way to comprehend the story of Christ's birth. She seems to comprehend a good bit and its sweet to see her now acting out the nativity scene with her stuffed animals. She's always Mary and her honey is baby Jesus. She usually makes Daddy Joseph, and Abi is a sheep, and I get the privilege of holding the star over the manger :)

My favorite thing of all so far was going to a live nativity with some friends at a local church. Seeing Alathea's face as she saw the story of Christ's birth was priceless. She was literally in awe of "baby Jesus". I will never forget the way the baby captured her attention...and its sparked many a prayer that Jesus himself would capture her heart the way it did in the enactment that night.

With all the fun and festivities we've had, we did have one disaster :) We headed to McAddenville last night, as we have every other year, to see the lights. Alathea was quite excited about this. We ended up sitting in traffic for 1 1/2 hours to go 1/2 mile with no lights in sight! We talked to a cop who told us the lights were still a good 2 hour wait ahead. This had never happened to us before. We already had two screaming kids as it was, so we sadly turned around and went home. 

Little "disasters" like this are good heart checks for me that I don't get too caught up in memory making to forget the true meaning of Christmas myself.