The lead up to Christmas this year was way more exciting than any year I can remember. There's something about seeing the wonder and excitement through your children's eyes that gives it a whole new meaning. Most of these pre-Christmas pictures are from my phone because I didn't lug me big camera around everywhere, but they're still worth sharing.
One thing we did all month long was read the story of the birth of Jesus every night as a family. We also purchased each of the kids a chocolate advent calendar that they eagerly opened nightly.
Funny story about the advent calendars: On December 2nd, I was changing Sarah's clothes when Joseph came running into the room saying "But I didn't eat it." I asked him what he was talking about and he said he knocked the tree down "But I didn't eat it." I knew the Christmas tree wasn't up yet, so he couldn't be talking about that, so I again asked him what he was talking about. He said, "You no spank me." I said, "No, I won't spank you. What did you do?" He said, "You no put me in time out?" I said, "I don't know, I need to know what you did." He again said, "You no put me in time out?" At this point I walked to the living room to find this. Yup, he had climbed up on his ROCKING horse on the fire place ledge and somehow managed to get the advent calendar (that has a tree on it) down, opened one of the compartments, THEN realized this was a bad decision and came to tell me... "But he didn't eat it." We had a long conversation about the fact that he did make some bad choices, but ultimately made a good choice and felt enough remorse (or fear of getting in big trouble) to come tell me. And no, he didn't get a spanking or time out.
Also on December 2nd, we went up to the OSU campus for Fanfare of Lights (the lighting of campus). It wasn't as magical as I thought it might be, but the kiddos still enjoyed it.
Joseph loved the "dancing" trees!
Sarah was pretty in awe, too.
We skipped the opportunity to take a picture with Orange Santa because I didn't want to stand in line in the cold for that long. Instead we took a picture with Rudolph and Elsa (even though we hadn't seen Frozen yet). Joseph was fine with Rudolph, but did not like the fact that some random lady (who had to be freezing) was holding his sister.
A couple of nights later, we met up with some friends to watch the Stillwater Parade of Lights. Again, the kids thought they it was pretty awesome. As the last float of the parade was approaching, I said, "Joseph, look who it is!" He responded, "Daniel Tiger!" (who also wears a red shirt (and no pants?) for those of you who don't know). I suggested he try again and he guessed a firefighter. He got it right on the third guess though and eagerly waved as he passed. I have to admit, this felt a little like a parenting success as far as teaching the real meaning of Christmas goes.
While we were watching the parade, Creeper Santa (as we called him due to the weird way he showed up) appeared behind us. Since I didn't get a single picture of either kid with Santa last year, I decided to go ahead and take some with him in case we didn't get another chance to see Santa this year.
That week also included Sam's work Christmas party at a local Mexican restaurant during which I looked over to see Joseph quietly drinking his queso-guacamole mixture with a straw.
Saturday morning, we headed to Nash (where Sam's parents live) for his cousin's wife's baby shower. We gave Joseph the option of going to the baby shower with me and Grandma or watching football at home with Daddy and Poppy, he chose the option that included snacks.
Since we were in the area, that evening we drove over to Jet (the town next to Nash) to see Santa Clause. In true two year old form, every time we would ask Joseph what he was going to tell Santa he wanted he would reply "Nothing!" He changed his mind and told Santa a truck this evening, but would still tell everyone else "Nothing!" when they would ask him.
Luckily neither child was frightened.
Although Sarah was more cautious than Joseph.
Dinner that evening was at the café where the kids once again made themselves at home snacking while Grandma prepared the food.
The second week of December began with us putting up the tree. Can you tell a certain little boy helped with the ornaments? He was so proud that I couldn't fix it.
And beginning to wear our Christmas attire.
One day, we even managed to arrive home from running errands just in time to see TWO mail trucks in front of our house! The normal mailman didn't have enough room in his truck for all his packages that day, so the bigger truck was bringing him his deliveries for the rest of his route. Both kids loved seeing this!
We also watched "Curious George Christmas" as Joseph calls it about 200 times,
played with the Little People nativity set (a big hit with Sarah),
decorated and redecorated their felt tree (they didn't love this activity as much as I hoped they would, but they still liked it),
and put up Christmas lights outside.
The week ended with a visit with cousin Gus and a stop at the Rhema lights in Broken Arrow. They were AMAZING!!!
The third week of December included making this year's Christmas shirts. Next year I get to make 5 (since I make them for the nephews, too) and Sarah will still be the only girly one (it's hard to see, but her tree is glittery :).
This was my attempt to get a picture of my two kids together in their shirts. Sarah did not want Joseph to sit next to her, Joseph was interested in something on TV.
Sarah also got to wear Joseph's shirt from last year with some leggings a couple of times. The crying is a common thing these days, I keep telling myself it's just a phase.
One day this week, we attended a cookie exchange and decorating party with our Mom Builder friends. To say we all love this group of friends would be an understatement.
We also finished our Christmas shopping. I try to shop local when I can which involves dragging two little kids to a bunch of stores. Kids that are well behaved while shopping are sometimes rewarded with a stop at the chocolate shop (it has nothing to do with their mom's love of said shop ;).
The week ended with a visit from Grandma and Poppy. These kids sure love all of their grandparents!
I guess the holiday spirit got into the kids, because they were caught loving on each other the week of Christmas.
Or maybe it was just that fact that we spent a lot of time at home, so they had no choice but to get along.
Either way, it was a great way to prepare us for all of our Christmas festivities (which I'll write about next time :).