That means tonight is the calm before the storm! The girls as so excited about Christmas. Sylvia has asked me every night if Christmas is "the day after tomorrow," even though we have two advent calendars that clearly count down the days until Christmas. Tonight I got to tell her...YES! It IS the day after tomorrow and I don't know which one of us was more excited.
Now, if I'm not careful, I could really overdo it on the holiday memory making. It seems like every year there are more and more opportunities to go on outings and get good family photos. When Sylvain and I look at the calendar each week, we make decisions based on two things: 1. How will the event impact our kids' sleep? and 2. Will we be sad we missed it a year from now? We ended up with a few, very meaningful, fun and priceless events! Here's our holiday countdown recap:
Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights
We will do this every year and we'll do it as early as humanly possible! This year we went the day before Thanksgiving and it was a good plan. I like taking the kids to see Santa early to get that job out of the way! Then Santa has plenty of time to shop for the big ticket items, and the kids can't change their minds because...."Hey! You've already seen Santa and you told him you wanted ____!" It's a win-win.
The rest of the evening was so nice...roasted almonds, fake snow, a visit with Santa's Reindeer. Sylvia wasn't convinced that Santa really came to Cincinnati until she saw the reindeer. She held firm to the idea that it wasn't even Thanksgiving yet, so how could Santa possibly be taking requests (good girl, right?!). But then she saw the reindeer and she decided that our zoo was the best place for Santa to start his Christmas Tour because WE have a spot for his reindeer. Oh, the mind of a four year old!
I was thrilled that my Mom could go with us again this year, since we decided to go at the last minute. The same thing happened last year and that's when I dropped the "so....did you know I was pregnant?" question, which we laughed about as we held a sweet Albert in our arms. What a difference a year makes!
"Da Nut-quacker Ba-way"
My girls are obsessed with The Nutcracker. They've watched ten different versions on You Tube, in English and French, ballet and cartoon versions. Mamie Brigitte came up during the first week of December to join us for The Nutcracker at the School For Creative and Performing Arts. Nevermind the fact that I drove to the WRONG PLACE and we were 20 minutes late. I was almost in tears as I drove around Cincy in the pouring down rain with a 2 year old in the back seat screaming, "Where's DA NUT QUACKER BA WAY?!!!" Fortunately, a guy was STILL talking on stage when we walked in and found our seats! Another Christmas Miracle! I couldn't believe it. The girls LOVED every second of it, especially this photo op at intermission!
Saint Nick Day!
St. Nick filled our stockings on December 6th. The girls had fun finding stickers and crafts and puzzles and coloring books.
Great Wolf Lodge
Mom and Jay decided to gift all of us a night at GWL in Mason, Ohio this year. Let me tell you - that was a good idea! Aside from being a lodge with a gigantic waterpark, they also decked the halls for Christmas. Since I'm A BRILLIANT MOTHER, I dressed my kids in their Christmas clothes in the hopes we could snap a good picture for the Christmas card as soon as we got there and before we changed into bathing suits. That was also a really good idea. Behold, the cutest kids on the planet:
After an afternoon of swimming and a pizza dinner, we all met at Grammy and Poppie's room for the big present surprise....matching pajamas! Mom is also a genius (now you know where I get it) and she packed a second gift for each kid that they were allowed to open if they sat still and smiled for pictures. Worked like a charm! Look at these beauties:
After pictures, the kids got their goodie bags. Coloring books and stickers. God's greatest bounty!
My mom created a Christmas Trivia game for the older kids (2 - 5 year olds!). I've said it once and I'll say it again - that woman missed her calling. She should have been a preschool teacher.
We played "Pin the Star on the Tree" which turned into - put all your stickers on the tree!
The rest of the month has been spent fighting off illness, building up a dwindling milk supply, and getting ready for Christmas! We've been baking and wrapping and caroling and practicing for tomorrow night's pageant. I can't remember EVER being this excited for Christmas to come...not even when I was little myself. Albert's going to be baby Jesus, okay? He performed beautifully during practices, as did his sisters. Margot's "Joy to the World" is sure to land her a starring role on Broadway any day now. Tonight I just sat back and watched ALL THREE of my kids up front in church and I shook my head because HOLY COW, how did this happen to me? Never in a million years would I have guessed that the holidays could be this awesome.