Here's a glimpse at what kept us busy this holiday season...
Note the red plaid dress, pink floral bloomers, and purple plaid rain boots. Do the words, "I picked this outfit out myself" come to mind?
Decorating the tree...
A visit to Bethlehem...
(A local church has acres of land on which they recreate a Bethlehem village complete with shops, animals, census takers, soldiers, people collecting alms, etc.)
Fish market (Real fish---way stinky!)
The family portraying the "reason for the season"
Em and her friend K.B. after touring Bethlehem
Mommy's Example...and Emma's 1st try at peanut butter reindeer cookies
M&M and Oatmeal M&M Cookies
Em did ALL of the decorating on our sugar cookies.
Not pictured: Fudge. It was yummy!
We had a family dinner at Amie & Burke's house
on Christmas Eve...
On our way home, we stopped to see the store front of Kuhn's Flower Shop:
(Em was in PJs so she'd be ready to go right to bed for Santa's arrival.)
Em poses in front of the Caroler mannequins
And gets up close and personal with an elf
The singing Rudolph robot
Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Santa all sing Christmas songs
Beautiful nativity scene
What's in my stocking?
Barbie ballet studio
Christmas: Our holiday was busy, but nice. We were able to fit in relaxation and reflection time within the hub-bub. Emma woke us Christmas morning with, "Santa came! And he brought me Barbie stuff like I wanted!" I realized while posting the pics above that I don't have any photos of Em's favorite item... She received a Barbie house from Santa. Santa didn't gift wrap the house, though all of Em's other presents were wrapped. This was how she knew Santa brought her Barbie things as she had hoped for. :)
Barbie Girl: Emma's Barbie House is complete with bathroom/laundry, kitchen, living room, and bedroom. This matched nicely with the Barbie furniture I gave her on Christmas Eve that once belonged in MY 1980's Barbie Dream House. Emma has been looooving all of her Barbie items: Loves the Barbie convertible from Auntie Amie and Uncle Burke. Loves changing the Barbies in and out of outfits. Loves creating adventures for her Barbies. Other hot items are the Dora tights Auntie Laurel sent, Parent Trap movie from Auntie Michelle, Princess umbrella from her stocking ("I've been wanting my own umbrella for years!"), and the High School Musical movie. (She had HSM2, now she also has HSM1.)
This was the first Christmas that we've ever had with just the 3 of us. All 4 of Emma's previous Christmases, we were either in Ohio, or had Ohio relatives who were staying with us for the holiday. While I missed having my far away family here, it was also neat to have time with just the 3 of us. Christmas morning we had family time----stocking and gift opening, hanging out, having a light breakfast, spending time together using newly opened gifts, etc. Christmas afternoon we went to Craig and Cindy's house for lunch/dessert, and more present opening. It was nice. Another "hot gift item," is an art easel Nana and Papa got for Emma. It has a chalkboard on one side and dry erase board on the other. It also includes magnet letters and clips to hang paper. Em is an "arts and crafts" addict. Anything involving coloring/painting/stickers/construction paper, etc. is right up her alley.
A funny Emmaism: We introduced Em to the "A Christmas Story" movie this year. She's been walking around saying, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid." It cracks me up every time!
A weird weather Christmas: This is the time of year I love Florida. As mentioned in many previous posts, I detest the cold. When I spoke to my Ohio family the week of Christmas and they had ice and cold dreary weather...and my Wisconsin cousin had 13 BELOW ZERO weather, I was SOOOOO grateful to live somewhere warm. With that being said, it was unusually warm here. In December it is usually in the 50s and 60s here. This year, we had weather in the 70s and 80s during much of winter break! The weekend before Christmas, we had a picnic on our deck and we were all wearing t-shirts and shorts. WOW! That has never happened before in the 10 years I've lived in Florida. But guess what?? I'll take it! It was awesome!!!! :)
Self-reflection: As planned, I was able to have 2 nights to myself for "reflection time" in front of the tree. I keep a scrapbook with the yearly Christmas letters that I send to friends and family. I was able to re-read all the letters from 1999 through this year. It is neat to reflect and see how things have changed within my life. I was also able to really think and ponder about the pros and cons of my job and what I can do to make things better.
On a final note: Aaron surprised me with the Wii game Dance, Dance Revolution. (He knew I love the aerobics on Wii Fit, but get tired of having the same routines over and over again.) I wasn't sure about Dance Revolution at first, but now I am loving it! It is a great aerobic workout. And I've lost 2 1/2 pounds in the past week...literally dancing my booty off. So my resolution for 2009: At least 5 days per week I will have a 45 minute workout. (This can be waking the dog, Wii Fit or Dance Revolution, etc.) I am especially hoping to start getting up early and exercising BEFORE work, as when I try to wait until after school I usually am tired or spending time with Emma so I don't work out. Oooh! Also, I nearly forgot to mention an awesome sweatshirt I received from DH's parents. It has an apple with a bite taken out of it on the front and says, "Bite me." On the back it says "Member of the Edward Cullen Fan Club. StephanieMeyer.com" Super cool! (Did you notice the 2 new tributes to the "Twilight" series I added to the left of my blog? :)
Here's to 2009. Wishing you and yours all the best...
8 hours ago