I'm not sure it gets better than black and whites, twinkly lights and Christmas wreaths on white barn doors.
So many memories from this weekend. From the simple and spur of the moment, ... to the thought out and planned. I was filled with such gratitude in church yesterday as Alice Shirley spoke on the amazing story of Mary and how we need not fear. With Christmas trees and white lights surrounding her and a backdrop of fireplace logs stacked behind her (our church always looks so beautiful in December), I couldn't stop getting choked up at her powerful message and truthful words. Emotions and thoughts and simple words always seem to pack a more powerful punch this time of year, and I'm focusing so intently on letting these special times carry on throughout each day. I don't know how many more Christmas seasons I'll have of my kids wanting to sit on Santa's lap. I'm drinking it all in, with extra marshmallows in our hot cocoa, extra bubbles in the bathtub and more choruses of Silent Night before bed. And though my husband is getting a little tired of Christmas music already... I have it playing non-stop around here. I love watching my kids pause during a verse to hear the words that are being sung... and watching the realization on their faces that the stories they are hearing in Sunday school are being sung about on the radio station on the way to school. They are loving Christmas season more than ever before, and I love living it out through their eyes.
*home for a warm bath, blankets and pillows on the floor, melted marshmallows over popcorn, mugs of hot chocolate and Tim Allen in "The Santa Claus" on TV.
*Saturday morning... this funny boy watching Jim Carry in the Grinch. He loves all things Grinch. And I've also noticed that his face turns a little pink and he gets a little embarrassed during mushy parts of Christmas movies. ;)
*a much needed haircut for this kiddo and a trip to a new coffee shop while Daddy and Jaden were at basketball.
*a Sunday snow storm, a beautiful church service and a trip to the bookstore while the wind whipped the snow around outside. For the first time, instead of heading straight to the play train table, they headed straight for the books...
I was so proud of them.
*a Sunday evening of O.P. pizza, chocolate chip cookies and Lincoln Log building. I got them a giant new box of crayons, and they colored Santa pictures while watching the Polar Express.
*but the best of all...
...we journeyed south of town to Heritage Farms for our first breakfast with Santa experience on Saturday. It was very cold, but we got lucky as there was no wind. And cold or not, I wouldn't trade in this experience for anything.
There was a two-horse wagon ride to the woods where a cabin stood waiting in all its Christmas glory.
And waiting to greet us was Santa, himself. My inner child was screaming to come out. This was like storybook cute.
Inside was a tree, a lady playing Christmas carols at the piano, cinnamon rolls, apples, hot chocolate... and the cutest of dogs.
The kids took turns eating, petting the dog and sitting on Santa's lap. Jaden confidently approached Santa and requested a new video game. Brandon was incredibly shy the first time - not wanting a picture but asking for Ninja Turtle Lego's.
But after he'd had time to observe Santa for a while, he quietly told me he wanted another turn at it. I was so proud of him for trying again!
The kids each received a sleigh bell from Santa, and they are now proudly displayed on our tree. These were a big hit, and it was so funny watching Brandon shove his into the tip of his stocking hat and prance around shaking his head so that his hat would jingle like "Jingle Bells!"
Our time in the cabin seemed to go so fast... and the kids did such a good job and had so much fun.
(Told ya my inner kid was screaming to come out). ;)
When the wagon came to pick us up, the kids proudly yelled and waved bye to Santa from their seats on the hay.
And before going home, there were pony rides and giant hay bales to climb on. My face hurt on the way home from smiling so much at my two boys on their ponies. They loved this experience so much, and Brandon could be heard asking Papa Bob for a pony for Christmas. ;)
*The best moments of each day... all of us gathered at night around their advent calendar by their bedroom Christmas tree... putting another character into the stable and counting down the remaining days left until Jesus' birthday. Each night that number gets smaller and Brandon jumps into my arms when they are done counting, nothing but excitement on his face and whispers of "I love you, Mommy" before climbing into bed.
All is twinkly.
P.S. I can't stop taking pictures of my Christmas tree at night. I have dozens of tree light pictures that no one cares to see but me. And I'm okay with that.