We crammed a lot of activities into December, between batches of cookies, and I just didn't get a chance to write about them before Christmas. So better late than never, I just want to have a record of it. And try to remember next year to schedule things like sending Christmas cards and shipping gifts much earlier in the season so we can have more time for all the things we missed.
Early in the month we hit Fair Oaks Mall with my mom. They have some great Christmas decorations - life size stuffed animals in snowscapes mostly.
We skipped sitting on Santa's lap, but I held Hazel up to see him. Neither of us were impressed. Then we went into CVS in the mall and took the girls "secret shopping" for each other, then Mom took them shopping for me and Ed, getting us things like hair clips, bandaids, and shaving cream - things they are familiar with and know how to pick out. In the afternoon we went back to Mom's and I went downstairs to read a cookie magazine (what else?) while Mom helped them wrap the presents. Living near Grandma is the best!
Mom also got us a gingerbread house kit at Costco and I kept waiting for the perfect chance to make it together - a Saturday morning or family home evening, but as the month progressed and things kept coming up, I realized the "perfect time" may not come. So one afternoon while Ginger napped Hazel came to me and asked if we could make it. I said, "Sure!" and we did right then. When Ginger woke up there was still plenty of decorating to do, and it has been sitting on our sideboard looking festive and making our house smell great ever since.
Hazel's preschool had a cute holiday party - this time in the evening so working parents could come. It was crowded to say the least, but I did get to chat with parents I usually just greet in passing, and found out two of them also went to Robinson...and one lived on my street! The kids performed a few songs they had practiced, and each presented his or her parents with a gift they had made - a crepe papered votive candle holder.
Every year the symphonic band at my old high school, Robinson, puts on a Tiny Tots Holiday Concert. Mom's friend is in charge of it so we got tickets and went one rainy morning. I tried not to think too hard about how long it's been since I set foot in there (1998 to visit Rich Crowley after my mission), but I did get a little sentimental being back on campus and watching the high schoolers - I wondered if I'd see some of my friends, I couldn't help it. The concert was in the renovated Little Theater and it was totally fun, with kid-level explanations of all the instruments, and appearances by Rudolph, Frosty and a tuba-playing Santa, plus great music. We're definitely going next year.The Monday before Christmas Ed came home a little early. We bundled the girls up - I think it was the coldest night we've had this winter - and drove up to the DC Temple, where they have a Festival of Lights all month long. The Temple grounds and Visitors' Center are decked out with thousands of lights, there is a live outdoor nativity (I did not envy them the night we were there), and inside the Visitors' Center there are free performances every night by local music groups, trees decorated by surrounding stakes, Christmas movies, and of course missionaries directing traffic. Next year we will check the performance schedule and probably go several times.Though it's probably unrealistic, next year I'd also like to hit the Bull Run Festival of Lights, Zoo Lights, and the Christmas display at the Botanic Gardens. Schedule, schedule, schedule!
Christmas Eve and Christmas morning my parents came over - there was food, relaxation, some short attention spans and plenty of presents. Here are the girls in their new Christmas dresses from Aunt Tona:The next day I hit Target at 7am for 50% off wrapping paper and then we went out to my parents' cabin in WVA for two days - more food and way more relaxation. I read over 100 pages in my book, which usually takes several months!
It's been an awesome month, but, like most years, it just went too fast.