Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

our Christmas Tree
Just as the song lyrics's the most wonderful time of the year.  And, this is my FAVORITE time of the year.  It always has been.  I love absolutely everything the Christmas season brings: cooler weather (except for today, which was 80 degrees), hot chocolate, extra time with family and friends, giving to others, Christmas carols and hymns, cheesy Christmas movies, Christmas Classic cartoons (the Grinch, Rudolph, Frosty, etc.), delicious food, beautiful decorations, and so much more.  I could go on forever!  Again, I JUST LOVE this time of year.

I have so many pleasant memories of Christmas as a child.  Until I was in the 8th grade, we actually always lived away from our extended family.  So, Christmas also meant fun road trips to visit a lot of family.  During these trips we were re-united with cousins and got to spend special times with our grandparents, aunts and uncles.  Once we moved to Oklahoma and were near all of our family, Christmas meant that we got to spend even more extra special time with family than usual.

Christmas morning surprises with my brothers....we were always so excited to run into the living room and see what was left for us by Santa under the tree.

a Santa photo with my siblings

A "family pyramid" with my sis,  some of my girl cousins, aunt Karen and mom.

Another Christmas family pyramid with family.  I don't know why we liked to do this, but we did and it was pretty fun.

Now that we have children of our own, it is fun to experience the magic of Christmas all over again.  I aim to give Luke and Abbey all of the special experiences that I was able to enjoy as a child.  I want it to be a magical time of year for them as well.  I want them to understand why we are so excited for this time of year.  We are celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ--the GREATEST GIFT OF ALL.  He is our hope!  So, it MUST be the biggest celebration of the entire year.

This weekend, we visited nearby Georgetown, TX to attend their Christmas Stroll.  We attended this event last year for the first time and absolutely loved it. We decided to make it an annual Christmas tradition.   Our favorite part of the event is the Bethlehem village. 

(From the Georgetown Square website) With the desire to share the gift of the true meaning of Christmas with the community, the idea for a live re-creation of that tiny village on that first Christmas night was born. The streets of Bethlehem are cared for and nourished by the loving hands of Church of the Nazarene. What makes Bethlehem special is the way it comes alive when hundreds of volunteers don period costumes and go back in time to "become" those village citizens once again.

We were able to experience the sights and sounds of the City of Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born! The shops, the townspeople, the census takers, the Roman Soldiers, all were going about their business while an unnoticed miracle takes place in a small corner of the city.  The live nativity is awesome. They have live animals, and the actors put on a beautiful musical.   The kids love the village, because it is very "hands-on".  Here they can experience what it was like to live in Bethlehem in Jesus' time.  

Luke and Grandma walked up to the Bethlehem bakery to make some bread.

The nice villager asked Luke if he wanted cinnamon and sugar on his bread.  Yes, that is a large handful of cinnamon/sugar mixture that he is about to dump on his tiny dough ball. 

This is my favorite part of the village--the toy shop.  Here, the villager is talking to Luke about how baby Jesus was just born in the village.  Everyone is so excited about Jesus' birth.  She showed him how Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and then she gave Luke the "doll" of baby Jesus.  Luke watched in wonder and treasured his "baby Jesus."  I remember that last year Luke held on to his doll from the village until beyond Christmas.
Then, we grabbed some space on the curb of the main street and watched the parade.
Even though it was beyond Abbey's nap time, she absolutely loved the parade, clapping to all the music.

precious Abbey

Here, Luke was showing Santa his cars tattoos on his arms.  He said Santa would want to see them.  He was literally yelling, "Santa, LOOK AT MY TATTOOS!"
And here are some photos of us beginning our month of Christmas celebrations back at our house. We love Christmas decorations!
In front of our tree.
It is often difficult to take a photo of Luke without food in his mouth.  I love this little guy so much and I am so excited about experiencing Christmas again with him this year.
the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Abbey loves ornaments

Abbey is also loving the Christmas tree
This weekend, Grandma and Grandpa brought a special Christmas surprise for Luke and Abbey to enjoy this season.

Grandpa is showing Luke the Christmas train they brought to our house.
Abbey and grandpa watch Luke operate the train.

Luke literally spent hours watching this train.  He calls it the "Polar Express" train.
Drew took this photo with his phone, so it is a little grainy. But, I love it!  You can see that Luke decided his "guys" needed to hop aboard the train.

We had so much fun with the train, that we decided to watch "The Polar Express" together as a family tonight. Of course, we also had to drink delicious hot chocolate as we watched the movie, even though it was not cold at all outside. 

Our little lights display....nothing compared to our neighbors just a couple of miles down the road (see video below:)

This house's display is the one that has been featured recently on CNN, the Today Show and other national TV outlets for its "Gangnam Style" orchestrated light display which has over a million views on youtube and can be viewed here. When we were watching their lights display one night, a news crew was filming.  I just noticed that Luke was shown at the beginning of their little segment about the lights--see here.


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