Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Fun!

We have had a blast celebrating Christmas this year!  The kids are at such a fun age right now.  They love learning; and, we are teaching them all about the reason we celebrate Christmas this year: Jesus!   We have been going through an awesome family advent devotional book that our church, The Austin Stone Community Church, put together.  They gave each family in the church a beautifully bound copy of it.  But, it is also available for anyone to view here.

The 25-day devotional includes:

  • Short, individual devotionals for parents to have our hearts stirred for Jesus as we lead our kids to do the same
  • Gospel-centered devotional readings for our family to read together, connecting significant moments in Old Testament history to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
  • Ornaments for the kids to color as we read the stories, reinforcing what they are hearing and helping them stay focused. (We received a separate Ornament Coloring Book for the kids to color each day as well.)
  • Four recipes for meals that you can cook and eat with your wider community, helping you spread the anticipation for Christ beyond your immediate family members

We have truly been blessed by this great book, and it has helped to keep the focus for our family on Jesus this Christmas season.  We have done a lot of fun "secular" Christmas things as well, but we always remind the kids why we are so excited and why we celebrate:  because Jesus, our savior, was born.  That said and with keeping our family photo journal, I thought I would share some of the fun memories we have been making this Christmas season.  (Some photos are with our dslr and some are taken with our very outdated smart phones).  ;-)

We had a lot of fun walking through this awesome live nativity, which also followed the entire life of Jesus.  Both kids were so interested in this and we decided this will be an annual family tradition (i apologize for the poor quality video):

We got to see lots of fun Christmas Light displays--like this one that is super close to our house:

The kids loved that display.  Not only were the animatronics fun, but this house even had a snow machine that sprayed snow anytime "snow" was mentioned in one of the songs.  It sprayed it right on the sidewalk where all the kids screamed and tried to grab it as it sprayed out.  We found out that even Olaf liked celebrating Jesus' birthday!

We had fun in the snow at a fun Christmas festival:

We saw the awesome model trains that are on exhibit annually at Art Space Round Rock:

We've had fun seeing all sorts of Christmas decorations:

We even did our own decorating:

And we made our own ornaments:

at our church's Kids Christmas celebration

There was a fun "snowball" fight at the end of the kids Christmas celebration at church.  The snowballs were massive marshmallows.  Abbey preferred to gently hold hers. 

While Luke joined in the fun of launching and dodging "snowballs" with his friends, Benjamin and Jack. 

We visited the Zilker Trail of Lights with friends.  As true Austinites, we twirled under the big Zilker tree until we got dizzy.

They added a huge lit ferris wheel this year that you can ride:

And today, we had our obligatory visit to see Santa Claus.  In our house, we honestly don't talk about Santa that much.  The annual visit and photo with Santa is just a fun tradition we have.  We really try to focus everything on Jesus, so Santa really has a very, very small place in our Christmas.  But, our kids do believe in Santa and we play along.  Honestly though, I really feel bad about playing along, just because I feel like we are being dishonest.  But, it is so fun and magical for them, and it certainly didn't hurt Drew and I to believe in Santa when we were younger.  So, we are going along with it for now. 

They both chatted with him this time, and he had to gently let them know it was time to see other kids.  They were right at home on his lap this year.  

He looks so grown up here!

We always do our pictures at the Bass Pro Shop in the town where my parents live.  They have an awesome "Winter Wonderland" and the best part is everything is FREE!  (including the photos with Santa).  There are other fun things to do there though besides see Santa.

Luke was laughing at this talking reindeer's jokes

I think Abbey may have changed her mind on what she wants for Christmas.  :-)  This girl is so much like me!
Pretend "captaining" a boat---in a very dainty way
We have a week of Christmas left--this means even more celebrating Jesus' birth that we get to pack in!  

I will end this post with a song that our church worship leaders wrote--the words so beautifully explain what this season is about!

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