It's not a secret that I LOVE Christmas and that going to pick out our Christmas Tree is one of my favorite things to do. Well, this past Sunday, we decided that was the day! We went out and fought the Charger's game traffic (on accident) and went to go buy our Christmas Tree. When we brought it home, our sweet friend Melissa helped us get it in the house and in the stand. Then Alex and I put the lights on the tree and Madison put most of the ornaments on by herself. We helped with the top of the tree, but she was so in to decorating the tree this year. While we were putting the lights on she turned on our Christmas music and danced for us as she waited to help.
Madison's favorite part is watching the lights come on at night. We were able to find a plug that is attached to a switch, so Madison is able to help us each night with turning on the lights. All day, she's been saying, "I love our Christmas Tree! Can we keep it up even after Christmas?" My daughter takes after my love for Christmas and it's such a blessing to watch Christmas unfold through her eyes. She's in love with the baking of cookies, the Christmas music, the Christmas movies, the Christmas decorations, the story of Christmas, and shopping for Christmas. She just plain LOVES Christmas! Everywhere we go, if there are decorations, her face lights up and she gets a big smile.
Our sweet friends the Brewster's had a little birthday party for their son Levi (one of Madison's best friends) this past Saturday. We were so excited that it worked out for us to be able to go back to 29 Palms to visit and help celebrate his birthday. Levi had a bowling party and it was a HUGE success with all of the kids. Kids just LOVE to bowl! It was so much fun watching Madison play and have fun with all of her friends from our old neighborhood.
After the party, we went back to Ben and Di's and hung out, caught up and had a yummy dinner, graciously served by Diana. We love you Brewster's and are so thankful to have you in our lives and are so touched by how God has kept us close even without being a few houses apart anymore. We look forward to many more years of love and friendship!
The last few times we've been home it hasn't worked for us to see our friends the Bell's and the Petrick's, but this time we were able to work out some time for us to get the girls together to play. Madison had so much fun and Erin was a gracious hostess, as always. We played at their house for a couple hours in the morning and just hung out and caught up with each other. It was so wonderful to see them. Madeleine and Vivienne a just a few months younger than Madison...it is so much fun going home and still having little friends for Madison to play with.
While on our many trips to the many different malls we visited in Thousand Oaks, we took pictures at all of the different HUGE trees they had decorated for Christmas. Here are a few of the ones of us and Madison and my parents and Madison.
On the Saturday, after Thanksgiving, we went to the mall and there was a cute little train ride that Madison was dying to go on. Grandma, always wanting to please her sweet granddaughter, bought tickets for us all to ride the train around the mall. It was a lot of fun and Madison had a blast! We were able to get a couple of pictures before the train took off!
This is the first year that we weren't able to go to our usual Janss Market Place in Thousand Oaks and get a picture taken with "my" Santa. This past year, the Santa, that I grew up with, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. I had literally been going to him for the past 25 years, including taking Madison to see him since she was born. This year we went to find out what his "replacement" looked like. He was okay, but nowhere near as good as "my" Santa.
Despite begin disappointed with Santa, we still were able to get a cute picture of Madison with Santa. She was so excited to see him. She was glowing and had a smile from ear to ear. She told Santa that she wanted ice cream for Christmas. I thought it was a little silly that they used a "Green Screen" for the picture background this year and then just digitally added whatever background best fit the child and the pose the photographer was able to get of the child and Santa.
My sweet friend Sarah and I are not only pregnant together, but we have due dates that are only about a week apart. Sarah was a bridesmaid in my wedding and we've been friends for almost a decade. I am so thankful for her friendship and so blessed that God placed her in my life when He did! Now we are going through a pregnancy together...her third (a girl) and my second (a boy). When we did our family pictures with Sarah a few weeks ago, Alex snapped a quick one of the two of us and our baby bumps.
Sarah I am so thankful for you and for your friendship!
This year for Thanksgiving we went to my parents house! This is the first time in four years that we didn't have a house/backyard full of 20-50 people at our house for Thanksgiving. It felt kind of strange. While we lived in 29 Palms, we always hosted Thanksgiving and Easter at our house. We just felt it was something we wanted to do and we loved the idea of celebrating these holidays, not only with our biological families, but with our Marine Corps family as well. Many of our friends were far from their families and couldn't be with them during the holidays or their spouses were deployed.
Alex and I decided, long before Madison was born, that once we started having children, we'd spend all holidays at our house and that we'd have family and friends over to join us. We still firmly believe this because we want to keep our own traditions going within our home, but this time it just worked out better for us to go to Thousand Oaks and I'm so glad we had the chance to. But, from here on out you'll be seeing our holidays at our house once again! :)
Anyway, since we moved we haven't felt the need or the calling to do quite what we did in 29 Palms just yet, so we went to Thousand Oaks for Thanksgiving. It was so nice to be with my parents on Thanksgiving....due to my dad's volleyball schedule they were never able to come join us for any of our 29 Palms Thanksgivings. So, as well as it being the first time in 4 years that we didn't host a Thanksgiving it was the first time in 5 years that we'd spend Thanksgiving with my parents b/c we moved to Virginia just before Thanksgiving, and spend that one with our friends Matt and Jen. All that being said, it was wonderful to spend the time with my parents this year.
Alex's parents and brother drove down for the day and joined us for the day. We had a dinner filled with turkey, stuffing muffins, creamed corn casserole, pickles and olives, crescent rolls, homemade gravy, twice baked mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and sparkling cider. Then for dessert there was a selection of pumpkin cheesecake, cherry pie, and carrot cake. We had an wonderful spread of food. My mom made a wonderful hostess and it was such a joy getting to cook along side her in the kitchen all day!
We are looking forward to having everyone over for our Christmas celebration this year! This will be our last Christmas as a family of three! Craziness!
I love to get up early and work out. It starts my day off with energy while giving me peace and quiet as well as time to myself to talk with God. I am married to a wonderful man with whom we have a beautiful daughter and a dashing son! Life can't get much better than this!!