We invited Grandma and took the train downtown to see Elf, The Musical! It was so much fun! The show was great and we met Daddy for lunch. Such a fun day!
We shopped for our Christmas tree:
We went to the Christmas Walk in town despite the freezing cold. We had hot chocolate, saw the live nativity, and watched Santa arrive and light the grand tree in town.
Marin had a Christmas program at her school. We surprised the children by decorating the classroom the night before.
The next day, Marin was in the Nutcracker. She did a wonderful job, and knew every single move!
We hosted the 9th annual Conti/Patterson Christmas dinner with the usual fits of laughter:
We went sledding and made snow angels at Grandma and Grandpa's house one day:
We had pancakes and crafts with Santa sponsored by the Geneva Lion's club, of which my dad is a member.
We went to a Christmas party at a friends house, went to a cookie decorating afternoon at another, wrote notes to Santa, hosted an ornament exchange for local friends, laughed at our elf Casson's daily antics and wrapped, wrapped and wrapped some more.
Santa came to the golf club and brought each child a present. The girls were delighted that he brought them the my little pony stuffed animals that they were hoping for. Marin gave him her list, showed him some of her Nutcracker moves and they all sat on his lap. No tears this year. In fact, Emilie hugged him with a giant bear hug. What a difference a year makes!
We had Christmas with my parents and Jake and Katy before Christmas- kicking off the celebration with the movie Frozen, followed by dinner and games and fun galore. The next morning we all opened presents together. The kids were all well spoiled, and got the number one thing on their wish lists- Kit and Molly American Girl dolls.
Later that day we went to my Uncle Reed and Aunt Jeanie's house for the Martin family Christmas celebration. It's always fun to have all of the cousins together. At 92 and 95, my Grandpa and Grandma have 8 great grandchildren with one on the way- Jake and Katy are due late March.
Mika hosted our now annual PJ Playdate where we all wore Christmas PJ's and made crafts including the favorite-frosted Christmas trees.
Later that day, the kids and I along with Georgine and her girls, B and Charley, bundled up to brave the cold and went caroling. It was so much fun! The kids had a blast, and the people we caroled for were so sweet. We made our way to Graham's 318 for hot chocolates, although despite the cooooooold, my kids also wanted gelato. Of course they did.
We decorated Christmas cookies at home:
Christmas Eve the girls were in the Christmas Pageant at church and after that we came back to our house and had our traditional Christmas fondue. Then we spread reindeer food in the front lawn, put out cookies for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph and after the kids were all in the jambes, Grandpa read "Twas the Night Before Christmas". Marin left Santa a note, and specific instructions on where Santa was to put each child's pile of presents. It's good to be organized on Christmas morning. ;)
Christmas morning was a little wonky, because Marin woke up with a fever and we got the news that my Grandma was sick and fell in the night and was in the hospital. As a result, my dad spent much of the day in the hospital with her. But luckily, our plans were small and laid back and we made the most of the day. And we're happy to report that my Grandma is doing great, and is out of the hospital and back at home.
The gift highlight this Christmas was without a doubt the stage that Jason made for the girls. He laid and stained real hardwood floors, included spot lights and accent lighting on a dimmer, installed a real curtain that opens and closes, and our neighbor painted a marquee with the theatre name, the "M.E. Theatre". Santa brought microphones and guitars for the girls and it's pretty much been show after show nonstop ever since.
Two days after Christmas we headed to Jason's Aunt Jean and Uncle Don's house for a Christmas celebration with all of their children. It was a very special treat to be there with all of them- they came from three states to convene for a few days together and we were so glad to be along for the ride. Aunt Jean and Uncle Don are so good to us and our kids- treating them like their own grandkids. It's so special to be together.
The next day we trekked down state to Jason's parents house for our Christmas celebration there. We had a great time celebrating with Jason's family. Debbie went out of her way to have all kinds of fun games and prizes and we all had a great time. Marin and Emilie especially love this time with their cousins.
The next day we went to the farm to celebrate with Aunt Vee, Uncle Bob, Neal, Nicole, Calvin and the newest family member, Lucas. It was such a treat to meet Lucas and snuggle him. He's only three months (almost to the day) younger than John, but John seemed so big compared to Lucas. Although we know that someday you won't know they were even a day apart. Aunt Vee made a delicious dinner and we all enjoyed the kids antics and each others company.
On New Year's Eve day, my mom came over to snuggle with the kids for a little bit. Then we had some neighbors over with their kids to ring in the new year. Both Marin and Emilie stayed up until midnight! Emilie went to bed at about 12:01, and Marin was shortly after. The kids were champs! We are all anxious to see what 2014 brings!