December 25, 2018 | My favorite day of the year — Christmas! M’s first, and one brought to us by the PAW PATROL. E’s big toy-wish was the lookout tower, and her face when she opened that bag was pure joy! M didn’t really know what was going on, but she was happy to look at all of the colorful surroundings! Then we were off to church, after a phone-app-Canon-selfie of the family on the couch again. I think I accidentally started a tradition with that! 🙂
December 24, 2018 | When it was determined that we would be hosting Dave’s side for Christmas, I immediately thought it would make sense to host MY family as well. Especially since I had the idea to setup a photo-booth for both gatherings! So I set it up, tested in on E, and we were ready to go. First E was able to help make the time-honored lasagna in my Grandma’s dish (+ others). It was so sweet seeing her participate in the steps, and she is in the phase of loving to HELP! M woke from her nap and managed to stick her hand in the dish too… 🙂 We enjoyed an amazing dinner, snapped a ton of photos (the focus failed on me for a chunk), and then opened gifts in the living room. The kids were so darn excited, and M was happy to munch on wrapping paper! Christmas is the best!
December 11, 2018 | It’s a family tradition to head East to see lots of Christmas lights, and this year we invited my parents! We have plenty of room in the car, and it’s more hands to help keep a baby awake past her bedtime… 🙂 I was driving so there are hardly any photos of the Lake portion, but M loved being out of the car seat. Blinking lights are her JAM (like her momma), and E remembered it from last year. A quick diaper change and we were off to the Magic Tree, where I could get out and shoot some photos. It’s a super challenging scenario, and I always feel like I’m walking the balance of enjoying the moment vs. capturing it. But I’ve always adored the images that result! It was freezing outside, but M did so well for all of it. I already cannot wait to do it again next year!
December 8, 2018 | We always see the Farmstead holiday lights, but we added a little Candy Cane Hunt this year too. We met at the community center and first the kids had to decorate their bags (right up E’s alley). Then a quick explanation of the rules, and they let the kids go in age-groups to “hunt” for the mini-canes left all over the field. Despite the freezing-cold, and knowing that they were all picked-up, E managed to be the LAST KID HUNTING. She wanted to be extra certain there wasn’t a single one left. After some spilled hot-chocolate inside, we made our way to the Farmstead lights. It’s really, really, REALLY hard to photograph two small children in little/no light with any success. But, I’ll still insert what I got… 🙂
December 3, 2018 | Our annual family trip to Union Station and all the holiday stuff we can fit into our day (during the week)! I dressed the girls in matching sweaters (per E’s request) and we were off to enjoy all the decor. I loooooove going to Union when we have the place to ourselves…it’s before school is out and the lines aren’t bad AT ALL. Even walked right up to see Santa! Next year I want to get the ornament (vs the print) because I loved how beautiful it was. E selected her annual ornament (a horse this time) and promptly dropped it and broke it’s tail off. Oh age FOUR… 🙂 Trains, letters to Santa, and the big tree were all great. But the big draw was going to the Dinosaur exhibit. E still loves them, and despite having a baby with us we thought we could manage. Had hoped she could nap in the stroller, but as soon as we entered they played a video that woke her up and that was done… 🙂 Some of the dinos moved, and E loved the ones that were mommies/babies! It was pretty cool, and I was suckered into a pink stuffed stegosaurus at the end…
And if that wasn’t enough in one day, the COLD evening was the sleigh-ride! We had forced M to participate in everything else, so D agreed to stay home with her while E and I went on the horse-carriage ride to see lights. We were bundled so tight that the wind didn’t even bother us! I adore that she’s ready for anything, all the time. What a great kick-off to the holidays!
November 24, 2018 | After my family holiday, we make our way to the lake for a giant celebration of kids/food/beer/guns/4-wheelers/drones/trucks/ridiculousness…ha! And I try to get a family photo at this holiday each year as well, with whoever is at the lake. It may not always be everyone, but it’s a LOT! My drone suddenly crashed on this trip, which kinda freaked me out…and E (+ her cousin S) discovered a love of metal detecting for rusty-nails. Parents of the year over here!
The annual tradition continues, with a photo shoot on the family-car…several images, taken via a tripod, and combined digitally!