Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve means we light all the candles, read the story, and open all of our presents except our stockings. I love this day because it is just us for most of the day and laid back (well as laid back as 4 kids allows). We stayed in our PJ's way too long and had a lazy breakfast. The kids ask every mother lovin' minute "when can we open the presents?" but the anticipation is almost over and after we spent time with friends we came home and had our special time.
It helped that we had a new lego set to keep little hands occupied. I love that the kids wait for their turn to do 5 steps each with Papa. I think Jason loves that they love it as much as he does! We all know how I feel about Lego's & following directions so much better that I just take pictures.

In the afternoon we headed to some new friend's home. We asked if we could continue our family tradition of acting out the Christmas story. The kids call this our "Christmas Play" but we are using that term VERY loosely!! But it was fun to include our friends as well.
The angel comes to Joseph
The Shepherds come to see this baby they heard about....along with a princess/angel of sorts.
The Wisemen brings gifts
we sang a few Christmas carols together
Evy got to be Mary this year and that was a BIG deal.
The kids are always so excited to see ALL the candles lit
reading the story one last time in our Pjs
I love when the kids give each other the presents they made or bought and wrapped themselves. So sweet.
And I think one little boy liked his vader robe!
Star Wars was definitely involved in many of the gifts this year! And a sweet fellow photographer sent this box full of Star Wars goodies from New York. 
I think chapstick was his favorite gift and he applies (and eats it) liberally. 
Hope you all had a great Christmas with family & friends celebrating the birth of Jesus- who came to seek and save us all.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

last of the Advent-ures

Our downtown adventure day is always a favorite of our "Advent-ures"but this year with all the transition and adjustment we were wondering if we should even attempt it with 4 kids. I'm so grateful we did because it was just what we needed as a family! Handing the kid's an envelope with our plans and watching them open it is always one of those Mama moments I treasure because they are just so excited. Grateful for this time.
fam selfie downtown
Family selfie!!
Macy's windows (they will always be Marshall Field's windows to us)
We rode the escalators up to see "the tree" and I think it was one little girl's first time on escalators and she was pumped (ya know after we assured her she would not die)
a quick stop at Christkindlmarket for pretzels (also EVERYONE in Chicago was there)
anni and rayne selfie
I'm lovin'the ANnikah selfies on my phone
photo (2)
I think the kid's favorite part was the pool hands down
photo (6)
the next morning we walked to Michigan Ave to check out the Lego store (obviously) but freezing rain meant we cabbed it back to our hotel and squeezing all of us in the back seat was pretty hilarious! 
fam at Macys
Everyone did great and we so enjoyed the time together exploring the amazing city the day before Christmas Eve. We saved the best for last. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Adent-ures begin

It is Advent time once again. Even before Thanksgiving Annikah & Evy started asking when Advent started because "it is the best time all year!" I love that they love it so much and look forward to our "Advent-ures" each day. Yes, we are complete cheesy dorks and we like it. We use this Advent wreath each year and light one additional candle each day, read this book each night, read part of the story and guess what ornament will go on our banana leaf tree from Africa, and eat cookies & chocolate milk (everyday! holla!). 
Some of the adventures are simple like doing a finger print nativity craft or making a list of gifts we already have and some are more elaborate like a fun outing as a family the Polar Express train or the Lego train show or Come to Bethlehem or going downtown to see the windows (this is coming soon and we can't wait to surprise them. They have the best reactions each year even though it happens EVERY would think they would know it is coming). Our extra little is getting in the groove and asks me when we do that Advent thing from when she gets home from school. So sweet! I love having these memories here to look back on so here are some highlights so far...
Saint Nick's day- We read about the real Saint Nicholas and they discover chocolate cons adn money in their shoes.  My favorite is seeing how they choose to bless others.  
this year we got the sought after tickets for the Polar Express (only thanks to a dear friend who texted me and reminded me to get them before they sold out- thanks Katy!)
We made sure this was on the list this year because this boy is obsessed with "choo choos!!"
the wonder of a train ride

once we arrived at the station there was Christmas music & cookies and milk.

Yay for advent-ures with friends!
Abishai was very uncertain of this dude. 
photo (1)

I dared Anni to use my phone to take a #santaselfie and she totally threw down!
photo (2)
Love these people and yes Evy is being spicy about what who knows?
We also made our annual trip to Come to Bethlehem and like every year we ALWAYS take a pic with these camels 2009 in Africa so we missed t for 2010-2011), 2012, 2013, & 2014). It was awesome to run into a bunch of friends from Chicago there too this year! 
walking through this story never gets old & this year Abishai's favorite part was petting the "woo-woos" becuase he completely though the sheep were dogs. Obviously. Anni & Evy also helped our new little discover all the fun things to do and were overheard whispering "wait til the next room tehre are shepherds!" etc. It was so adorable. In the end we stayed a bit too long in the marketplace which meant a screaming Abishai on the way home but we love this tradition!  untitled-206
That same day we also headed to the Lego train show at Cantigny where Papa was seen totally geeking out & asking all the guys who put it up how he can join them next year.
photo (3)
A highlight was seeing the Star Wars guys!! 
At least one of us was overcome with emotion...the Scout Trooper had no way to know what was coming...
And can we just say "woot woot!" for 50 degree days in December!! Hope you all are anticipating Christmas and in our waiting remembering Christ is coming! Happy Advent friends,