I have crammed a bunch of Christmas activities into this one blog entry. Enjoy.
This year, our family stayed home for Christmas for the first time since Michael and I were engaged. It was fun to start our own traditions and spend time together as a family. Annabelle, particularly, enjoyed the holiday. She understood what was going on this year and loved seeing Christmas lights, putting up the tree, presents, Santa Clause, and so forth. We talked a lot about the birth of Christ and she understood that that was the reason we have Christmas. But I think she was a little confused about how things like reindeer, Santa, and Frosty the snowman fit in.
Christmas eve night, we read about Christ's birth from the scriptures and then Annabelle set out some cookies and chocolate milk for Santa. When she woke up on Christmas morning, the first thing she did was check to see if the cookies were gone. Indeed they were and the stockings had been filled and presents were under the tree. She was so excited, she flew into my room and started dancing around and yelling that Santa had come. I was just as excited that morning because both girls slept in til 8:30. It was the best Christmas present they could have given me. I love the way Michael communicates with Annabelle...
Jillian was amusing herself one day while I was making dinner. She also loves to smile for the camera, although it looks more like she's eaten a lemon. (Excuse my hiccups that are present for the 2nd half of the video.)
There was a lot of fun sister time going on between Annabelle and Jillian during the holidays. Here's a sample of some.
Here are some of Jillian's feats that she's accomplished in the last week. Of course, I only got videos of her attempting the obstacle and missed getting a video of her actually overcoming it. Oh well.
The other day, I was bored of being in the house, but didn't feel like packing up the kids and driving anywhere, so I decided to take them outside in our yard. This would be Jillian's first time in the snow and I was interested to see how she'd react. Annabelle, of course, loved it and stayed outside by herself well past the time that Jillian and I came in. After I got Annabelle in her snow suit, I attempted to get Jillian ready. My cousin was kind enough to give us a snow suit that her girls wore when they were babies; however, it's a size 18 months and Jillian is not even a year. Since this was the only appropriate thing I had for her to wear, I put it on her anyway. It totally didn't fit, but I figured we wouldn't be outside for long and it would suffice. In this picture, my foot shows where Jillian's feet are. Once outside, I sat Jillian in the snow. For about 15 minutes, she did nothing but sit there and look around or watch Annabelle play. I picked her up and tried to involve with Annabelle and me, as we were playing in the snow. Here's a video of Annabelle holding Jillian and going down the small slide in our yard. Jillian enjoyed it a few times, but then started to get cranky. I think she didn't like being confined in the snow suit and, as it was too big for her, it didn't allow her to crawl or move freely on her own, which she did not like.
Yesterday, Annabelle and Jillian wore matching dresses for church. They looked so cute together by the Christmas tree. Oh, how I love my cute girls!Here is a video of Michael having a picnic with Annabelle He's so good at playing "pretend", you'd never know that he actually does not like the pretend food that he eats in real life. However, as you'll see from this video, he's not that bad.
We had our family picture taken back on May, but after a month it was already outdated because Jillian was growing so fast. Now, she's over 10 months old and I decided we needed another family picture taken. The photo shoot took place in the dining room, where we sat on some kitchen chairs. Michael found the right angle for the camera and used the 10 second timer. Annabelle has a hard time holding still for pictures and smiling for the camera, so it took several times before we got one that was satisfactory. When I went to pick them up, the photo lady asked me if I had permission from the photographer to order the pictures. She told me I had to have the photographer sign a copyright waiver. I told her the pictures were taken in my dining room with the self timer feature on the camera and she was shocked. She said they looked professionally done. And here's a cute video of Annabelle and Jillian playing.
This is my favorite time of year, but it always seems to be the busiest and therefore goes by way too quickly. Let me start with a little bit of an update. A few weeks ago, I posted a farewell entry to our truck. Since that time, we have purchased a replacement vehicle. We are now the proud owners of a Toyota Sienna. We were debating between an SUV and Minivan and ultimately decided that we didn't want to pay an insanely outrageous amount to fill up an SUV with gas. Instead we're only going to end up paying an outrageous amount every time we fill up. By the way, if you haven't met the swagger wagon family (who also owns a Toyota Sienna), you should check this out.
Jillian is crawling everywhere and likes to pull herself to a standing position. She loves to hold my hand and walk around the house. (Yikes, help me. I'm not ready for that stage yet!) She says and knows Michael and me by name (ma-ma, da-da) and is growing up fast. She's been teething for the last 5 months, but only has her two bottom teeth (which she has used to bite me and draw blood several times while feeding). She's got several more that should be coming in soon. (Although who knows? I've been saying that for the last 2months.) Annabelle's preschool is coming to a close. I don't know how she and I are going to deal with the reality of her being home all day every day. She's getting really good with the sounds the letters of the alphabet make and I have plans to get her started with reading after preschool.
We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving with Michael's parents and brothers. I wish I had taken more pictures. We enjoyed ping-pong (I was really starting to get good with putting spin on the ball), swimming, pickleball, board games, and of course, tons of yummy food and good discussions. Thank you, Robert and Cynthia. Merry Christmas!