Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gingerbread Houses at Jaden's School

Before Christmas, Jaden had a gingerbread house-making party at his school. I was so excited because it's his first time getting to experience all of these fun activities at school. He was beyond excited about it and fortunately we were all able to be there! We used graham crackers, icing, and tons of candy to make our own unique little house. I'm amazed it stayed standing as long as it did!
The end result - a hot, cute, gingerbread mess... I mean creation :).

These two look like they're on sugar overload!
Jaden handing out holiday treats to his friends.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming to Town...Again and Again

Santa's First Time Coming to Town...
We went to the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at the outlet mall in El Paso, where Santa makes a grand entrance and does the countdown for the tree lighting each year. This year, while waiting for Santa to arrive, all of the children were invited onto the stage for a dance contest, where the winner would win a $10 gift card to the mall. Jaden got a sudden burst of courage and asked if he could go up on the stage to dance. He was so cute up there dancing his little heart out, and was thrilled when they announced that all of the kids on stage won the contest and would all get a $10 gift card to the mall. While the kids were still on the stage, Santa arrived in a beautiful sports car and the US Marines were lined up at the entrance to the stage so that Santa could make his grand entrance through their lineup and onto the stage. Jaden happened to be standing right at the edge of the stairs, and by the time Santa was headed up there, I could barely see him anymore, but I could imagine that he was either having a minor panic attack at the close proximity of Santa, or was thrilled beyond belief. And as the crowd began to sit back down, I could see that Jaden was anxiously awaiting his turn to talk to Santa. It was a very fun opportunity for him, and even got to help with the countdown to the lighting of the Christmas Tree!

Jaden's at the edge of the stairs in the brown and green jacket, waiting for Santa to arrive.

They had fake snow falling, which was actually bubbles of some sort. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!

We concluded with hot cocoa and cookies!

Santa's Second Time Coming to Town...
It's amazing how Santa can be in so many places at one, all throughout the month of December. Our second time seeing Santa was at the Railroad Museum. It started raining, so we went inside to keep warm and missed his arrival on the train, but still got to see him later.

Santa's Third Time Coming to Town...
Our third time seeing Santa was an unexpected surprise! We went to see my Grandma's Christmas choir performance, which is always a treat (Grandma's the adorable lady sitting in the front row). Jaden had commented that one of the gentlemen in the choir looked like Santa. I admit that he did, but told Jaden that that wasn't really something he should keep announcing! And at some point during the performance (must have been while we were on a potty break), "Santa" left the group. And what a surprise it was while we were jammin' to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," to see Santa enter through the back doors with Mrs. Claus, both wearing the most beautiful, authentic looking Santa costumes I've ever seen, and handing out candy canes to everyone! It was wonderful. Then Santa took his place back up on the stage with the choir, and Jaden gasped and said "I knew that was Santa!" We were sure to find him after the performance for a photo op. And when we were leaving, Jaden wanted to get a good look at the building rooftop because he was sure Santa would be up there getting ready to fly off with his reindeer and he didn't want to miss it. Right away I noticed Santa helping Mrs. Claus into their white Honda. So I had Jaden looking up, down, over...anywhere I could to distract him until Santa drove away. Didn't want to ruin the magical moment for him.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The 24 Books of Christmas

This year we started a tradition that I call "The 24 Books of Christmas." It was definitely a favorite, and one that we will continue for many years to come. I began collecting Christmas/holiday books a few months before Christmas to add to the ones we already had and wrapped each one individually and labeled them with a number from 24 to 1. Starting on December 1st, Jaden and Elijah got to unwrap a book every night before bed as we counted down the days till Christmas. The boys looked forward to it every evening and it was such a special time spent as a family. And you can never go wrong with books!