Friday, January 6, 2012


I am a little late, but not too late to talk about the magic of Christmas in our house this year. Kevin and I were both super excited about Christmas this year. Mairead and Lilah are at the perfect ages (5.5 & 4) and they were excited. Clara even got it a "little" this year!

A visit to see Santa
The Wednesday before Christmas, Kevin's parents drove up from Florida to spend their first Christmas with us. It was great having them and it was great having the extra help wrapping gifts after last years fiasco. We definitely learned from some mistakes made last year - though, I will admit we were still wrapping gifts on Christmas eve this year, just not And no one was sick this year (well Callum had a little cold, but that didn't slow him down to much).

Gingerbread house making! 

On Christmas eve, we continued with our tradition (4th annual) of baking & decorating cookies for Santa. We made chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. We used my friend Darla's Sugar cookie recipe of Bakingdom, which we used last year, too! They are super yummy and tasty, not to mention really easy to make! Go check out her website, she has some amazing recipes and ideas over there - I wish I had time to implement all of them! We missed our Maine friends this year who had joined in on our little tradition since we moved to Maine. Anyways...we did lots of baking on Christmas eve and decorating and mess making! The kids had a blast. After we were finished, we brought some of our cookies around to neighbors who were home in the neighborhood. We've been really trying to teach Mairead about what Christmas is all about - giving, not receiving. And that it is more fun to give, than to receive.

The girls wrapped their gifts to daddy and each other that day, too. This was the first year we had the girls exchange gifts for each other. It was really cute taking them out to pick out gifts, and I think each girl did a really great job!

Later that afternoon, we headed to Reston Town Center and went ice skating. I have to say that this year just didn't feel like Christmas. I am not sure if it was because we weren't in New England or if it was because there wasn't any snow, probably a little of both! Going to Reston Town Center definitely helped put us in the spirit.  I can definitely see us doing this on Christmas Eve in the future! There were tons of people out who were in the spirit and watching the big girls skate definitely put a smile on my face! They are getting so good! After skating, Kevin and his dad ran to one of our favorite Thai restaurants, Busara and got some take out to bring home.

After dinner, we let the girls exchange gifts. It was so cute watching them open each others presents! Afterwards, we tucked into Mairead's bed to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with Kevin's parents.....but this year the kids were just bouncing off the walls with excitement - not to mention I wasn't helping matters any by looking out the window saying I saw "Santa's sleigh" - or was that all the airplanes flying in and out of Dulles?!? Not quite sure ;)

It goes without saying, but the girls didn't take long to go to sleep this year. They knew Santa was close by, and they wanted to make sure he stopped at their house! Us adults enjoyed a cocktail or two and finished wrapping gifts and placing everything under the tree. Each girl had their own chair and all their gifts, it looked like they were very good this year!
Santa has arrived! 

The girls were up a little earlier than usual Christmas morning and once Callum awoke, we headed downstairs. The looks on their faces was priceless, but the reactions of the big girls as they opened their American Girl dolls was even more unforgettable! Check out the vimeo links to the right and check out "Christmas morning excitement". Clara did fantastic opening her gifts, she'd open one, play with it, not realizing there were a lot of other gifts to open! We skyped with my parents so they could watch the girls open a few gifts. The girls did a great job opening gifts without ripping into them and not realizing what exactly they were opening.

Of course, the American Girl dolls were the 'highlight' of the morning. We made them open those last, and you could tell as Mairead opened a new gift she was just looking for "Kit" - and at one point, got out of her chair, and started looking around. She didn't say what she was doing, but you could almost see the disappointment on her face when she kept opening gifts and none of them were her "American Girl". Clara was super excited to get her "bitty twin" that she has named "little Belle" and calls it her American girl...too cute! I am so glad we decided to buy her that doll.

The girls spent the rest of the day playing with their dolls, I don't think they even put them down for a second! Kevin and I spent the day packing for our trip north the next day. It was a busy day, but since the girls were busy with their dolls, it made packing easy.

For Christmas morning, we all enjoyed an amazing beef tenderloin for dinner! It was fantastic! A great way to end a great holiday!

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