Our Holiday Highlights 2011.

Okay so apparently another part of “nesting” for me is getting this blog all caught up on a few of the holiday happenings that I haven’t yet filled you all in on! We had so much fun spending time together as a family, Eric had a break from seminary and even had a good amount of time off of work in that week between Christmas and New Years, it was wonderful and we definitely made the most of our family time!

Enjoying some family time looking at Christmas lights!

We had many family trips to the park (which…have I mentioned one of my favorite things about our new place is the great park within walking distance, so great!)…and Eric had some great daddy/daughter times at the park with just Emma and daddy to give mommy some good resting time during those days off too!

Emma & Eric enjoying some time at the park!

I got to go to a Christmas Michael W. Smith (a favorite Christian singer of ours!) concert with my two sisters, it was like an orchestra concert in a beautiful concert hall, we all felt so sophisticated as we had seats right behind the orchestra, super cool!

With my dear sisters at the concert!

We had a fun filled family day going to visit my grandparents for lunch (out in California visiting for the winter) at their condo in Oceanside, then going to the bookstore in Fallbrook (our old stomping grounds…lived there our first 3 years of marriage) which is seriously the best used bookstore ever! Proof: we bought 35 books for only $8, nope not joking. We then wrapped almost all the books for Emma under our Christmas tree…she loved opening them all and reading each one as she opened it haha! Then we stopped at my parents house on our way back home for some dinner, bathtime, and playtime for Emma (my parents weren’t home at the time, but we did enjoy the Christmas decor and cozy fireplace, thanks mom and dad) it made a very nice rest stop in the middle of our family traveling day!

Emma with my grandparents in Oceanside!

Emma helped mommy with all the Christmas shopping (which was done before Christmas break started for everyone that week before Christmas….so I feel I beat the Christmas rush of shopping which is a very satisfying feeling)!

Emma's favorite way to help mommy with Christmas shopping..."vacuum" the floors of Target with the roll of wrapping paper!

Emma loved opening our advent calendar each day in December (she also expected there to always be a piece of “lotlate” – chocolate – behind the door, no matter what else was included in that day’s advent activity)! Eric and I had so much fun planning each day and going through it with Emma…more details on the planning and ideas for advent calendar activities in a later post sometime!

Emma ready to open the final day on our advent calendar on Christmas morning!

We got to go to Disneyland with my side of the family (my grandparents – from Illinois – and my Aunt, Uncle and cousins – from Washington – included!)…Emma’s very first Disneyland trip, very memorable! Our favorite part of the day was watching Emma watch the parade with that look of childhood amazement, precious!

Watching the Disneyland parade with our little girl...Emma was unable to look away from the parade she didn't want to miss a thing!

We had a super fun Christmas Eve day with just our little family of three (well actually four :))!

Emma reacting to opening presents with our little family Christmas Eve morning, she's a great reactor, so much fun!

And of course a great Christmas day (and few days after Christmas too) spent with my family all together at my parents!

With my fabulous family on Christmas day! My mom's present to her parents was professional pics of the whole family, thank you T&H Photography!

We were also privileged to be assigned the parts of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus for the – very laid-back and non-fancy – family Christmas play this year…we all gather together to listen to my dad read the story of Jesus’ Birth out of the huge family Bible and the kids (or sometimes those of us a little older too :)) all set up different parts for themselves to act out, it’s great!

Our little family as Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus!

The grand finale of the day, which is by far always one of my favorite moments on Christmas…after the Christmas play my mom brings out Jesus’ birthday cake, candles lit and all, the lights are dimmed and we all sing happy birthday to Jesus (there is a certain version on A Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir CD that we listen to and sing along with)…this time never fails to bring tears to my eyes and is the perfect way to end Christmas, focused on the real reason we have to celebrate, Jesus coming down to save us! Thank you LORD!

The family all gathered around Jesus's birthday cake at the end of Christmas day!

Of course there were so many other fun moments throughout the entire month of December but those are some of the basic highlights from our holidays! We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas this year! Especially thinking up both new and old ways to start showing Emma even now at this young age that Christmas is all about Jesus coming to earth to save us and how that has changed our lives completely!

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