Sometimes, our kids do something ridiculous and I'm like, "Clear my schedule! Blogging!" So this is what I did while Dave put away the Christmas decorations just now (Oh hey, would have loved to help with that though! Maybe next year... ;)
Cookies > getting your hair done >>> going to bed.
Now to get to the Christmas stuff. There's lots of it!
Joe absolutely would not meet Santa. Can't blame him. But there were plenty of other distractions at the co-op Christmas party: cookie decorating, s'more bar, card and snowflake crafts, and hot cocoa.
I cracked up when I shot this one. Joy!
Joe really loved his 'mallow on a stick - he actually wanted to take it to bed with him, but I told him skewers are not for sleeping with.
Today we also went to the Landmark Building in downtown St. Paul for a free performance of Clara's Dream by the St. Paul Ballet Company. Apparently they perform there the second Tuesday of every month! It's in the rotunda by a cafe where there is a stage set up in the middle of the tables and people just take their lunch and watch amazing professional ballet. Kids can sit right by the stage and no one minds if they move around or get excited. It was awesome. The music awoke nostalgic, warm, holiday feelings, and the ballet was beautiful. And funny! Those elite athletes knew how to work a crowd.
Afterwards the dancers did a little ballet lesson for the kids and gave out candy canes. Riley was star struck. We will definitely be back next month!
Seriously, there is no end of fun, cultural, family things to do here. I love St. Paul!! Minneapolis too.
*For you Minnesota people, if you are looking for a good Nutcracker to take the kids to, this looks like a good option. It's pared down to an hour and a half of all the best parts, and not too pricey. Recommended from a friend!
The past week I have been trying slowing down, keep it simple. I love this time of year, but the holidays get crazy-busy and I could (and have, in the past) run myself ragged, trying to catch every bit of Christmas glitter falling from the sky: Santa has a million different venues, everyone is celebrating with different traditions, and Pinterest, don't even get me started, but I want to make ALL of it. You got to pace yourself. Treat yo' self, yes, but I just don't want to finish the year feeling hung over, if you know what I mean.
Good, better best. So many good things to do this year, so we get to focus on the best!
Best = sugar cookies, carols, watching White Christmas, Elf, While You Were Seeping, It's a Wonderful Life, decorating the tree, reading the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Christmas Carol, cookie swap, going to visit family, homemade ornaments, 1st Presidency Christmas devotional, making thoughtful gifts, sledding, building snowmen, making snow angels, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate...and that's me being selective! Haha, well I didn't say I was good at it.
Oh, and add to the list: the ward Christmas party! I love church Christmas parties. Ham and cheeeesy potato casseroles, gangs of kids running all over, carols and everyone shaking hands and "Merry Christmas"ing each other. I love it. I love listening to the miracle of Jesus' birth. Mary was younger than me, maybe 15. But what a sweet little mama and her precious baby boy. Did they shoo the animals out for the event? No I guess not, not in the middle of the night in a packed city - they would have kept vigil as the Savior was born...I'm so glad for this time to reflect and be grateful for God's gift of peace and hope to the world.
The Christmas devotional last night warmed my heart. It grew three sizes. I loved the picture Elder Maynes drew of the sweet family Christ was born into. And the Christmas stories...I'm so glad we have more than a pickle to give Riley and Joe for Christmas.
While we were painting popsicle sticks this afternoon, Riley asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I pulled a Dad and told her I just wanted smiling faces. She thought about that, frowned and said, "No Mom! You have to pick somesing." So then I pulled a Dave and said, "I want some new socks," and she brightened up considerably. Nodding, she said "Ok Mom, I'll get you that. Ok."
I love hanging out with these guys. Sometimes, they chase me around with the KitchenAid dough hook like they are Captain Hook.
Today we made hot cocoa mix (after a chilly afternoon at the park. Even wearing snow suits, they were ready for hot coco as soon as we walked through the door). The recipe was Alton Brown's and I must say, very delicious.
Then we started making ornaments. If you are a grandparent you will probably get one. Lucky!
Riley wanted a go with the camera. Here are some pictures she shot:
Go Riley! Our photographer! She sure has a knack for making people smile.
They fell asleep in my arms while I was reading to them tonight. It was a blessed day.
I'm really looking forward to next week when Dave finishes the semester and can play with us too - we miss him when he's gone. Joe always tries to follow him out in the morning, and Riley welcomes him home by slamming and locking the front door so, she says, "you can't get back out!" Haha! That's what he gets for being such a great dad!
We love you, Dave!
What would a favorite things post be with out my babydaddy? All time fav, right there!
*You can watch the Christmas Devotional online here
*Alton Brown's hot chocolate mix here
*This Nutcracker sampling is on the docket for tomorrow - Riley will love it!
*My burgeoning holiday Pinterest board is here - if I started now I could make it all before the kids go to college, probably.
Who's behind on her blogging? THIS girl. Let's dive right in.
It has been a very busy, very chilly couple of weeks. Today it is zero degrees outside and we are holing up here till warm temps come in tomorrow. It is pleasant though, with our Christmas tree up and a friendly snowman looking up at us from the courtyard. I had leftover turkey and stuffing and pecan pie for lunch. I have no complaints.
So this is what we've been up to lately:
Chris came to visit and we all went to Minneapolis for Family Night at the Midtown Global Market. As luck would have it, the Roe Family Singers were doing a show there that night, so we got tamales and good old-fashioned Appalachian music (they pronounced it "Ap-a-latch-an" like natives. Bravo!) They also did a group clogging lesson.
We joined in a for a square dance or two.
The following day Riley and Joe had two birthday parties to go to, so Dave and Chris went thrifting for materials and spent hours making some really cool...Christmas secrets. Shhh.
If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen these pictures already - I had to poach them since my phone is being a jerk and not letting me download certain pictures. Take that, phone!
Thankful, thankful! We got to spend Thanksgiving with about 30 of the Herrald clan in Rochester. It was 4 degrees out but our hearts were warm. A big meal and a fun crowd, football, pool, babies, and all the pumpkin pie you could want.
Photo creds to Don! New pajama creds to Suzette! Thank you!
St. Paul Tree Lighting/ Figure Skating/ Choo Choo Bob band/ European Christmas Market
A long title, but that place was hoppin'! From foot to foot, you know, to keep warm! It was fun though. We took the train because the babies love it. Joe screamed when we went through the tunnels and scared the whole bus. Cracks us up.
We have all our fingers today, thanks to these steaming cups of hot chocolate. Mmmm.
Once it got dark they had some Christmas carols and a performance from the cast of A Christmas Story before they lit the tree and set off the fireworks. St. Paul loves their Christmas. Brings to mind the Who's down in Whoville. Christmas in St. Paul isn't bought in a store. It is bought in an outdoor European Christmas market. Haha, I kid, I joke. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well here.
And, uh, the spirit of Thanksgiving too. I decided I wanted to do our own turkey, in addition to the giant one Pops served on Thanksgiving day, and a meal with all of my family's traditional dishes. We invited some friends over to make it a party, and Dave concocted a dubious turkey rub with crushed red pepper and sugar in it, among other things, which turned out to be, naturally, delicious! My pecan pie was awesome too.
My turkey! And his turkey. haha "And then he, he himself, carved the roast beast!" (We read The Grinch too much around here.)
Our apartment is looking quite festive now. We put up our tree on Saturday but as soon as we got home from church on Sunday, Riley and Joe were back at it, rearranging ornaments just for fun.
They were wearing their aprons (to "help" with dinner) and with the bright winter light streaming in on them and the tree I was momentarily blown away by how quickly they are growing and how precious these moments are with our babies. They are so sweet, and it is a privilege to enter childhood's sacred, magical world with them.
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”