Sunday, January 4, 2015

Holiday Recap Part 2: Christmas Festivities

Let's be honest.  The real fun of Christmas is the anticipation.  I know my childhood memories of the holidays involve decorating, choosing a tree, making cookies, and waiting for Santa.  This is the first year the kids have sort of grasped the concept of holidays and this is also the first time in 4 years I have actually been motivated to do anything Christmasy {pregnancy and lots of young babies can suck the spirit right out of you}.  Of course, I have done Christmasy things the last few years, but I wasn't into it.  This year, I ran with it.

The greater Houston area actually has tons of activities going on in December, so I had to narrow it down.  I know they're not old enough to remember, but I will remember, and I wanted to check these places out while they're still young enough to be free at most of the events!

At Home
There was plenty of fun to be had around the house this year!  We decorated toddler style {ornaments only on the top half of the tree} and the kids loved checking out the tree and pointing out every baby Jesus, Santa, Rudolph, and snowman.  We made Reindeer food (oats and glitter) and sprinkled it in the yard Christmas Eve.  We listened to kiddie Christmas music {they learned Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells} and read Christmas books and learned all about the REAL reason for the season- Jesus' birthday!  We went on walks to hunt for lights and bows.  They got SO excited every time they saw a big red bow decoration or any sort of Christmas light.  I'm sure anyone who could hear us was amused.  If anyone was watching closely, they may have seen them trying to eat the candy canes and lollipops in peoples' yards!  Complete with a "yummy yummy Mommy".  And they've never even tasted a lollipop or candy cane!
me and my rice krispie snowman

Andrew showing off the group's creations

I am glad we have a great place to see Santa for free near our home.  They go all out with a Winter Wonderland set up.  We went last year and I made the mistake of assuming Santa would be there all day everyday in December knowing we went on a weekday morning the year before.  So, we load up, get there on time, and no Santa.  Major disappointment!  Luckily, we could still do all of the fun Winter Wonderland stuff and go up and down the store elevators, so a fun field trip was had.  After I double checked Santa's schedule, we made a second trip and it was well worth it!  Everyone sat on Santa's lap, got to actually eat a mini candy cane, and we had individual pictures and a group picture.  The Santa was so sweet with Leah, just cuddled up with her and sang- she loved it!
Leah at her favorite spot on our field trip

Picture of our picture with Santa

Dickinson Festival of Lights
I worked in Dickinson for 4 years and never went to the Festival of Lights.  Not sure why, but it may have had something to do with wanting to get home and not hang around.  But now with a bunch of littles who love Christmas lights, I had motivation.  And did I mention it's a FREE event?!  Even better!  We met some friends and walked through the whole park which was decked out in 2 million lights {or so we were told}.  The kids loved all the scenes, decorating and eating cookies, but hated sitting on the Santa's lap.  Granted, this Santa had much to be desired.  All the Santa drama was quickly forgotten and Caroline even cried when it was time to go home.
Gammy and Alli at the UT longhorn (there was no Baylor Bear)

Leah with the light version of Santa

We tried.

The whole gang!

They loved decorating and eating cookies!

Zoo Lights
I was really looking forward to this event.  It did not disappoint.  Again, brought some friends along and met a few more there.  We walked all through the zoo which was covered in lights along with several special set ups {Can you say Thomas the Train??  My kids were mesmerized!}.  It was all truly spectacular!  Dave and I loved it as much as the kids.  Worth the money and planning to go again next year!  One of my favorite moments was when a firefighter came up to Andrew and told him his fireman hat was on backwards.  Ha!  Andrew always wears it backwards like a baseball cap.
One of the tunnels of light

Us  and our friend Clara checking out the train

Hi Ben

Hi Levi

Christmas Train
Another local event I had been waiting to try out!  Had family, friends, and even a few of my buddies from Houston Moms Blog meet us there.  A church and camp way out in Alvin country go all out with this Christmas train!  The train runs around the property and there are lights everywhere with fun scenes AND it tells the whole story of Jesus.  You can also see Santa, hear a story from Mrs. Claus, send letters to the North Pole, view an entire Christmas village and train set up {again, my kids were mesmerized}, and buy concessions.  We had a blast!
I think she liked it

Group selfie waiting for Mrs. Claus to begin

Andrew and Caroline staring at the Christmas village

Neighborhood Lights
For Houston Moms Blog I wrote a post about the best neighborhoods in Houston for Christmas lights and I had been to all but 2.  One is way far on the other side of town, but the other wasn't too far.  SO, once I got the idea in my head, I had to do it.  My parents came along with us and we ALL went to Chick Fil A for dinner.  {YES!  Everyone at a restaurant and they did great!} Then we headed to Pecan Grove in Richmond and all the hype was true!  The whole neighborhood was full of lights and some homes were down right incredible.  We all thoroughly enjoyed driving through Pecan Grove.
CFA awesome as always!

Fun Outings for Mom and Dad
With a little planning, Dave and I had our own fun too.  We went to his work Christmas party- seeing the Rockettes and a fancy dinner!  So. much. fun!  I had my own parties: Houston Moms Blog Favorite Things party with the other contributors.  We girls had a great time chatting and racking up the free goodies.  And my annual SNL Christmas with my college BFF.  Love any time we get to spend together.  Then I got a little crazy and ran a half marathon with my sister-in-law.  The Santa Hustle in Galveston was as Christmasy as a race could get with huge inflatables, cookies and candy everywhere, and people dressed up as Santa.  And for not being very prepared- AT ALL, I had a great race!
At the theater

Well, that was all we did leading up to Christmas.  It was quite jam packed!  Busy, but fun.  Next up will be the actual holiday.

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