Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas was so much fun this year -- a little chaotic at times, but nonetheless a fun time.  The morning started out very quiet.  Josh and I awoke, enjoyed some coffee on the couch, listening to holiday carols while we waited for our children to wake up.  Finally, maybe with a little help from me, the kids awoke and the gift opening began.

This was Aiden's year.  He was super excited about everything.  He loved opening the gifts.  He wanted to pass out the gifts.  He wanted to throw away the wrapping paper.  He wanted to assist everyone in opening their gifts.  He just wanted to be a part of the entire process.  It was so adorable.

Madilyn, on the other hand, was excited about some presents, but very nonchalant about other ones. Anything that involved her baby dolls were a big hit.  She would get very excited about it and want to to start playing Mom and Dad immediately,

After we concluded our own family Christmas at the house, we drove over to Grandma and Grandpa Farrell's to celebrate the holiday with them.  The day was full of present opening, food munching, champagne drinking, game playing, and family conversing.  There may have been some tears of joy shed as well.

One of the highlight gifts that Josh and I received from my parents was a handmade regulation Cornhole set.  It is pretty cool!  We enjoyed playing the game all day long!

By the time we made it home that evening, we all retired to bed pretty early, cherishing the wonderful time that we all had.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas Eve is a very special night for the residents of Moon Valley.  Each year, all of the streets of Moon Valley are lined with luminarias.  This has been a tradition which began over twenty years ago.  This year, we wanted to join in the tradition, so Josh and Paul distributed sand and lunch bags to all of our neighbors so that we could spread the "light" of the season.  It was amazing to see Aster Drive illumined with the traditional luminarias.

However, just seeing the luminarias in our own neighborhood was not enough.  We also wanted to enjoy the luminarias and lights of Moon Valley for ourselves.  So, with the help from the Matchetts, we grabbed a trailer, added some hay to sit on, decorated it with lighted garland and loaded it with our family, friends, and spiked hot chocolate so that we could experience the tradition of  Moon Valley firsthand.  It was a perfect night for a hayride and the house light displays put us all in the caroling mood.  By far, the best house display were the Dancing Santas.  We all got a kick out of them!

It was a wonderful evening spent with family and friends, exactly how the holidays should be.  I see a new tradition emerging ...

The Entire Christmas Eve Clan
Grandma Farrell with the Grand-kids
Aiden opening his Christmas Eve pajamas
Madilyn with her new slippers
The kids in their new pajamas
A family photo
Aiden aka Super Ninja Turtle
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Hanukkah!

On the fourth night of Hanukkah, we enjoyed a traditional Jewish feast of brisket, latkes, noodle kugel, green beans and rugalach with family and friends.  We are so blessed to have people in our lives who are willing to embrace "Chrismukkah" with us.  It was a beautiful affair full of lively conversation, intense dreidel spinning and ceremonial candle lighting.  This is definitely one of my favorite Jewish holidays.

Sitting down to dinner
Grandma Farrell and Madi
The kids in their Hanukkah pajamas
Our family
I was also able to get a couple of good pictures of the kids on the eighth night of Hanukkah.

The kids really looked forward to lighting the candles and saying the blessing each night.  

Happy 8th Night of Hanukkah!

Winter Wonderland

This past weekend we took the kids up north to enjoy the snow and visit the North Pole via the Polar Express.  We had so much fun!  The kids are a perfect ages to enjoy both activities.

Christy and Brandon joined us on our adventure this year.  Neither of them had ever taken the Polar Express, so we invited them to join along.  Aiden was really excited (or maybe it was all of the candy) to go on the train to meet Santa.  Madi also seemed pretty excited..  Both kids colored him pictures to give to him on the train.  On the train, we all enjoyed cookies, hot chocolate, the reading of The Polar Express, a visit from Santa Claus and the singing of carols.

Sunday morning, on our way down the mountain, we stopped in Munds Park at the Farrell cabin so the kids (and Josh and Christy) could play in the snow.  They really wanted to build a snowman.  And so they did. What did they name him?  Olaf, of course.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially Aiden.  He loved having a snowball fight with Josh.  He never gave up!  So determined, he ran back to Christy, his arsenal dispenser, for more snowballs to throw at Josh, screeching the entire time.  It was adorable to watch.  We cannot wait to get up north so the kids can have some more play time in the snow.

What a fun time in Arizona's Winter Wonderland!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Santa Brunch

Another holiday event that we love at Moon Valley Country Club is their Santa Brunch.  It is a great way for the kids to meet Santa up close and personal.  Plus, the food is always amazing!

Madi before the brunch
Being silly!
Aiden ready to see Santa

How did the Santa greeting go?  Superb for one kid and not so great for the other.  Aiden was pretty excited to meet Santa this year.  He was *so* antsy in line as he waited for his turn to sit in Santa's lap. He wouldn't even sit still for Santa.  He just kept moving and kicking around.  It was pretty funny!

Waiting in line to see Santa
Laughing with Santa

Aiden's conversation with Santa

Madi, on the other hand, didn't want anything to do with sitting on Santa's lap.  We did convince her to take one photo with her brother on Santa's lap before she broke into tears.  

My two kiddos
The kids and Oma

Gingerbread House Decorating

This year we returned to Moon Valley Country Club's gingerbread house making event.  We enjoyed creating a family gingerbread house so much last year, so we gave it a whirl again this year.  I am not sure you would call our gingerbread house methodically decorated.  It was more a contest between each kid to see how much candy, cookies and frosting they could place on any open space of the house's roof top.  And that was only when they weren't eating the so-called construction items.  It was still a fun time even though we all left with stomach aches from all of the sweets consumed.

Ready to begin
Josh getting the house started
The family working together
Eating the decorations
Dad and Aiden
Mom and Madi
The final creation...
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Preschool Holiday Show

With the arrival of the holiday season, so does singing of carols by our children as they begin to practice for the preschool holiday show.  This year's theme revolved around "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."  It wasn't until preschool sent the song words home so we could help them practice that we really understood exactly what songs they were singing.

Both kids did a fantastic job performing in front of the audience.  They stayed on the stage and sang all of the songs to the best of their abilities.  It was really cute and they both looked like they enjoyed themselves. I was a little sad knowing it was Madilyn's last preschool holiday show, but I know that there will be many more to come as she grows even older.

A Photo Op with Grandma and Papa Farrell
"Feliz Navidad"
"Mr. Grinch"
"Welcome Christmas"

Just in case you cannot understand the kids, the words are ... 
Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores, Welcome Christmas Come this way

Tree Decorating

One of my traditions is to decorate the house for the holidays on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  This year was no different, except this year, we decided to "Chrismukkah" our house.  We really wanted to blend our families' faiths into the home decor.  One of the ways that we incorporated the two faiths was by adding a second holiday tree.  Now we have one Christmas tree and one Hanukkah tree.  The kids loved helping Mommy and Daddy decorate both trees. And luckily, we only had a couple of ornaments break during the process.  I am so glad the kids are starting to get old enough to participate in some of the family holiday traditions.  It was a fun family moment!