I made a holiday bucket list this year, complete with all the Christmas movies we wanted to watch with the kids. After Alice started winter break, we decided we'd better get cracking on it.
We headed to Downtown Seattle to enjoy some new traditions.
First, we let the girls play on the playground in the plaza while I fed Elliott.
Then we took a spin!
Romeo, the Bengal. We chatted with his person for a while and I realized that I had probably met them earlier this summer at a mall in a different part of town. For a minute, I thought there were two Bengals roaming the town...
Then the kids all piled onto the huge teddy bear bed. I wish I could have gotten a wider shot!
We parked near a Cheesecake Factory, so we headed there for dinner. We took the girls to one over the summer and it instantly became their favorite restaurant. They think it is the fanciest restaurant there is and there is cheesecake for dessert. As far as they're concerned, nothing could be better. Elliott was wiped out, he can't eat cheesecake.
A few days later, we had an appointment to see Santa. I'd made a reservation to see him first thing that morning. We got the kids all dressed and out the door. Jon opted to put Elliott in his pajamas and save his fancy outfit for when we arrived, knowing that he would probably pee through it before we got to meet Santa. So we drive twenty minutes to the mall and park, and I'm standing in the rain trying to get everyone out of the car and realize I left Elliott's outfit on the couch at home. And then I burst into tears.
We went inside and asked about our reservation, they said we could come back whenever. We swung by the Gymboree store to see if they had any Christmas outfits left. We struck out there, so my wonderful husband agreed to drive all the way home to get Elliott's outfit, and drive all the way back. So the kids and I hung out at the indoor play area while Jon went home and back. And then we met Santa, and no one cried, even if they didn't actually want to meet Santa but just agreed to do it because I told them it was important to me and they were tired of seeing me cry...
Then we had some friends over to make gingerbread houses. The girls had a great time sticking on decorations and licking their fingers, and then just eating candy. By the time our friends left, Alice and Ivy were super candy-powered...
So we got the kids in their Christmas outfits and had time for a quick photo in front of the Christmas tree.
We were glad we made it to church, but Alice managed to ruin the candlelit 'Silent Night' by spending the entire song asking - loudly - why she didn't have a candle.
Once we got home, we got our classy dinner ready (pigs in a blanket!) and got a plate of cookies ready for Santa. Alice took her job of putting cookies away very seriously.
After dinner, the kids got to open their traditional gift of Christmas Eve jammies. They were all penguin themed this year because the Christmas pajamas were sold out before Thanksgiving, apparently.
Ivy declared them her favorite and ran around like a maniac.
Then we had cookies and cider and watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." It was a perfect end to the evening.
And then Santa came! He brought the scooters the girls asked for and their very own Joy and Sadness dolls.
There were so many fun gifts under the tree, but I think my favorites were the ones I gave Jon. I donated to the International Rescue Committee to sponsor a year of school for a girl, in honor of our daughters, and donated to Cooper's Totes to provide one tote bag to a child entering the foster care system, in honor of our son and baby Cooper. IRC sends a nice card for your gift recipient and I drew a card with Cooper's Totes logo.
The girls played with their new little lego sets, Alice built her whole vet ambulance all by herself!
And then the day after Christmas, my family came up for round 2.
And then, before we knew it, it was time for a new year and Ivy's birthday! I'm sure we didn't get to all of the things on our holiday bucket list, but we had a nice holiday season and a lovely Christmas. Now I just have to wrap my head around 2016! Here we go!
I hope Santa brought you everything you asked for and that your season was merry and bright.