Friday, December 25, 2015

December Fun - Ice Skating, Gingerbread, Tree Trimming and More

Our December has been chock-full of fun holiday related happenings.  So much so that I am WAY behind on blogging about things and don't know that I will catch up in quite the way I want to, so I'm just going to dump most of the photos I have into one giant post (here) and call it good.  I might add photos here and there to posts when I get around to pulling them off my iphone.  So sorry for the length of this post and the overwhelming number of photos. 

Early in the month Paul had a work event where he needed to bring cornbread to share.  So I baked it fresh in the morning and the girls and I drove it in.  Which was perfect because Paul was able to take an early lunch and go ice skating with us at the pop-up rink in front of the Ferry Building, right by his office.  The weather was lovely (I ended up taking my jacket off because it was just so nice) and we had a good time, even though the rental skates for adults are terrible.  Like, so insanely uncomfortable.  Clara had never ice or roller skated before so this was very, very new to her and I gave her a pep talk on the way there about how she might fall and it might hurt but that's okay and just part of learning something new and she should just get right back up and keep trying.  And it must have sunk in because she had a GREAT attitude about it and a big smile the whole time.  She did not want to leave at the end and is already begging for more time on the ice and is trying to earn that time by doing service around the house and filling a jar with "service snowballs".  Rose had fun on the ice but the problem was that she basically just hung from our hands and hardly helped balance or even support her weight at all.  Which killed my back to bend over while trying to balance and propel both of us.

Don't be deceived by how graceful Clara looks in these pictures.  She was on her bum a lot and never got the hang of any sort of gliding.  She more just gingerly stepped around the ice on her skates - which is fine!  She sure did look cute though.

I bought a gingerbread house from Costco this year.  In past years I have made gingerbread from scratch and used patterns to cut them out but in the spirit of simplifying and evaluating what is important for me to spend my time on, I opted to just go with the prepackaged route this year and it worked out great.  The girls were super serious the entire time and wouldn't smile at all, not because they weren't enjoying the activity but because they were just concentrating so much!

I did a fun little photo shoot with the girls in their Christmas dresses based on a tutorial I saw on a photography website.  All it took was a sheet of black fabric for a backdrop and a couple of bags of fake snow.  They thought I was crazy at first when I was trying to get them to throw the fake snow in the air inside the house so I could take their pictures.  And again it was kind of hard to get smiles out of them because they were just so intensely interested in the fake snow that they mostly had intense looks of concentration.  Silly girls.  I looked and looked for Christmas dresses for the girls but the only ones I really LOVED were insanely expensive and I couldn't justify it.  But then I found these cute pleated frocks at Target for a great price and the style was different from anything we have ever done, so that's what we ended up with.  And the girls love them - Rose especially likes twirling her dress.

Clara's preschool class practiced a bunch of Christmas songs to put together a performance for a local senior center.  The kids were so cute in their golden tinsel halos and they did a great job singing on stage.  Afterwards they went into the audience to pass out candy canes to the residents of the center.  It was a great opportunity for the kids to bring some joy to our local seniors.

Just a few days before Christmas the girls and I drove into the city around 4:00 to meet Paul for a walking tour of the downtown Christmas decorations.  It was a little wet and misty for part of the time but not so bad that it stopped us.  We loved these giant red ornaments that are just a block or two from Paul's office.  We ended up at Union Square looking at the giant Christmas tree and going to meet Santa at the Macy's Santaland, then went to Schroeder's (the oldest German Restaurant in California, established in 1893) for Schnitzel with Noodles and Crisp Apple Strudel (and also delicious bratwurst and spaetzle and potato pancakes - yummy).

Soon after we got home from Thailand we went to a local Christmas tree lot to pick out the perfect tree for our home.  We found a gorgeous Douglas Fir that was just right for us and made the most beautiful Christmas tree we have ever had.  The only problem was that there were tons of tiny spiders in the tree that we kept finding and having to kill! The girls just loved running around the tree lot, chasing around the trees.  They also liked seeing the sheep that were right next door.

They pretended that these tiny trees were their "microphones" and told us they were giving talks in church.

We went to the Nutcracker at Temple Hill.  It was wonderful and we enjoyed being in the audience instead of onstage this year.  Rose did pretty well although we didn't make it far into the second act before I had to finally take her out because she would stay seated.  But Clara and Paul got to stay for the whole thing while I let Rose run around temple grounds looking at all the lights.

Paul, er, Santa, made doll beds for the girls for Christmas.  They turned out so cute and it is meaningful to us that they were made by dad, even though the girls won't understand that.  

We had to make cookies for Santa, of course.  We did sugar cookies and gingerbread and the girls were my good little helpers.  They both enjoyed measuring ingredients and did much better about following directions than normal, which was wonderful because honestly, baking with the girls is hard for me because it takes so much longer and makes ten times the mess.  But they were so proud of themselves.  And I wish I had photos from when we frosted the cookies because oh boy, those were some amazing treats with generous amounts of sprinkles on the ones that Clara and Rose did.  They did not like the gingerbread, but they loved the sugar cookie dough and snuck many, many tastes.  The little cutie pies.

Whew - like I said, it has been a busy month!

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