Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kindle for Kids

I, as in me, got a Kindle for Christmas.  So who gets to read the first book?  Yup.  Evelyn.  She's always been a bookworm.  Now I guess we can call her a Kindle-worm!

Friday, December 28, 2012

15th Anniversary

15 years ago, Troy and I tied the knot...
...and here we are, celebrating our crystal anniversary.  We had a crazy-delicious dinner at Woodmont Grill in Bethesda.
 Then we headed over to Georgetown Cupcake (surprise, surprise!) to get some sweet treats before seeing a movie.  Here's to at least another 15 more!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

Even though the Christmas season is technically over, we hosted a gingerbread house party this afternoon.  We invited three friends over, so I prepared five sets of cookie cut-outs and five bags of frosting.  (We girls baked the gingerbread house sections and gingerbread men yesterday.)
 Evelyn constructing her house.....
 .....Julia snitching candy (after I helped her make her house).
 The finished products!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Since we seem to be in a snow drought again this year, I encouraged the girls to go out and play in the slushy stuff that had fallen last night.  It might be their only chance this season, if this year is anything like last year...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

National Christmas Tree

We headed down to Washington, D.C. early this evening to see the National Christmas Tree.  It's something we've been wanting to do ever since we moved here, so we finally went and saw it today.
 You could hardly see the tree, for all the lights that were draped on it.  That's alright, though,  We got some nice pictures as the sun went down.
Honestly, we enjoyed watching the model trains more than looking at the tree.  They had CSX, Amtrak, and Thomas the tank engine layouts set up.  I think the girls could have watched those trains all night!
 Since we were right across the street from the White House, we went to check it out, too.
 It was a fun little outing and a great way to end Christmas day.

Christmas Gifts

Santa brought Julia several crafty things, as well as a ballet set for a certain kind of doll...
 ...that doll would be the American Girl doll Julia wanted.  You can tell by the genuine happy look in her eyes that she is enamored with the gift from her Great-Grandma Shirley.
 Evelyn is convinced that Santa's elves hand-made the gymnastics set for her doll.  She couldn't wait to have her doll play on the equipment (she also got a balance beam for her doll).
 This Christmas was all about accessories for Evelyn's and Julia's dolls - Evelyn also got a school set for her doll.  It came complete with notebooks, crayons, pencils and a backpack.
 Let's not forget about Rosie.  Her new toy was laced with catnip, naturally, which grabbed her attention the moment we set the bag down.
 With a new table and chairs set and doll-sized tea set (and new dress-up clothes for the dolls), Julia was all set to play with Anna (Evelyn's blonde doll) and Rebecca (Julia's redhead doll).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Preparations

My little bakers, making crescent rolls for Christmas dinner.  Evelyn cut the dough circles, and Julia rolled up the dough.  (Notice the festive dusting of snow on the deck outside...that came just in time!)
 Before heading to the Christmas Eve service at church, the girls wrote letters to Santa.
 Well, Julia did a lot of drawing and asked for my help with the actual writing part.
 Evelyn put together a very nice collection of drawings and writing.  Now it's off to bed, anxious to see what awaits them under the tree tomorrow morning!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas at the B&O Railroad Museum

For the fourth year in a row, we headed up to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore for their Christmas festivities.  Upon arriving at the museum, the girls quickly chose wooden ornaments to color and decorate.
 Evelyn was so excited to see that the HUGE nutcrackers were back this year.  As long as big sister was with her, Julia didn't mind getting close to them.
 How much convincing did it take to get Julia to sit near Santa?  A lot.  Thank goodness Evelyn was there to act as a buffer between her and Saint Nick.  The girls offered their wish lists to Santa, which consisted of several American Girl doll accessories.  I think Julia also (quietly) mentioned that she would like a pretend play purse.
 After visiting Santa, we ate lunch, and then we wandered around outside.  It was seasonably brisk today, but we still enjoyed seeing the outdoor exhibits.  I love this picture of Troy and the girls, with the roundhouse in the background...
 We were scheduled to go on the 2:00 train ride with Santa.  Julia chose our seats, and we settled down for the two-mile round-trip journey.
 By the time Santa came down the aisle to visit the girls, Julia had warmed up to him considerably.
 Santa gave the girls Jolly Rancher candies, and Julia chose sour apple over watermelon.  Even though it made her pucker up, she couldn't resist eating it.
 Remember Julia in the first picture with Santa?  She had quite a change of heart by the end of the day.  She wanted to go back to see him one more time, on her own, and she jumped right up into his sled.  She told us that she now knew he was a nice guy so she didn't need to be afraid of him any more.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Lights

The Maryland state park next-door to our neighborhood has a holiday lights display every December.  Since we only live five minutes away, we always go on a weeknight to avoid the crowds.  It was a little rainy this evening, but we went ahead with our plans to go see the lights.
 The girls love going through tunnels of lights, and this one especially seems magical, with flickering snowflakes all around the tunnels.
 This house is one of our favorites.  Magical lights make the reindeer run up the slope and take flight.
 It takes about a half an hour to drive through all of the displays.  Once you come to Teddy Bear Land, you're near the end.  We really enjoy this beautiful holiday tradition.

Winter Lights Videos

The girls love this display - a squirrel running and jumping from one tree to another.

Julia and Evelyn also get a kick out of this one - a jack-o-lantern tossing a bear into a pot of honey.

Preschool Christmas Celebration

Last year, Julia missed one day of preschool.  The only day she was sick?  The day of the Christmas program.

Thankfully she was healthy this year, and she was SO excited to be able to go to the program and party!  Here's our little Sunshine, singing a song about elves tapping and making toys.
 After singing several songs, the kids sat with their classes and enjoyed a variety of snacks.  Julia went for the cheese, popcorn and the sweets.
 At the end of the party, Santa Claus showed up.  Reluctant to get too close, Julia chose to sit on a teacher's lap (who was on a chair next to Santa).  She didn't say much to him before taking off.  Overall, Julia was very excited that she went to her preschool's Christmas celebration this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Indoor Soccer

As Julia's outdoor soccer program came to a close in early November, I asked if she wanted to continue taking soccer.  Julia isn't the most avid soccer player, so I was surprised when she said that yes, she wanted to do more soccer.  See the look on her face in the picture below?  She's processing whether or not she wants to play the coach's next game.
 Turns out she did want to play the red light/green light game (this time).  They were learning how to stop the ball with their feet, and how airplane arms help with their balance.
 The four girls (small class!) played a scrimmage game for the last ten minutes of class.  Even though Julia still has her moments of defiance, they aren't as frequent as they were a couple months ago.  However, I doubt that soccer will ever be Julia's first pick.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sugar Cookies

Take some food coloring and sprinkles.....
.....add two giggly girls and dough.....
.....and it's time to make sugar cookies!
We baked the cookies this morning and (im)patiently waited for them to completely cool.  Then it was finally time to frost them!  Evelyn used everything - she spread the frosting with the knife, added sprinkles and drew faces and designs with the bag of icing.
 Julia asked me to help spread the frosting and write the letter "J" on some of her cookies.  Then she tried her hand at drawing with the icing, and she did really well!
 A glimpse of both cookie artists, hard at work.
 Ta da!  Sugar cookies all decorated and ready to be devoured!