Blogging breaks are hard. Not taking them, that is - but returning from them! I always find myself at the start of the new year with lots of photos, stories, and memories of the holiday season that never got documented in a timely fashion because I just can't seem to blog when family is visiting, we're traveling, or my husband has time off work. And that's okay. That's what I choose. It's my blog and I'll do what I want, right?
But...I want to catch up before an entirely new season is upon us! Because something about blogging about Christmas in Lent just feels so wrong....
Realistically, I won't have time to hash out what we did for all of December and January before Lent begins - but if I resort to mostly posting photos without much writing I just might catch you all up through New Year's before Ash Wednesday. So that's the plan.
I already wrote about my birthday (which was in mid-December), but I have quite the collection of images I never shared from the earlier parts of the month. Without further ado, here they are! This is what early December looked like for us:
We moved from our apartment down the road into a new townhome merely days before Thanksgiving, so we spent the first week of the month unpacking ALL the things. That photo is a glimpse of our new living room almost entirely put together!
Then, my dad came to visit my older sister's family and mine for a weekend. He came bearing some early gifts for all the grandchildren, which they had lots of fun with.
Gabriel is becoming a pro at riding that little bike all around the house, which means he is also developing some mad skills to follow all the rules of not riding into any doors or walls and staying on the (fake) wood floors only - NOT the rug (which is where his baby brother usually is). Come springtime he will be so well-practiced with his pedaling that he will be cruising effortlessly down the sidewalk!
Later that same evening we all attended a Christmas party, which gave my nieces the perfect excuse to wear ridiculously adorable holiday outfits...and play with their toy ponies (of course).
Thankfully, they were kind enough to bring plenty of ponies to share one with Gabriel because we totally did not get the pony memo.
Then, after church on Sunday we went out to brunch and spent the rest of the afternoon just visiting with my dad before he needed to head back to the Midwest. We also tried to get photos of my dad with all of his grandchildren, although we failed to do it before Gabriel said his goodbyes and went upstairs for a nap. Come to think of it, Peter slept through all the photos, too:
What can I say? My kids need their naps (and thanks be to God, they usually get them).
Since we had eaten brunch at the Cheesecake Factory, we took home an entirely-too-big seasonal peppermint cheesecake. It was delicious but OH so rich - so we brought it with us to a St. Nicholas party we attended that evening with a few other families. The kids did a surprise gift exchange and the adults got to eat THIS:
Since it was a party on the feast of St. Nicholas, you know there was a very special guest who made an appearance for all the children....
Most of the kids were really wary of this jolly man who came bearing gifts, but my sister did a good job talking up his introduction. Gabriel hung back most of the time, but (probably thanks to all the Christmas books I had stocked up on from the local library and all our talk of who St. Nicholas was) I could tell that he was dazzled in a good way:
After St. Nicholas passed out lots of goodies, some (not all) of the kids were comfortable enough to get their picture taken with him - although the crying babies had no say in the matter.
My screaming nephew and Gabriel's expression...perfect.
In all seriousness, though, this was the first year Gabriel was old enough to learn about St. Nicholas and it was SO FUN to have discussions with him all throughout Advent; it really helped build the anticipation we try to create leading up to Christmas in a new way Michael and I had not yet gotten to experience as parents. St. Nicholas even left him a little Shining Light Doll of - you guessed it - St. Nicholas in his stocking on Christmas morning (Peter received St. Patrick, who mysteriously disappeared last week...so if you have any clues regarding his mischievous whereabouts do tell).
“The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic
His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”
-St. Nicholas of Myra