Thursday, December 22, 2011

McRae's are in the Christmas Spirit

If you know me, you know my favorite time of the year is celebrating Christmas!  I love the REAL Story of Christmas!  I find myself reading our children's book, the bible version (on my phone on the go) and retelling it to myself all the time.  I LOVE the lights, the music, the smells, the love, the family time - EVERYTHING!  I love shopping and wrapping gifts for friends!  I love teaching my daughter everything I possibly can about Christmas through the different stages of her life!  This

This year, we have already participated in so many wonderful Christmas activities.  I figured I should get these out before I blog about our Christmas weekend/vacation :)

This year, Callie helped me put decorations on the Christmas tree!  Last year, we gave Callie a "Giraffe" ornament for her first ornament.  This year, with her obsession with Elmo, we decided an Elmo ornament was the most appropriate :)  She found him right away on our tree and points to him almost daily!

Callie's version of hanging Christmas ornaments on our tree consists of piling them all on the bottom branches!  Such a good helper she is :)  We have had silver Christmas decorations since our first Christmas together; however, now that we have been adding more "homemade/personal" ornaments to our tree, I am going to continually take away the silver decorations away :)

The day after Thanksgiving in Austin is Christmas in the City.  It's a huge kick off to Christmas!  The city lights up downtown, there's a Christmas parade and Santa rolls in - and then you can have your picture taken with him :)  This is an outdoor event, so it can get cold.  We were prepared-we had our princess all bundled up :)

Callie didn't want her picture taken with Santa, but she LOVED the snow dog :)  I love this picture of her with Santa.  Josh tried putting her on his lap, and she wouldn't have it.  Then I was holding her hand and she stood in front of Santa.  The photographer was fantastic at capturing her at the right moment :)  He even cropped me out of the picture :)

After her picture, we were able to walk around to different shops downtown to enjoy some fun activities. 

One of the activities was to have Callie's face painted!  She sits so well whenever someone paints her face :)  She looked so cute too!  We also got hot chocolate at this stop :)

MMM - B&J Bar & Grill was serving yummy smores :)  They had a bonfire going on their patio and made them for anyone and everyone who wanted them :)  SO GOOD yet SO MESSY!

The custom framing store allowed children to decorate their own frame.  Then our picture with Santa was placed inside of it :)  Callie didn't have a lot of interest in this, but that's okay - it's still special.  If you go back up to her first picture with Santa, you can see her frame!

I love how she was sitting on the floor - just hanging out waiting for her next sticker to be ready.

Austin has a hockey team - I think it's like the amateur league...not 100% sure on this one!  But they are the Bruins Hockey Team.  They are all over our community helping and volunteering - it's awesome!  They're mascot is this big dog- who Callie LOVES!  She is so fascinated by him :)

Our fire department had their fire trucks out for display, and Sparky the Dog was out for the children to see!  Callie ran up to him and gave him a big hug - it was so sweet!

She really likes dogs...hint hint daddy!  Okay, I can wait a few more years :)

They had horse drawn sleigh rides, but we didn't go on it, because the line was really long, and it was past someone's bedtime!  So Callie admired them from the sidewalk :)

We had our first snowfall in Austin at the beginning of December :)  It was perfect!  We took Callie outside to play, and she LOVED it!  She didn't wipe out or face plant it at all!  She would have stayed out there all day if we would have let her!

Attempting to go down her slide...she got stuck :)

And why not use her swing in the winter :)  She loved it!  And kisses from her daddy of course!  This picture is PERFECT!  I love that Daddy is kissing his girl and she has the happiest expression on her face :)

Yup, you just can't get more angelic than this sweet angel!

We decided, since Austin is so flat, that we would shovel a nice little hill off of our deck and create our own "hill"!  So Callie helped with this :)  Problem being is that the snow is now melted and our hill is nothing :(  Oh well, it happens I guess.

Christmas in the SW was the following week.  We went in for round #2 of our picture with Santa.  This time, I bribed Callie with a candy cane.  It worked :)  She sat on his lap and looked right at the camera :)  WHOA WHO!

Every year, at the beginning of December, my mom and I both take a day off of work, go to the Mall of America, and get our Christmas shopping DONE!  Granted mine was almost already done, it's still so much fun to go do this together!  Next year will be interesting with 3 kids, I'll have to see how that will work :)  We had Callie's picture taken with Santa...again, I bribed her with fruit snacks...but guess what - she SMILED!!  PERFECT PICTURE...I love this one :)

The following week, Josh and I had our holiday party at work, and we wanted to stay out really late, but that would have been such a long time for a sitter, so we asked Don & Sharon to come down and hang out with Callie while we celebrated with our coworkers.  The night they arrived, we took them to the Holiday Train that was traveling through Austin.  Here are a couple pictures I took (I took a ton, but only posted a few!)

Grandpa Don & Sharon walking along the tracks looking at the train ;)

I love this - can you imagine driving down the road and seeing this - AWESOME!

Callie enjoyed sitting on the engine.  Actually, she didn't want to get off.  She was mad at us when we had to take her off.  She kept saying "Choo Choo!"

Family photo Op on the Holiday Train 2011 :)

Before school/day care one morning, Callie was hamming it up for us.  I pulled out the camera and she instantly said, "CHEESE!"  I love this picture of her :)

Austin's Early Childhood Center has a very fun "Santa's Workshop" every year for children.  Daddy had late basketball practice, so Mommy and Callie went to it :)  She saw Santa and was VERY excited to see him.  She needed bribery of a sucker to sit on his lap, but was still so happy to see him!  She kept saying "Santa"

Actually her picture was taken and she was put on the front page of the Austin Post Bulletin :)  YEAH!  2nd year in a row :)

She was able to pick out a book, wrap it, and she gave it to her friend Trenton at daycare :)

Writing Trenton's name!

They had some crafts.  One of them was shaving cream, food coloring and a lunch sac.  She made her own gift bag :)  They also had wreathes for children to make their own ornament.  She did a great job decorating her own wreathe.

What activity wouldn't involve decorating a treat :)  YUMMY  She loves frosting so's crazy :)

She loved the little chairs and all the "little" people that were there.  She is going to fit in with preschool eventually.  I think she'd go now if I let her...but I'm not ready for that!

Daddy had an away game in Rochester.  Callie and I didn't go, so we decorated a gingerbread house instead!  She helped "squish" the frosting to get it all ready!

Every time I put the frosting on our gingerbread house, little miss's fingers would sneak in there and take the frosting right off and put it in her mouth :)

Yup, more interested in just eating the frosting than decorating :)

She did a nice job putting the candies on her house.  She snuck a couple of them in her mouth, but honestly, it's part of the fun :)

I love this cheesy smile of her showing off her beautiful gingerbread house :)  She did so well!  It sits on our kitchen table, and almost every night at dinner, she points to it with a smile on her face :) Show knows!

On December 17th, Josh, Callie & I drove up to the cities to spend the day/night with his mom, Larry and cousin Natalie.  Every year, we would have seen Natalie and her family on Christmas Eve, but now that Grandma & Grandpa Barsness moved to CA, we won't get together for Christmas.  The live in Baudette, MN, so it's a bit of a drive.  We spent the day downtown Minneapolis :)

We went to Macy's 8th floor to their "A Day in the Life of an Elf" exhibit!  I used to go to this EVERY YEAR when I was growing up, so I was so excited to show Callie :)

I think she really enjoyed it too!  She was looking at everything so intently, wide eyes, pointing and smiling :)  It was awesome :)

Picture with Daddy!

I was setting her up for a cute picture.  It turns out that the moment I pulled away, Callie wanted to take off and climb the display...good thing I'm fast :)

I did manage one picture of her though!

Callie with her cousin Natalie!!!  Well, second cousin, but who's counting!

How hard it must be for a child, because I wanted to climb around and play with everything!  Everything was the perfect height for a toddler, they seriously should consider opening it up to good kids (ours!).

Cheese!  I love how her little personality is starting to come out more and more :)  She gives us the silliest smiles :)

Josh, Callie, Natalie and I admiring the display :)

We went for dinner downtown and then waited for the Holidazzle Parade to begin :)  Callie was fascinated by the big buildings...little did she realize what was coming :)  

My sweetie :)  I realized we hadn't had a picture taken of the two of us in a REALLY long time!

Checking out the lights down yonder...waiting...just waiting!

Family photo waiting for the awesome :)

This one was my personal favorite - Gingerbread house :)  I want Josh to decorate OUR house like this next year :) :)

A holiday train with "animals" inside!  Kids dressed as animals :)  So cute!

Grandma and Callie cuddling with each other afterwards, keeping warm and fighting through the crowds!

When we got back, Natalie had a Christmas present for Callie - so sweet!  She was so excited to have it :)

A Goldy Gopher Pillow Pet :)  PERFECT!!  She loves it!

Callie and Natalie with her Gopher :)

On Sunday morning, Josh and I took Callie to what might be the FUNNEST THING EVER!!!  Color Me Mine in Eagan had a "painting with Santa" morning.  We paid a flat rate, and Callie was able to participate in the following activities:

Having her hand painted to go on a plate that ALSO had SANTA'S HANDPRINT!!!

This is beyond awesome :)  His hand was "pre-painted", because he of course had on his white gloves the whole time :)

Because we had to sign up for this event, there wasn't that many people in there!  Santa walked around from table to table, talking to all of the children!  He even signed her plate "Santa" - AWESOME!  Then we used Callie's finger to do finger prints around the entire outside of her plate :)

She also got to paint two ornaments!  We picked out some Christmas colors, gave her a paint brush and let her have at it :)  She has painted a million times with us at home, so she knew exactly what she was doing :)  She kept saying "Paint, paint"!!!

I love her messy hand here!  This is going to be a BEAUTIFULLY painted ornament :)  It's supposed to have a reindeer somewhere on there...she painted right over it :)

Her second ornament was a snowman, so we started with some white paint :)  I love this picture where Santa was leaning in talking to her!!!  This was seriously so fun!  I would pay to do this EVERY YEAR!  Only downside is we'd have a new plate EVERY year...but I guess what's okay :)

She was concentrating so hard at painting her ornament!

Here is a picture of her finished products!  They are currently still at Color Me Mine (we pick them up tomorrow...YEAH) because they have to put them in the kiln to fire the paint onto the ceramic :)  I can't wait to put cookies on her plate this year :) :)

After she was all cleaned up, we headed over to the back of the store for more fun :)  Decorating COOKIES!  Again, she loves the frosting!  I was laughing so hard, because we'd put frosting on her cookie and she'd lick it right off!

These next three pictures are in a series - the first is the load of sprinkles, the 2nd is what she does with them, and the 3rd is the after picture :) was so hilarious to watch :)

HEHE!  I love her little red sprinkle beard :)  Santa came by for another picture :)  He talked to Callie about the cookies she had decorated and was exited to eat them on Christmas Eve!  I think the sugar kicked in by this point, because Callie was ALL SMILES!  She was saying "CHEESE" here...I love that her eyes were glued shut from the force of her smile :)

And here we got one with her eyes open :)

After cookie decorating, we headed over to ANOTHER table!  Here Callie made Reindeer food :)  Oatmeal, cheerios and red sprinkles (we probably could have scraped them off of her face!!)  She had a blast reaching in, grabbing a handful, dumping it in the bag, and then shaking it :)

She was dancing around the shop shaking her bag of reindeer food :)  Too cute!

At last, it was time to go.  After an hour and forty-five minutes of fun, laughter and awesome memories, it was time to let our sugar baby head home!  She crashed and slept the whole way (so did mom)...

When we got home, Daddy was tired, Callie was still they relaxed on the couch while watching Elmo :)

And then the after effects of the sugar...a temper tantrum :)  Poor girl!  Awesome day, just haven't figured out how to work with sugar in our bodies yet :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the McRae's!!!!!

Stay tuned for our Christmas Weekend :)

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