Due to Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, I had the day after off from work as well. It was really nice to have the extra day with the girls so I took them to the zoo. Occasionally I have the day off and get to take Aspen but with Everly in school it is harder to take her unless we go on the weekend so it was a perfect chance to take them both. I think we may have been the only ones there when we first got there. It was quite but nice. The girls shared donuts in the wagon and we spent a lot of time watching the orangutans interact. One even drew on the glass for Everly. It was really cool. We also saw feeding time at the jaguar exhibit again which is disgusting and cool. The 4D theatre at the Zoo is currently showing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer for a limited time so we also took advantage of that and watched the show. Both girls enjoyed it and we don't use the theatre that often so it was fun. Here are a few pictures and a video from the morning:
We had a great Christmas this year. We woke up and got straight to getting some things ready for breakfast while the girls slept in. They are little angels and we had to wake them up at like 7:30 or we would have been late to breakfast at Justin's sister's house. Justin had offered to make biscuits and gravy for the first time so he had already made the dough and was getting ready to make the gravy and bake the biscuits. I decided to make a little sweet treat because I had seen someone post about this easy cherry cheese Danish shaped like a candy cane. It used crescent rolls and was super easy and turned out really good. Justin's biscuits and gravy also turned out really good. After we woke the girls up we had them open presents from us (Santa). They were so cute and Aspen wanted to open every one of her presents once she unwrapped them. Once we got done with that we headed over to Justin's sister's house to have breakfast with his family. Our niece's son was in town and he is the same age as Aspen so it was really fun for all of them to play together. Breakfast was delicious and we ended up staying there all day. We did not plan to but we just ended up getting caught up and staying. Aspen didn't even take a nap and she was fine. Everly baked muffins with her Aunt Christy and we all just hung out and caught up with each other. We accidentally missed dinner at my sister's but other than that mistake, it was a really great Christmas day with family.
Christmas Eve mass was nuts this year. Our church got so packed so early. I barely got there on time but I was able to get us seats. There was like 18 of us at mass so we take up a large area. The kids actually did pretty good during mass and entertained each other with snacks and coloring. We snuck in some family pictures on the alter before heading home for the rest of our Christmas Eve festivities. We grew up spending Christmas Eve with our cousins and opening presents from Aunts and Uncles so that is what we continue to do after mass. Instead of a full dinner we just put out lots of yummy appetizers and have some of the ridiculous amounts of cookies we made weeks before. The kids had lots of fun opening their presents. Both Everly and Aspen got babies and have been loving them. Everly has actually been playing with a lot of Aspen's toys including a vet kit and an art table. We were tired when we finally got home that night but excited to open up Santa presents the next morning with the girls.
It was really nice that Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year. We decided to take advantage of everyone being off and the great weather and go on a family hike. It had rained early in the week and then was going to rain Saturday night but it was a beautiful rain-free hike. I wore Aspen on my back, Kim wore Cameron, and Katy wore Nora. Everly and Ted both fell and cried at least once and Roi got a few thorns/needles stuck in his paw (which Justin removed) so it was definitely a bit hectic but it is still fun to do things like this as a family. I almost always exercise while the girls are still asleep, especially in the hot summers so it is also really nice to have the girls be a part of that for once. Aspen wanted to get down and walk but then was really excited after she saw a hot air balloon. She just kept watching that balloon the whole hike down. We got bagels after the hike and it was a great start to Christmas Eve.
Last Thursday I was able to leave work a little early to attend Everly's Christmas Party at school. I am so glad I was able to attend. I walked to her class with this boy Tristan's grandmother and she told me a little story. She said that they were playing LIFE at home with Tristan and his piece got married and they asked him who his wife would be and he said Everly! Everly talks about him all of the time but I thought all of the girls liked him so it was cute to hear he likes her too. But also, no. They are too young. Another mom told me her daughter talks about Everly all of the time too so that was cute. Especially because she tends to be a little quiet in class so it is good to hear she is making friends well. It was really cute to watch her interact with her friends and she also sits right next to the infamous Tristan. She decorated an ice cream cone Christmas tree, gave her presents to her teachers, and sang "Must be Santa" with her classmates (video below). It was a fun little afternoon and a great way to start the Christmas weekend.
Hope everyone has an amazing Christmas Day! We will be opening lots of presents and eating lots of food. Thought this would be a great time to share the girls Santa pictures from last weekend. We went with free pictures this year because Aspen HATES Santa. Well, okay I just looked back at pictures from the past 2 years (2015 and 2014) and this was clearly the worst year yet. I don't know how she wasn't crying in the picture from last year, but she wasn't. Everly told Santa that she wants a beach ball (to go with her bathing suit). These two girls! Poor little Aspen and Everly looking perfect! Merry Christmas!
This week we attended our first Story Time at Desert Ridge. They are constantly having events that we can't go to because they are in the middle of the day so it was cool to finally be able to go to one. They had several of these story times for the holidays and they had free cookies and hot chocolate. There was a good crowd and it was really cute. Everly got pretty into the story and it was interactive so they had to listen and participate. Aspen was just along for the ride. They also have characters there and earlier in the month they had Curious George, but last night they had Super Why. I think Everly discovered Super Why on her own on Netflix a couple years ago and we had never heard of it before but apparently he is pretty popular. I only know the girl's name is Wonder Red because someone in line said it (nerd alert). It was cute but once our weekdays get busy again with catechism and soccer I doubt we will be able to go. We really need to get back in the habit of going to story times more with Aspen because we did a lot with Everly and Aspen's speech/language is definitely not where Everly's was! So excited for Christmas Eve tomorrow and to spoil all of the kids!
I love that they put the gym mats down for the kids.