Our holiday season was packed with fun, and I didn't even have time to post pictures until now! Here are a few of the things we did in December of 2011...
On the evening of the 2nd, we went to Luminaria, our town's tree-lighting ceremony. Ben got to visit with Santa:
Emmalie and I performed several carols with the high school choir and our Community Choir:
All lit up!
Just a few of the luminaries around town that night:
On the 3rd, Emmalie and I attended the WELCA Christmas luncheon at church. The theme was "Come to the Manger":
Once again, the Palatine High School choirs performed for us, and once again, they were incredible!
Later that day, the five of us went to Home Depot and picked out our Christmas tree, a frasier fir this time:
That evening, we decorated it:
Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the tree when it was finished that night. Just a few days later, one whole string of our lights stopped working, so this is how it looked the rest of the month... not nearly as bright as it had been!
Our nativity set... after Nick added a hyena, a panda, a koala, and a giant squid!
I did my annual photo shoot with the kids, and ended up sending this photo in our Christmas cards:
I really like this one, too, though:
On the 15th, the high school hosted its annual Seasonal Serenade, with performances by the orchestra, the band, the guitar choir, and both vocal choirs. They were all very good! For this number, the orchestra played while the Chamber Choir and the Chorale sang. Emm is standing in the back, just to the right of the middle tree:
The Chamber Choir. Emm is in the front row, second from the right:
Emm after the show, standing by the sleigh that she painted for the occasion:
That night, Emm and I finished up some teacher gifts. She painted these clipboards:
And I painted one for Ben's teacher. (Ben and I also bought some new glue sticks and dry erase markers for the classroom.)
On the 16th, I attended the Kindergarten class holiday party. One of the students gave everyone a new coloring book, and they all had fun coloring in those!
Playing Duck Duck Goose:
Ben with his teacher:
On the 17th we finally got a little bit of snow. (We did get a dusting one other day before this.) Nick and Ben went out to play in it before it all melted away:
On December 18th, the Youth Drama Team performed during the 9 and 10:30am church services. It was Ben's first speaking role ~ he played one of the innkeepers, and had this one line, "Sorry, we're overbooked! Everyone's in town for the census." He practiced it so many times, and did an awesome job during his performances! :)
That afternoon, we returned to church for the Gingerbread House Event. We had a great time making ours! Nick fashioned a toilet out of a marshmallow and put it inside the house, LOL:
The finished product:
Emm designed and created the chimney, using bits of caramel and Tootsie Rolls:
That night, we surprised the kids by taking them to Brookfield Zoo for their Holiday Magic event. There were lots of cool lights!
We saw a few animals, too. The kids loved petting this snake:
A laser show:
We saw some pretend animals, too. (Emm had painted her face at the Hamill Family Play Zoo.)
On the 22nd, the kids helped me make snowball cookies and painted eggnog cookies. (And also some fudge and marble bark!)
That night, they left some cookies and eggnog out for Santa (plus carrots for the reindeer), since he was coming to our house a few days early!
Dec. 23rd... Santa came!
Santa even brought gifts for our pets, Icarus, Gilbert, and Cella:
Emm with all her gifts:
She now has the complete Hogwarts ensemble:
Ben and his presents:
Nick with his gifts:
Later that day, the kids covered big pretzels with chocolate and sprinkles, to give to their grandparents, aunts, and uncles:
On the 24th, we drove to Iowa. We spent Christmas Day at Mom and Dad's, along with Christine, Leah, Fran, and Nathan:
Ben with one of his favorite people, Leah:
After a delicious Christmas dinner, we went for a walk around Ada Hayden Park:
As you can see, it was pretty much a brown Christmas... but we did find just enough snow for a snowball fight!
Later that day, we played a trivia game, and Mom gave out prizes:
We also gave Nathan his gifts:
The five of us:
On the 26th, we opened gifts with Mom, Dad, Christine, and Leah:
Then we spent the rest of the day playing games:
We spent the 27th of December with Fran. She took us out to eat for both lunch and supper, took us to see "The Adventures of Tintin", and we also opened gifts with her. (She gave us more presents, even though she'd already given us some at Thanksgiving!)
Then we spent several hours putting together a puzzle:
On the 28th, we went for a hike in Munn Woods with Dad. It sure didn't look like December! I didn't get a good picture, but while we were there, we spied five deer!
We headed back home on the 29th. Then, on the 31st, we drove up to Grayslake to celebrate New Year's with our friends Steve, Karen, David, Timothy, Jason, Tracy, and Rosalie. (Plus some of Steve and Karen's friends.) As always, we had a wonderful time!
Emm with David:
Timothy, peeking around the corner at Nick:
Ben and his buddy David:
Timothy and Nick:
Rosalie and Nick and some reindeer:
Jason and Tracy gave Ben a Cars 2 Wii game:
Steve and Karen gave him a Lightning McQueen Pillow Pet:
Jason and George:
The little kids (and Karen) play Just Dance on the Wii:
Timothy and Karen:
Clink! Happy New Year!
Me and Ben pull a "cracker":
Me and Ben:
Happy 2012, one and all! :)