Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making New Memories

It's that time of year again ~ Christmas just around the corner, Santa Claus coming to town soon, holidays, gatherings with family and friends, gifts, enjoying a few days from the normal routine, etc. I absolutely love this time of year, and as time passes, I love this season even more. The kids get a little taller each year, get a little smarter, and yes, another year older. Children don't stay little forever so I want to make the most of it while I can watching them grow up!

This year we experimented with a couple new things that may become our traditions. First thing, there is a Santa train that passes through our neighboring town on a Friday each year. I have always heard about it and thought it sounded neat, but decided that this was the year we were going to experience it for the first time. Luckily the day that it was due to arrive was my scheduled day off from work so after school, we loaded up in the car and off we went. We arrived 1 1/2 hours before it's scheduled arrival time because I knew the line would be long. And I'm glad we did! We were about 30 people back in line so I knew we'd get a good view of it when it came pulling up on the track. I saw some friends of mine and chatted with a few here and there while waiting in line. My girls found a friend of theirs they have known since she was a baby so they were running around with her. What was super nice about the place we saw the train is that it was located at the fire station. They set up lines to wait inside for the train so we weren't out in the cold. And what made it ever better was the hot chocolate and cookies they served each person. Even though I ended up wearing half of my 6 year old daughter's hot chocolate, it was all the well worth it.

The train arrived about 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule which was fabulous! I had no idea it would be as long as it was. What I was thinking would be 1-2 train cars turned into at least 5-6 (I couldn't count them all). The girls faces lit up as bright as the stars in the sky when they saw the Santa train. Then all of a sudden all of these cartoon and storybook characters started to climb out of the train. They were circling the crowd and dancing with each other and interacting with the kids. Buzz Lightyear even pulled my oldest daughter out and started dancing with her! It was amazing to see the inside of the train and the kids just loved seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus. The time inside the train was only about 10 minutes but so worth the long wait! Because when we left the line was wrapped around outside of the building and those poor folks had at least a 2 hour wait.

After the neat train episode, it was time to decide on dinner. There was a little cafe just down the street that I have passed for 31 years but never stopped in there. I asked my girls if they wanted to try something new and they were excited about that. Little did I know that they were closing about 5 minutes after we entered the restaurant. I noticed it was half full when we got there but within about 15 minutes, everyone has cleared out. I apologized to our waitress and she was so sweet and glad that we came in. She told us it was no problem and to take our time. It was a cute little place that served homemade food. I do believe we will be going back sometime!

The Santa train we finally got to see:

My girls with Santa & Mrs. Claus:

Girls with the Snowman:

Making New Memories ~ Part 2

I have always wanted to host a Christmas cookie exchange party. I decided this year I was going to do just that! I asked my oldest daughter if she wanted to help me because she loves helping to plan stuff like that. "Did you say cookies Mom? Cookies?? Why, of course, Mom, I'd love to!" That child would turn into a cookie if I would let her! So we set the date, time and sent out the invitation. We only invited a few ladies who lived close by, mainly our good friends and family. I must say I love hosting parties but they can be alot of work. Clean the house, make sure the kids keep the house clean, clean some more, bake the goodies, prepare the finger foods, get the drinks ready, etc. I love, love, love hosting events but it can sometimes take many hours/days to get ready for fun that only lasts for 2 hours. All was set and the guests started arriving as scheduled, with the exception of the grandmas who arrived early but that was fine. Each person brought in their yummy goodies. There were peanut butter blossoms, more peanut butter blossoms, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, no bake cookies, peppermint cookies, cereal balls with white chocolate, gingerbread women men, different types of fudge, snickerdoodles, the list goes on and on...

The kids decided to play in the girls rooms while the ladies mingled and chatted. There was Christmas music playing, candles burning, and the feel of happiness and Christmas in the air. I can say our Christmas cookie exchange was a huge success and I think we have found our annual event to do again next year! After all, how could you not want to make one dessert and then bring some of each of these home??

We are making new memories each year that comes and goes. I love the feel of the holidays and the feel that is in the air during Christmas time. And I love the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas. I have taught my girls that Jesus's birthday is on Christmas Day. Without Jesus who died for our sins, who knows what this world would be like? I do not want to know what this world would be like without Jesus or God. Because without Him, we would not exist, or be who we are today. Thank you Jesus for the many blessings you have given the world. And for that, I cannot wait to celebrate your birthday in just a few days. Merry Christmas to all!

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