Picking out a Christmas tree with Marmee and Da
We worked hard to read books about the Christmas story all season long, and soon, she knew all of the characters in the pictures. She knew about baby Jesus, and Mary, and Joseph. (And yes, she also knew who Santa was from pictures in the book.) The Christmas story is an important part in her development of knowing Christ as her Savior, so we tried to keep the focus where it truly belongs.
Reading The Night Before Christmas
We also did have lots of fun celebrating the silly things of the season. We watched a Christmas Elmo dvd over and over and OVER. She loved all of the songs and dances. She also fell in love with Disney's "Santa Paws" movie. (If I never see that one again, it will be too soon. Ha!) Elysen wore her reindeer Christmas pjs and "helped" me wrap (and unwrap) presents.
Tree shopping with Daddy's family
I was still very worn out and somewhat sick with this pregnancy, so my usual decorating and festivity was somewhat dimmed. But our baby girl certainly added new life to the season. One morning, I was laying on the couch resting while Elysen watched "Sesame Street". I suddenly heard the "crackle crackle" of wrapping paper being torn open. I looked down and one of Uncle Charlie's gifts was sitting under the tree completely unwrapped....but the paper was no where to be found. I checked the trash can in the kitchen and there it was, sitting on top. She hadn't tried to open the gift or play with it, she just knew that the paper was meant to be taken off. And she knew that when we take off paper, we throw it away. I laughed so hard and immediately called David to tell him what she had done. (Then I spent a minute asking her not to open any more presents...).
Elysen's gift from Santa was a Sesame Street kitchen and she LOVES it. She has so much fun "cookin" for us all. She also got an Abby Cadabby tea set that has been very popular. Santa also brought her an alphabet puzzle so she can work on recognizing her letters.
We spent Christmas morning at our house. Dan and Janna were staying with us, but Elysen woke up early, so it was just our little family of 3 celebrating Santa and opening presents to each other. Then the rest of the Savage clan came over for presents and brunch. We wanted to hurry and head to Tyler because a big storm was supposed to be headed our way.
We had no idea what a big deal that storm would end up being. We left the house around 1 p.m. By the time we got to Ft. Smith, it was snowing and sleeting a little. We decided not to go up the mountain and into Oklahoma (where the storm was supposedly worse), but instead to continue headed south through Arkansas. Well, 5 hours later, we pulled into Mena driving a painfully slow 20 miles an hour and looking for any hotel with a room. David was scared to death driving his toddler and his pregnant wife through all that snow and ice - and I don't blame him. We trudged through the snow to our room and spent Christmas night in Mena, Arkansas eating gas station burritos and the sausage balls I'd made for our time in Tyler....ahh, memories.
SO MUCH SNOW! (Probably over 10 inches!)
Thank goodness for the Sun Country Inn
Playing with her new toys in the hotel room
The next day, we were able to make it out of Mena and though it was slow going, we finally made it to Tyler. The bad roads didn't go away until we were well across the TX state line. Clearly, the storm was much worse than anyone anticipated.
Once we were in Tyler, we had so much fun opening gifts and seeing family. We got to see Brittany and Aunt Beji, and we went to Mt. Pleasant to see all of the Burkharts. Elysen had a blast seeing everyone and playing with her new toys.
It was quite the Christmas to remember, but I wouldn't have traded one second of it. We have some amazing (and funny) memories from our holiday season. Next year will be so different with Judah, so we wanted to take advantage of our last Christmas as a family of 3. We are so blessed, and so thankful for the safety and the fun that God provided for us this Christmas.