Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Nathan. We hope you visit often and enjoy experiencing our son's journey as much as we do. Please feel free to leave comments.

We love hearing from everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A December To Remember....

This has truly been an amazing month, filled with the love of friends, family and the Spirit of Christmas.  It was our first Christmas in our new home and we certainly spent a great deal of time time decking the halls!

We began our Christmas season with a gingerbread house and tree decorating party!  We had so much fun kicking off the season with a few friends and family. 

 Everyone helped decorate our 10' white pine tree ~ it was certain done with lots of 'spirits' and Christmas love.

The finished product was simply gorgeous!
 After we eat pizza and finished the Christmas tree, it was time to decorate the gingerbread houses and trains with the kids.  If you've ever embarked on this type of holiday tradition, you know how much children reaaly enjoy this type of project.  Who doesn't love frosting, tons of different candy and being able to use your creative juices to construct your own Christmas palace! 

The finished products!!  A beautiful Christmas Village
Unfortunately, Nathan didn't have a nap, so he fell fast asleep before the gingerbread decorating began, but we saved him lots of supplies to work on his very own Christmas train.

This very well may be incorporated into our annual Christmas cookie exchange cocktail party next year, so everyone can partake in the fun - together.    

Brunch with Santa at McGrievy's in Waterford has become a tradition in our home for the past two years, since Nathan now knows who Ho Ho is.  This year, we were blessed to enjoy our morning with Nathan's cousin Lily and her little friend, Alex.  The food was great and the kids had a great time visiting with Santa and receiving their first gift of the season.  

Our next Christmas adventure featured hot chocolate and the Polar Express!! Nathan is such a huge fan of trains, this was a must-do activity again this year. We went on the Polar Express in Utica last year, but were less than thrilled with the long drive (3-hours round trip), long train ride (2-hours) and cold chocolate rather than hot, so this year had to be different.  For the second season in a row, the Polar Express is offered in Saratoga, which is super close to home and last year I was unable to purchase tickets because I waited to long.  Not this year.  Although, I waited long enough that we were only able to buy dome seats for a Thursday evening, but I wanted those seats becasue it's like sitting in a booth at a restaurant rather than a regular train seat.  If you are taking this train, buy the dome seats, so worth it, but hard to get, so purchase your tickets early!

We had a great time on this train!  We brought pizza and enjoyed dinner on the train.  Our fellow passengers were wondering where their pizza was and the conductor said, we were the second family he saw bring a pizza on the train! It was dinner-time and the kids needed to eat! :-)  We played holiday trivia, read stories, sang Christmas carols (jingle bells - Nathan's favorite Christmas song), drank hot and delicious coco served in our very own Polar Express mugs, ate a yummy sugar cookie with sprinkles, visited the North Pole and had a wonderful visit from Santa and his elf, Snowflake!  Saratoga does it right!  Althoug, I'm not one bit surprised.  We will certainly do this again next year and dome seats are a must!  I've already put a reminder in my 2013 calendar, so we can order them early and get a weekend date.

Nathan enjoyed liking the sprinkles off his cookie!

Our next Christmas adventure was our annual Christmas party with my side of the family.  We usually rotate homes and this year we offered our home and planned a really fun day!  We began with a family card game tradition ~ three/thirteen (it's sort of like rummy).  Every adult in our family knows how to play this game because we played it a lot growing up, so we thought it would be super fun to play as adults while the kids made some fun Christmas projects with Miss Cole. 
BTW, Emily beat us all!!!

When it comes to Christmas projects, I really try to choose something meaningful - that we'll enjoy for years to come.  I'm really proud of this years' selections!!  We made hand print snowman Christmas tree ornaments, paper snowflakes in memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary victims and hand print Rudolf the reindeer hats.

These ornaments were super easy and turned out absolutely adorable!  With just some red and green Christmas balls, white fabric paint and markers and you have yourself a personalized keepsake ornament.  The kid's hands are painted with white fabric paint and then they grasp the ornament, leaving behind their hand print, which is used to make the snowmen.  Thank you Miss Cole for all your work on these ornaments ~ we love them!!  
The next project was: Snowflakes for Sandy Hook.  The elementary school's PTA is constructing a Winter Wonderland at the school for the children's return on January 12th, and they've asked people to make paper snowflakes to hang everywhere in the school, so it looks like a winter wonderland and because no two snowflakes are alike.

We even asked the adults to make a snowflake and they came out awesome!  My 80+ year old grandmother even made a snowflake for the children. 

These snowflakes will be mailed tomorrow.
Emily also made everyone their very own paper snowflake placemat!
We sang Christmas carols together while Emily played the piano!

Our greatest Christmas gift this season is this little guy ~ Riley.  Just weeks before this pictures was taken, he underwent open heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect.  Thank you God for bringing him through his surgery and for taking care of his mom and dad during this difficult time.  We pray for his continued progress and health.  

We decided to do something fun and different for dessert this year too ~ a chocolate fountain!
Nathan and most of his boy cousins. 
They were all watching Veggie Tales!

This is the Christmas chair, where everyone opened their grab bag gifts!
Our final festivities began on the night before Christmas with Aunt Sandy and family, who were able to schedule a special visit from the oh-so-busy Santa himself!    

Santa brought Nathan a Harley!! He loves it and so does Daddy!

After we left Aunt Sandy's, we had to get everything ready for Santa to come down our chimney, including test driving the merchandise!  :-)
hahaha Always a kid a heart!

Christmas day was super fun and Nathan had a great time opening and enjoying his gifts and spending time with family.

When Nathan blew his recorder for the first-time he said, "choo choo."

dancing with Rockin Mickey

Mickey playing the guitar and bongos!

Thanks Aunt D.! Nathan can't wait to play his piano!

Love you Lily!

Grammie opening her hand print snowman ornament!  The gifts of Christmas are meant to be shared.
 We certainly had a December to remember and are looking forward to bringing in the new year,  especially considering a certain little someone is about to turn five years old!!!  I can't believe it!

Stay tuned....