We had such a fun and magical Christmas season this year! Ellie is at the best age and Fitz definitely played off of her enthusiasm. We kicked everything off with the Nutcracker this year. Mimi invited Ellie and I for a date and Fitz hung out with uncle Micah. I was a little nervous taking a just barely 3 year old to the ballet, but she LOVED it. She sat in her seat enthralled the whole time and was so sad for it to be over. It was a hit with our little ballerina for sure. We spend the rest of the month reading, playing, and listening to the Nutcracker. Ellie loved pretending to be Clara or the sugarplum fairy. She also got a kick out of the fact that her brother's name is Fitz and Clara's brother's name is Fritz. Basically a match made in heaven.
I especially loved church during the month of December. Focusing on the birth of Christ and the spirit of the season does wonders for me. I'm so thankful to be a member of this church and our wonderful ward with, with so many good teachers. Ellie also savored the Sundays in December because they were her last in nursery. We're so thankful for her wonderful nursery leaders making it such a happy experience for her. Fitz, you're next buddy!
The first Monday in December we had James, Melinda, and their girls over for a small Christmas kick-off. We watched the Grinch, ate some Christmas snacks, and had the kids open some matching jammies. They loved running around together and then cuddling for the movie. The Grinch ended up being the solid frontrunner for favorite Christmas movie in our house this year. Also, I do have to note that I am so proud of these fruity Grinches that I made for the party. I'm not the best domestic goddess, so things like this are a major win, plus they were delicious.
We got our annual Fotofly pictures with Santa again this year. This is probably one of my most favorite traditions and this year J.rue was able to join us and dress up as Santa. I will admit that he's a much better Santa than I ever was. I think he'll be joining us every year...until my youngest is at least 18 (sorry Ellie!). I can't believe Ellie was flying solo just 2 Christmases before this! I love watching our family grow. Once you see the pictures below, yes J.rue does has a pedo mustache on his face. It lasted for about 48 hours, before that he grew his beard out all of November. Needless to say, it was pretty shocking. Also, random Santa picture fact, Ellie has worn that bow in her hair for all of our Santa pictures. I love it! And I'm also wondering how long I'll be able to pull that off. The kids were pretty it was good getting their pictures taken and were rewarded with cookies and Moana after. We're obsessed with the music from Moana, and Fitz just can't get over that Maui.
Ellie was an extra big helped this year with decorating. I'm telling you, this girl lives and breathes for Christmas. She's still asking (at the end of January) if Christmas is coming again tomorrow. She loved having her pink Christmas tree up and this banner is her pride and joy. It's actually still hung up on her door. The crown jewel of our Christmas decor was Puff our Christmas elf. The good behavior that he pulled out of my children was amazing. Ellie made sure to always include Fitz in whatever she way playing and Fitz would even sit still for his diaper changes (miracles!) when I would ask him where Puff was. There were a lot of sweet moments. He was a bit of a lazy elf this year and liked to sleep through the night with us, so he mostly did his traveling during nap times.
My mom and I always do one HUGE shopping day in December. This year we dragged J.rue and the kids with us for half of it so that we could go and visit Santa and Mrs. Clause while they were staying at Farmington Station. We hit the jackpot and didn't have to wait for a second. We walked right in, and Ellie walked right up to Santa. She couldn't even handle her excitement. I was worried about Fitz because when Ellie was his age, sitting on Santa's lap did not go over well, at all! But, Fitz surprised us and snuggled right up to Mrs. Clause. Ellie spent about 5 minutes going over her list, asking where Rudolph was (Santa said he was in a hanger at the airport), and touching his sparkly beard. Once she was finished telling Santa all her secrets, they were handed yet another delicious cookie and we all walked out of there happy as can be! After that, my mom and I took off for some much-needed shopping time and didn't even make it home until 11 PM. I think we shopped for 13.5 hours or something, definitely a record-breaker. The only pictures I got was of our dessert that we made a pit stop for. Oh my heavens, it was delicious! It was a fudge cake with strawberry compote. Go there! Get that!
The Sunday before Christmas we headed down to Kearns for Grandma Bernella's annual Christmas party. The kids loved running around with all of their cousins and we loved eating the delicious food and visiting with family that we don't get to see often enough. As per tradition, the cousins put on the nativity while the story was read. By the grace of her kindest cousins, Ellie somehow managed to snag the part of Mary, which she took very seriously. It meant so much to her. Cute Brookie Jayde was the angel and Kendall was the flying Christmas unicorn. It is NEVER a Smith family nativity without that Christmas unicorn. We missed Gary, Lisa, and Tori and are so excited to have them join us next year. It's just not the same without them. The adorable Christmas outfits below are compliments of Nana and Papa.
We decorated SO many cookies over the month of December! We met up with some cute friends one day and then went to Mimi's house another. We ate ourselves sick (ok, mostly me) and had a great time visiting. While we were at my mom's house, she allowed Fitz to get up on the table and stuff his face with cookie dough to his little heart's content. He was in heaven and we need all the sugary goodness we can get into this kid to help him put on the weight!
The week before Christmas we headed down to SLC to J.rue's Christmas kid party. It is SO nice to have him downtown now instead of up at the U. I think we can get to his office in less than 20 minutes now. Ellie was obsessed with the huge Christmas tree in the lobby of his building. She climbed up on that stool and said "mom! picture please!". The Christmas party of lots of fun. They had gobs of kids food, a photo booth, a candy counter, a bear making factory, and Ellie's personal favorite, face painting. We had to wait in line for a little bit, which gave her plenty of time to devise the perfect face painting creating. She decided that she wanted to be a rainbow cheetah, and and rainbow cheetah she would be! I about died watching her look in the mirror for the first time. Her grin went from ear to ear.
We spent Christmas Eve in Ogden with my mom and brothers. We reveled in this because Cale left 3 days later. No one wanted to cook or clean up so instead of our usual bread bowls and soup we went to eat at Lee's Mongolian. It was delicious and so nice to just sit and visit...and then not clean up or do dishes! After we headed home, made some gingerbread houses and got ready to make our special delivery.We take a box of food and gifts to a family in need each year and Ellie had been helping me shop for everything. She actually had a bit of a hard time because we were shopping for a few girls her age and she didn't want to give away the toys we had bought for them. After lots of long talks she decided that giving the toys away is what Jesus wanted her to do and she was so excited to play Santa. I loved watching her work through everything and become so excited about giving to someone else. After the delivery, we headed back to Bountiful with my mom and brothers. We did another nativity, which Ellie single-handedly produced. She'd been talking all week about who would play who. She, of course, was Mary, Fitz was baby Jesus, Cale was Joseph, Micah and Jeremy were wise men, and I was the angel. She was in heaven, especially because I'm pretty sure she would marry Uncle Cale if we'd allow it. We started a new tradition this year and had the kids open up their gifts from each other. Ellie got Fitz a toy remote and Fitz got Ellie a toy phone. They were so excited. Christmas with kids is THE BEST. After they were both tucked into bed (which much convincing thanks to the Google Santa Tracker) we quickly set up Christmas and watched Christmas Vacation and I think I was in bed by 12:30, a Christmas miracle.
Christmas morning we woke up to the most beautiful blanket of snow. White Christmases are the things good stuff is made of. We had hung the sheet up (which I forgot to get a picture of, dang it!) and we dropped it bright and early so that Ellie could see what Santa brought her before we whisked her away to church. She had starry eyes all morning and kept saying, "Santa did such a good job!" Again, not enough pictures dang it! I think I was too busy filming. After the initial present opening my mom and Jeremy went outside to shovel us out of our driveway and we quickly got ready and went to church. I double love when Christmas is on a Sunday. It keeps the spiritual perspective and lifts you for rest of the day. Once we got home we opened the rest of our gifts and had waffles for breakfast. Soon after, everyone passed out for naps and my mom and brothers headed home. Sadly our Christmas evening did not go as planned. Jeremy, Ellie, and I spent the whole evening throwing up, so that sucked. But, we quickly recovered and have vowed to never be sick on Christmas, ever again.
Even with the sickness, the whole season was so magical and we enjoyed every second of it. Even though we spent the next week like this boy below...but that's what you do between Christmas a new year's, right?