This was a good Christmas season. Even though we didn't have an Advent bag to open everyday, we still packed in all of our favorite activities, as well as some new stuff.
As usual, there was the Christmas parade.
Frosty and Santa were there on the fire truck, just like always:
And of course, everyone's favorite Christmas character, Ronald McDonald. ???!!! What the heck?! So creepy.
Daphne and I had a camp-out by the tree one night.
This year, we were invited to our friend's winery where we got to see the Loudoun Hunt Club hounds and horses. And Santa.
This was one of the coolest things ever. Especially for Daphne. She didn't even really care that Santa was there. It was all about the dogs. I have never seen her so completely full of joy. She was really sad when they were paraded back to the kennel. But then she got some cider and a candy cane, and all was better.
It was extra special, because Grandma and Grandpa were here visiting, and they got to go with us. We had a nice visit. We were too tired to make our traditional batches and batches of real cookies, but we made one batch of slice-and-bake-chocolate-chip-embellished-with-Reeces-peanut-butter-cups cookies that we happened to see on Pioneer Woman. Thank you, Pioneer Woman. So easy and tasty. Make Cookies with Grandma - CHECK!
There was a rousing game of HeadBandz, which Daphne and I won handily because Grandma and Grandpa were pretty terrible at it, and Kev...well...
...Kev was a unicorn. Which is really hard to guess.
There were lots of nice gifts from Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Jeff. But it was weird not to have Jeff and the puppies there with us. Especially since it was his birthday. People should really all be together on people's birthdays. Daphne got tons of American Girl stuff, and I got Finch money and Pyrex, and other nice things, and Kev got some gift cards and stuff too. Jeff gave us some CDs and records, including an LP copy of Astral Weeks, my favorite record of all time. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Jeff!
Grandma and Grandpa headed home on Sunday, and we put the final touches on Christmas. Daphne got her letter off to Santa:
We had to email him to make sure he could put us on his "Practice Route." Most people don't know that Santa has a practice route one night early. And if you contact him in time, you can get ON the practice route, just in case you have to, say, drive up to New York on Christmas Day. That way, you can open presents on Christmas EVE morning and play with them all day before you have to head out of town. It's pretty great. It probably helps that Daphne is such good friends with the mayor. But if you ever need more info about the practice route, I can hook you up.
So, on the night before the night before Christmas, we got all of Santa's cookies and milk ready, and carrots for the reindeer, as well as some handmade gifts that Daphne left for Santa:
Kev and Daphne went out and sprinkled the reindeer food on the lawn:
And we went right upstairs to read The Night Before Christmas and get Daphne to bed. And Kevin and I had to get to bed too. But not before we listened to this:
And put this in the attic: