Monday, December 31, 2012

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We started our Christmas decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving, and put the tree up when Mom was here. Ella found the Santa hat we got her when she was a baby in one of the boxes and squeezed it on her head ...perfect fit :)

With her stocking

 Decorating the tree

Setting up her nativity with Grammy

Steve put up lights out back by the pool and it looked so pretty between all the lights from the tree and the backyard lights!

And our lights out front

There is something so beautiful about Christmas lights - I love them so much, I wish we could leave them up all year long :)

Hanging her stocking

Painting an ornament

Box of Christmas goodies from Grampy G

Steve and Ella making their annual gingerbread creation

Lots of pre-Christmas fun around here!

Painting with a Twist

One of my new favorite outings since we've moved here is a place called The Paint Pub where you go and take a painting class and drink wine. I've been twice with friends and had such a fun time, it's the perfect girls night out.

I've been wanting to take Mom when she is here, and I found out there is another place that is just a few minutes away, and they offer Family Classes on the weekends. We decided to give it a try with Ella because she loves painting, and was a really great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Ella did a good job with her painting, and was very happy with the snacks and lemonade!

Artists hard at work

Ella drying her painting (she kept touching it with her whole palm to see if it was dry yet)

Once she was finished, she decided to start writing names of everyone in our family on the back of her painting -- it was inexplicable and just so adorable!

Grammy and Ella with their finished masterpieces

Me and Ella

It was a fun afternoon, although not quite as relaxing as the times before :) - Next time I think Mom and I will leave the little one at home and go for the night out and some wine!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Meeting Santa

Ella's school had a "Cookies with Santa" morning a few Saturdays ago, and we decided do that for our annual Santa trip. I figured it'd be an ideal and comfortable setting, and big bonus to avoid a line at the mall and be able to take our own pictures.

She insisted in dressing in all red for the occasion - she wanted her "Santa's Little Helper" shirt and then I tried to get her to put on some black leggings but she would hear nothing of it, and wanted to be in all red. She also needed red socks to complete her look.

She made a picture for Santa that morning

The event was from 9am-12pm, but the morning kind of got away from us, and by the time we got there, it was about 11:40 am. This ended up working out perfectly because there were just a few of us there, and no one came after, so Ella got some good quality time with Santa.

She was shy at first but did sit on his lap and gave us an obligatory smile for some photos

He gave her a candy cane and she got a few cookies, worked up some confidence and asked me to get her picture out of the car. This time she walked right up to him to give him the picture and explain it to him. He was so sweet with her, it was really adorable.

She had plenty of questions for him, including "Do you go to North Carolina?" and "What kind of cookies are your favorite?" (his answer "chocolate chip" and she said "OHHH, just like last year!")

It was such a good Santa visit, I was so happy it worked out the way that it did!

Later that day a firetruck came through the neighborhood with another Santa (definitely a LOT less authentic and seemed to be traveling with his family on board) and threw some candy off the truck for the kids on the streets.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Festival of Lights

Mom came to visit a few weekends before Christmas, and we went to Galveston to Moody Gardens' Festival of Lights one night. It was really beautiful, supposedly one million lights on display -- quite a sight to see.

Bethlehem and the Nativity Scene


Sea creatures right on the beach!
Ship of lights with a real ship lit-up in the background
Mom, Ella and I

Ella loved this performer and his 'fire tricks' - she proudly got to hand him the bicycle wheel during the show for one of his tricks. 
Beautiful trees

Grammy and Ella 

Attempt at a family picture :)

Picture Post

A bunch of catch-up pictures from the last month or so --

Sleeping angel...I am forever charmed by her sweetness when she is fast asleep :)

Ready for picture day at school

Jake had his birthday party at the Fire Station Museum in downtown Houston the week before Thanksgiving. This is my new favorite picture of Ella and Steve together.

Ella sliding down the fire pole

I had the really neat opportunity to go to a meeting at the White House, and it was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

And the Military tree

Beautiful view out the window

Washington Monument in the distance

Ella doing "a science experiment" in the kitchen

Getting a "makeover" at a friend's birthday party

She wanted to do the card completely herself and told me it would be a surprise - here is her handiwork :)

Really pretty sky on my flight home from NC a few weeks ago