We started the month out with a quick trip to the cities for Mike's work holiday party... since the kids were off school Friday, we were able to head to the Mall of America to see our favorite Santa!
Santa always spends a little time with them... talking about what they want for Christmas & also reminding them the ways they can be good... "helping mom, eating your veggies, sleeping in your own bed"... etc. He rocks!
We've seen this same Santa since Brandon's first Christmas when he was almost 1. He is a Santa that can make the young & old all believe!
Above (2006 - Melanie 6 months, Brandon almost 3)
That same weekend marked our first snowfall...
The kids were both eager to get out & play in it!
Little did we know that this was the only snow we'd see all December... & that it would melt not long after we got it due to a record breaking warm December.
Normally we do our Christmas tree the weekend of Thanksgiving... this year, however, between me having horrible back problems starting that weekend & Mike's crazy work project, we decided to delay decking our halls until the following weekend.
We always do a fun meal on Snowman Day (coined by Mike because it is the day the snowmen take over our house & tree for the month)...
... & crab legs is the crowd favorite!
December is just too short for all the holiday fun to take in... the Christmas specials, the Christmas movies, lots of fun festivities, baking, time with family, parties...
We always take in the caroling night in Minnesota City. There is a program in the historic tiny old Baptist Church which houses the Minnesota City History Center & then we go caroling on a horse drawn wagon through the town.
We squeeze in time for holiday baking, with my helpers.
Grandad (my dad) came for a visit in December & he had a candy treat to make. Melanie was eager to help.
And since there was no snow to play in (last year when Grandad visited, they did lots of snowboarding... not bad for a 70+ yr old grandfather!), so they spent some time putting together a puzzle!
Our first day of break was Thursday, the 22nd... which also happened to be Brandon's birthday! So for something fun, the kids, Grandad & I headed to Rochester to play at The House of Bounce.
Needless to say, the kids had a fun day!
After much deliberation on whether to go out to dinner or have me cook a "favorite" meal, Brandon decided on dinner at home of grilled steaks, baked potatoes & caesar salad plus homemade rocky road ice cream (by request) to go with his cake!
Yes, my kids are carnivores!
We were lucky to have Grandad join us this year, a first for anyone in my family to be in town over his birthday!
And of course, the neighbors... Gram & Grandpa were here...
& Uncle Chris. Even though he lives in Portland, he has helped celebrate just about everyone of Brandon's birthdays since he has normally arrived home for his Christmas visit.
Happy Birthday to our big 8 year old!!!
Christmas update coming next... stay tuned....