We had a relatively low key December, but we did plan a few fun things to get us in the holiday spirit. One Saturday I announced that we were going to go out to lunch and then go see the Christmas tree at the capitol building. We ate at The Great Dane, which has delicious burgers, and Megan decided that she liked the smell of Ben's beer. She didn't want to taste it, but she thought it smelled delicious. Amelia, however, thought it smelled vile. I guess I know which child I'll have to watch out for in ten years (as if that is a surprise to anyone).
Nathaniel was thrilled to watch the train underneath the huge Christmas tree. In fact, everyone liked the train so much that I decided I ought to just take a photo of everyone's backs. The ornaments on the tree are made by school children throughout the state; this year's ornaments were sports themed. We went up to the second level to see the tree from higher up and look at all the various holiday decorations - a Nativity scene, a menorah, a Kwanzaa candle setup, and a festivus pole (the kids were so confused by that, but Ben thought it was hilarious). We decided that the tree was not quite as large as the one last year. They were setting up chairs for a Christmas brass concert, which would have been fun to listen to, but there was no way we were going to be able to wait another hour for it to start.
Amelia lost two more teeth in December, her top lateral incisors, within a three day period. The tooth fairy brought her a dollar bill for the first one, and then a handful of random change that added up to $1.96 for the second one. The poor tooth fairy had a $2 bill for the next lost tooth, but she stashed it away so well that now she can't find it. So she had to take a little break from the lessons about various denominations about money. Amelia asked for the first time why some kids in her class get $5 for each lost tooth when she gets much less.
The children's director at church organized a Christmas caroling party one evening, so I took the girls for about 45 minutes. We walked around one street right near the church and sang to a few people. Lots of people weren't home, but the people who were home seemed to enjoy it. The kids didn't get discouraged about all the empty houses, they actually really liked singing to the dogs who would come bark at the windows.
I had bought tickets to the Nutcracker for the weekend that Mom and Dad were supposed to come; since they didn't make it, we invited one of Amelia's friends to come with us. Everyone enjoyed the performance, although I think they were all getting a little bored by the middle of the second act, since there wasn't really any story line to speak of by that point. During intermission, some of the first act dancers came out and posed for pictures with the audience. Amelia was the only one who wanted her picture taken with the girl who danced Clara. Nobody wanted their picture taken with the mouse king, although I thought that would have been really cool! I loved going to see the Nutcracker again!
Ben took off the entire week of Christmas, but the girls still had to go to school Monday through Wednesday, so we took Nathaniel to see the trains at Olbrich Botanic Gardens by himself. He LOVED it. The train setup is much smaller than either the St. Louis or Chicago Botanic Gardens setups; it had two different train tracks that ran short loops with Lego scenes in the background. But Nathaniel could have watched it for hours. In fact, I think we spent about an hour just in that one small room, walking back and forth between the different trains.
He didn't want to be taken away from the trains to get his picture taken with Daddy:
And he got really mad when we had to leave to pick the girls up from school.