Christmas Traditions Start in Ernest

This week has seen the first of many activities that have started to become traditions for our family. We had two main events happen this week. First we had our second annual Christmas Sing Along on Friday and then on Saturday we went out to see the main street Bethlehem exhibit in Burnet.

Last year we started the tradition of having a sing along at our home every Christmas. We invited a bunch of our friends from church and from my work to come over and sing Christmas carols with us. We invite them to bring their children and also to bring something to snack on. This year we had a great time. Some of our friends from church that live a few blocks away showed up first with their kids and we sang a bunch of songs with the kids. They were super energetic and were asking for all the fun songs. It was fun to see them just being happy! We had a few other families show up through the night and had a good time singing together.

Our front room setup for our sing along.

Our front room setup for our sing along.

Saturday night (after a somewhat crazy day) we went out to Burnet, Texas, to see the main street Bethlehem that the First Baptist Church puts on every year. They have a life size Bethlehem built up that’s probably about a half acre in size. They have people selling animals, making rope, paying their taxes to the Romans, etc. It is very crazy and busy (just like it probably actually was.) Every once in a while the shepherds will come in and tell everyone in the town square that Jesus has been born. They’re quickly escorted out by the Roman soldiers. We had told Eliza that we were going to see baby Jesus and she was focused on that the whole time. While we were looking through the town she kept on asking when we were going to see Him. We saw the star over the manger while we were going around and pointed it out to Eliza that that was where Jesus was born. She kept her eyes on that star the whole time. At the end of the streets, they have the stable (actually a cave) where they ask you to be quiet as you look at the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Eliza and James both got to go right up to the stable, as close as they could get, and look at the baby. Eliza was so happy to see Him and James thought it was so neat. We had a great time on our trip even though we got home late from it.

Daddy and Eliza looking at a donkey in Bethlehem

Daddy and Eliza looking at a donkey in Bethlehem

Eliza looking at Baby Jesus

Eliza looking at Baby Jesus

The kids looking at Baby Jesus with Daddy

The kids looking at Baby Jesus with Daddy

Eliza looking at the star on the way out from Bethlehem

Eliza looking at the star on the way out from Bethlehem

James enjoying a cookie after seeing Bethlehem

James enjoying a cookie after seeing Bethlehem

James saying "wowh, wowh, wowh" to the pretty lights.

James saying “wowh, wowh, wowh” to the pretty lights.

In other goings on this week, on Saturday I took Eliza Christmas and grocery shopping. We got some of our last gifts for Sarah. She and I had a fun little daddy-daughter date together. It was good to be able to spend some time alone with her and strengthen our relationship. Sarah and James also had some good bonding time while we were away.

Daddy put a stuffed animal up James's shirt. He thought it was pretty funny.

Daddy put a stuffed animal up James’s shirt. He thought it was pretty funny.

Eliza joined in the fun and stuffed her piglet up her shirt.

Eliza joined in the fun and stuffed her piglet up her shirt.

James is talking more and more all the time. He still doesn’t have any “real” words but he talks a lot. When we were out in Burnet the other day he was looking at the Christmas lights on our way back and kept on saying “Wowh, wowh, wowh!” He has a great happy attitude. He’ll get cranky, very cranky, when he is hungry but as soon as he has food he’s like a new man! He eats like a horse sometimes. Tonight we had Filipino food and he ate three whole servings. Eliza, our little vegetarian, had a plate of broccoli and green beans and we had to talk her into eating some meat.

James liked the taquitos so much that he didn't want to put them down to get a drink.

James liked the taquitos so much that he didn’t want to put them down to get a drink.

Eliza with her pile of vegetables for dinner.

Eliza with her pile of vegetables for dinner.

Eliza has been having a bit of trouble sleeping lately. Several times this week she has ended up in our room on the floor in her sleeping bag because she gets scared of something. Hopefully this phase gets over quickly. We just got James finally sleeping like a real human through the night and now Eliza is getting up again. Maybe someday we’ll get sleep again (although when I watch my parents I think this is doubtful . . . In fact, I think it just gets worse! Thanks mom and dad!)

Eliza and James like looking at the rainbows from the crystal on our tree.

Eliza and James like looking at the rainbows from the crystal on our tree.

Eliza comforting James when he was sad.

Eliza comforting James when he was sad.

Eliza's basket fills a lot of roles. This week it was a Santa hat. Mommy had to sit on "Eliza Santa's" lap and tell what she wanted for Christmas.

Eliza’s basket fills a lot of roles. This week it was a Santa hat. Mommy had to sit on “Eliza Santa’s” lap and tell what she wanted for Christmas.

Eliza wearing daddy's boots.

Eliza wearing daddy’s boots.

Sarah was gone on Wednesday night to the family history center and again on Thursday night for Relief Society, so I got to stay home with Eliza and James. They are so good at night, most of the time.

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