It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

It is pretty appropriate that I am sitting down to write this as snow flurries and super-cold temperatures are going on outside, with some sort of Nor'easter/winter storm headed our way,but it is very much winter, and Christmas is definitely on the way! I love this time of year and all of the beauty, magic and joy it can bring, and experiencing it with Maddie is like getting to see it through new, wondrous eyes, which is just so awesome. Pretty much from the weekend after Thanksgiving until Christmas we have at least one festive commitment each weekend with another option or two if we are feeling up to it. Here are some of the fun things we have been doing to celebrate the season so far:

The weekend after Thanksgiving the Mayor and Santa rode around in a trolley making stops at different parks in the neighborhood to light trees; by some awesome coincidence the tiny little playground on our corner was one of them, so after dinner we walked on over to take part in the lighting. I ran into a few of the ladies from the Dorchester Running Club who were there with their families and was introduced to some other people that live around us; running with them has been such a great way to get to know people in the neighborhood and connect with other parents. Maddie ran around with some of the other kids and then we listened to carolers from a neighborhood school as Santa and his posse rolled up on the trolley. Maddie was actually excited to see Santa this year and went up to him to say "Hi Santa, I am sorry I was scared of you before" and then commented on how her Daddy wears glasses too. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever and Santa was definitely smitten with her!

Waiting for Santa to come to the playground!
This past weekend our new church hosted a pancake breakfast with Santa at the school next door (bonus that I got to check it out before I enroll Maddie next year), so after Mass we joined a whole lot of other families and their kiddos to have some pancakes and get a picture with Santa. Maddie was again super brave, though she did set some reasonable boundaries by asking Santa if she could just stand next to him instead of on his lap, which she did so quiet politely, following up with a request for a "giraffe that she can ride on" for Christmas. I think they are sending out the pics soon and I can't wait to see it because she had the sweetest little smile on her face in it! She also got to send Santa a letter and, with the help of a volunteer, affirmed her request for the giraffe and threw in a lion for good measure. Santa better get some zoological training before he loads up his sled for our house! We then let her run around the room with a pack of older neighborhood boys in the hopes of tiring her out for a nap (totally worked!). The boys were super sweet with her, letting her win "races" and overall just letting a crazy toddler follow them everywhere they went.

Throughout the week I have been unveiling a new Christmas book every night (thanks, Boston Public Library!) that we read after she moves her little candy cane marker from day to day on her Advent calendar. I am also trying to get her to watch some of my favorite holiday movies; she likes the original Grinch and Charlie Brown's Christmas so far, so I am hoping I can get in some more classics this week. We are also making sure to get out and see the lights in our neighborhood as much as possible, including multiple strolls by this amazing scene just around the corner from us.

Seriously, these people are my heroes.
Rudolph is pretty much a daily request right now.
Matty and I also got a chance to go to his company's holiday party at the Museum of Fine Art this weekend, and it was just as gorgeous and fun as last year (even if I didn't get to partake in all that yummy champagne). I got my annual picture in front of the huge tree in the rotunda and we got to dress up, though, so I call it a win!
My super handsome date.
Next weekend we have a friend's party and I am also going to do some massive baking projects, which I am sure my little helper will be a part of. The following weekend we are taking a few days to go down the Cape where we will see some family and do one of those Christmas story time train rides (I am SO excited for that!).

Hope you are enjoying this time of year and being extra good for Santa!

Decorating the tree!
Gotta love the Target dollar bin for all your decorating needs. 
Before our date night (so thankful for that fancy maternity dress I bought last pregnancy!).

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