Friday, December 21, 2007

"THE" Tree

(Click to see full size pics.)

Yesterday, we made our trip to the Christmas Tree at Zilker. Once again we outsmarted the masses, which are oh so proud of. We picked up dinner on the way and were able to park and walk up before dark, with no line and no parking fee. SCORE. (Did you know sunset is around 5:30 these days???? I didn't realize that until we started making these plans. That's SO EARLY!) Showing up early has many getting to watch the worker with the big crane truck unload the massive logs in to the fire pit. That was amazing...and something I've never had the opportunity to experience, but was always just a tad curious about.

Alex and Ashley got along unusually well and spent most of the evening running around playing games together. They'd disappear for a bit and we'd find them hand in hand under the tree spinning together, or playing tag in the trees. Love was definitely in the air that night. Mark and I were reminiscing back to Alex's first trip to the tree and how he just laid in his stroller bundled up sleeping while we took turns spinning around with 5 year old Ashley. And then back to the first year we were sans stroller, and how FREE we felt. Wow, the years just seem to be flying by so fast! That must mean that we're having loads of fun, right?? Someday, I'm hoping the kiddos can reflect back with smiles and warm heats like Mark and I do.

The kettle corn and funnel cake were awesome as usual and the weather was just right. Cool enough to have to make frequent trips back to the fire pit to warm up a bit, but not so cold that we were miserable. We left around 7:30 only to find the line to get in was backed up all the way down Mopac. A perfect opportunity to show the kids just how smart their mom and dad are. ;)

Today we're just enjoying being at home together. Mark is working from home, but his presence certainly makes it feel like a holiday. I think the kids and I will do a little baking today and just enjoy our time together.

I'm working on the pictures right now, and will post a slideshow shortly.

We made it!

The kids had their last day of school on Wednesday. Up until today, it seems like we've been sprinting to some imaginary finish line, and somehow we've finally made it!

After years of hearing about Ashley's class parties and wishing he could be a part of them, Alex was finally able to experience the excitement and anticipation that being in school at Christmas time brings. Ironically, this was Ashley's first year to NOT have that experience. Middle School comes with it's privelages, but also has its drawbacks. She did give out little gifts to all of her friends and recieved many herself, so that made the week a little more festive, but I still think she missed elementary a lot this week.

Alex had so much going on at school this week it was hard to keep up with what to bring, and where to be. On Tuesday his class made Gingerbread houses in the morning and in the afternoon they had their class party where they made scarves, snowflakes and handprint wreaths. Periodically, one of the kids would break out a Christmas song and before long the whole class was singing and working on their creations. It was so fun to be a part of it all. Mrs. Ayala made it so special for the kids. It's so obvious how much she loves her children. She has the patience of a saint and the biggest heart you can imagine. She's been teaching Kindergarten for over 20 years and it's obvious that she brings the experience of all those years to school with her each day. This week was all about FUN. She made sure of that. There was no rushing, and she made her best effort to keep the day as open as possible so the kids could just enjoy. They spent well over an hour making their little gingerbread houses and she was right there encouraging them to eat their candy and lick their fingers and just have fun. She is so awesome!
Wednesday was pajama day and OF COURSE sweet Mrs. Ayala was dressed in her Christmas P.J.'s and houseshoes to boot!

The Dad's Club opened car doors in Santa Hats: