Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Christmas Lights

Christmas with Ellie this year was very cool. Last year was fun because it was her first year, of course, but this year she was far more interactive and participatory, and it was fun to see her get into it. Of course, she's still too young to "get it": we read books about the story of Christmas and talked about Baby Jesus (using her Fisher Price Nativity), but she really just learned the name "Baby Jesus," not the story (she also learned what sound a donkey makes, so I guess that's something). She learned who Santa is and was excited to identify him, but naturally didn't grasp that he's going to come down her chimney and give her presents for being a good girl. But, she did get really into all the trimmings of Christmas: lights, Santa ("ho, ho, ho!" she says!), presents, snowmen and penguins (both of which she pronounced as "conquin," so figure that one out), etc. She wanted to read her Christmas books and wear her Santa hats. She was particularly into Christmas trees and especially loved identifying all the ornaments. It was so fun to watch her be so excited about the fun of Christmas.

VIDEO: Ellie checking out the Christmas tree at my dad's house. You may want to turn up your speakers to better hear her sweet little voice! (Speaking of voices, please ignore my grating, overexcited one at the beginning.)

While we were visiting St. Petersburg, we had three different opportunities to indulge Ellie's new-found fascination with Christmas lights, and we took full advantage, because DUH. When a toddler is excited about something, it's the cutest thing ever. Never mind that the lights were enjoyable to us adults, too, because even more enjoyable was Ellie's reaction.

The first place we took Ellie to see Christmas lights was downtown St. Pete. As I mentioned, Ellie and I went to St. Pete early to see our out-of-town cousins, and Eric joined us about a week later when school go to out. On his first night in town, we took Ellie downtown to walk along the waterfront and check out the displays. She had a great time with it (especially the photo-ops)...that is, until the end, when we wouldn't let her play in the manger scene. Other than that, though, a good time was had by all!

Ellie and Daddy riding in a sleigh

She loved it.


We love a nice photo op!

Checking out the big Christmas tree

Mama won't let her climb on Baby Jesus. Worst Mama Ever!

Our second Christmas Lights Outing was to Largo Central Park later in the week, with Ellie's Aunts Kelley and Phyllis. Ellie particularly loved running around and identifying all the light figures, and trying to name the colors of the lights (we had just started working on colors then). A major highlight of the trip was near the end, when Ellie spotted some soldiers marching, each with one foot up in the air. Unprompted, she ran right over and lifted her leg up to mimic them! This kid totally already gets our "fun with statues" thing. She was meant to be a part of our family, what can I say?

Ellie and Auntie Kelley at Largo Central Park

Gingerbread house!


"Holding" a green light in her hand

Marching like the soldiers!

Naturally, we all had to get in on that action.

Finally, we met up with my mom and Gary for dinner and then all went out to the Florida Botanical Gardens to see their light displays. Theirs focused more on birds, turtles, flowers, butterflies, and other garden-y things, but there were, of course, some holiday items thrown in. Ellie took a particular shine to a grouping of reindeer and some gingerbread men, who were the recipients of a few hugs. They also had Santa and Mrs. Claus available for photos, and that went just about as well as last time. She did, however, enjoy the dancers that were performing in the center of the garden. It was a very nice evening!

With my mom in the garden


Ellie's new reindeer buddy


Post-Santa cuddles with Grammy

Hugs for gingerbread men!

Pretty trees

Crazy kids!

If Ellie was so much fun with all the Christmas festivity this year, I can hardly wait for next Christmas, when she'll be even more able to grasp what's going on PLUS we'll have a new little one celebrating his/her first Christmas, too! Now that  sounds like a mighty fun time!

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