Holiday Photo Booth

We decided it would be fun to try doing a photo booth this year over the holidays. This was our first adventure with it, so we weren’t sure what to expect. My friend Ashley of Ashley Bruschi Photography was a big help with loaning me her flash, and educating me on what camera settings would be good with the flash… because I have NO clue when it comes to using an external flash. It’s whole new world for me!  I found the backdrop on Amazon (we decided to do black because it’s more forgiving with shadows), and we got a few of the fun glasses on Amazon as well, and then the rest of the props came from the local Party City.

We had two Christmas parties at our house this year. One was a ornament exchange with a few close friends and neighbors, and the other was our family Christmas Eve gathering. For the family gathering, unfortunately, we didn’t get as much participation because it was just to chaotic with all the kids, but it really is a fun way to capture an event. It’s challenging to photograph adults at a party. I think kids are a bit easier because they can turn on the charm and goofy-ness.  A photo booth is just the thing that turns grown adults in to goof balls themselves. Well, and alcohol helps too, I suppose. I can’t tell you how many good belly laughs we got from these silly props and poses. It was a big party hit.


2015 Holiday Festivities

We had a great time celebrating the holidays. It’s no surprise that I am a big fan of Christmas. Anyone that knows me knows that I love the whole shebang. The music, the decorating, the lights, shopping, Christmas outings with the fam, cooking, visiting Santa, hosting parties, and all the holiday festivities that go along with it!

IMG_9155Lake Lanier Under the lights 5K
The first thing we did to get into the holiday spirit, was run/walk the Lake Lanier Under the lights 5k.  We did this last year, and it really is a fun event to do. Not only that, but I love the time I spend with Dan, running and being goofy out there together. You get to see lots of light displays during your run, and the jolly man himself. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s something that we enjoy and would like to continue doing every year!

 

Tree Lighting of Avalon

We enjoyed a tree lighting ceremony in Avalon. This was our first year attending the tree lighting ceremony there, and it was nice. It was super cold, and a bit crowded, but we ran into some friends, and it turned out to be a really fun evening.  This may end up being a tradition each year leading up to Christmas!

Parkway’s Children’s Program

Mason and Sienna took to the stage with their classes to sing Christmas songs for the holidays.  This was Sienna’s first time singing and she did great! She loves singing, and is always animated with her movements when putting on a performance, and Mason isn’t shy about singing either. It was super precious and we enjoyed every bit of it!

 

Cookies with the Clauses

It was kind of sad this year going to Cookies with the Clauses because I remember taking Parker as a toddler, when Mason was just a baby. My how the times have changed. Now Mason and Sienna are attending without big brother because he’s in Kindergarten. In a blink of an eye! Next year Mason will be in Kindergarten as well!

Sienna and Mason had a great time. We met a few friends there, but we were waiting in line for a while for Santa and Ms. Clause that we didn’t get to visit as long as we would’ve hoped to.

 

Getting the Perfect Christmas Tree

No Christmas would be the same without our annual visit to Kinsey Farms. We decided to go on a weekday this year because it’s always been super busy on the weekends. Although, this is a Christmas Tree farm, they’re not typical Christmas trees that they grow there. They’re leyland Cyprus, and other green trees, but Fraser firs are what people typically get, and they aren’t grown in this area. They’re mostly grown in the Appalachian regions of NC. They are trucked into Kinsey farms, but we still love the atmosphere of the farm, and it has certainly become a tradition of our family.
Even though Mason and Sienna managed to dump hot chocolate all over them, and they burned their marshmallows several times, we still managed to laugh about it all. I love our crazy family!


When we got home, we got busy decorating the new tree! We decided to do colored lights this year, which is the first time we’ve done this. I noticed that they don’t photograph as well as the white lights, but it was fun to use the for a change!

 

Meeting Santa in Avalon

We had planned to visit Santa at North point mall, but they are just too fancy. I mean, for realz, fancy!! In order not to have to wait in a line for a long time, I planned to do a reservation. Except this year in order to make a reservation at North Point Mall Dreamworks Santa, you had to pay ahead of time for the pictures too. Say whaaaat? Who does that? I mean… this year happens to be the first year that we don’t have a kid afraid of Santa, but if we did then we’d be up a creek with crappy photos. I’m just not a fan of paying for photos you’ve never seen. I think I’m pretty normal in that degree. It is a fancy set-up though. They allow you to design your sleigh, and you go on an interactive ride in your sleigh prior to meeting santa. We may try it next year, but Dreamworks needs to get a reality check before next year and not require the pre-pay for photos in order to reserve.
So, we went to Avalon instead, which turned out to be a great experience anyways. The only thing that was a bit of a let-down was the weather. It was literally 70 degrees! Not very Christmasy but we made the best of it. After a sweet visit with Santa, and a wonderful staff that allowed me to take MY OWN photos for free, Parker begged me to take him ice skating. It was so expensive that we could only take one child, and we told the others that they weren’t old enough and they’d have to wait until next year. Dan took them to the soft play area and Parker and I took to the ice. It was so slushy from the weather that Parker fell several times into the wet mess. However, in true Parker fashion, he laughed and laughed and didn’t mind one bit. Just like when he was learning to ride a bike. He never got upset or frustrated, he just laughed, got back up, and tried again! I need to remember this when I’m frustrated by the fact that he’s a goof ball and won’t be serious…I’m thankful that he also has the type of personality that doesn’t take himself too seriously and knows when to laugh it off, even if it’s the hundredth time falling in slushy ice and soaking your pants from the waist down!

Christmas Eve

We were overjoyed to be able to host Christmas Eve in our home this year. We typically go to Angie’s house, but we asked if we could host, and we were so thankful that she not only agreed, but was happy that we offered. I know we live a little further out, and we were excited that everyone was able to come up and spend such a special time in our home.  We had a table full of appetizers and desserts, and we enjoyed catching up with family, and we watched a short clip from the movie Nativity that talked about the birth of Christ, and the true reason why we celebrate the holiday. In years past, we have done everything from reading scripture, to singing Christmas Carols, to sharing prayers, and we decided to change it up, and put our stamp on the night. All the young kids are excited to open “stocking stuffers” from family members, of course too. Truthfully, I may be equally excited to see the joy and smiles on their faces!  Overall, it was a big success! We were exhausted, but everyone had a great time and the kids were tired by the end, but still excited for Santa to come and for Christmas morning.

Christmas Day

We enjoyed a relaxed morning at home Christmas Day.  The kids big gifts this year were a dollhouse for Sienna, remote BB8 for Parker and Mason got a Lego AT AT.  Aunt Angie hosted Christmas lunch at her house this year, which was really nice because typically the family Christmas Day lunch is held at the farm, which is too far for us to drive with the kids.  It was nice to visit more with family and get to see my grandparents that weren’t able to make it on Christmas Eve. We had a wonderful relaxing Christmas!