we've also been busy celebrating gillian's SEVENTH birthday. i can't believe she's 7, really. it does seem like not long ago she was just born, so tiny, our only child...and now we have 3. yikes, how did THAT happen? :)
in our family, we spend more $$ on birthdays and really downplay the gift exchange at christmas in the hopes that we can focus more on jesus at this time of the year. so we decided this year to get gillian an american girl doll for her big day. she has been getting the catalogs for a while now (which i feel torn about--don't tell me if you think that was a bad parenting decision). she's not a doll person at all. she's had many dolls before, and she has either (a) put them in the closet, never to be seen again, or (b) been so scared of them that we promptly gave them away. so i was a little leery (ok, a lot leery) of spending the $100+ on a doll that she might end up doing one of those two things with.
but i had nothing to worry about: she was THRILLED. she must said thank you 20 times that night. here are a few pictures of her opening gifts. (for some reason i don't have a picture of her actually holding the doll--but trust me, it's very cool. and in case you are wondering which one she got, it's a kit doll, like from the movie)
she had a violin concert that night, and although we didn't get a good picture of her actually PLAYING, we got this one of her (tired but sweet) face after the show:
and then to celebrate her birthday even more, we spent the weekend in orlando. we had planned on going to seaworld (we had been telling her this for a year--the carrot we dangled to get her to stop sucking her thumb), but a very generous friend also gave us tickets to mickey's very merry christmas at disneyworld for friday night, plus 2 nights in a bed & breakfast in downtown winter garden. so our whole family was in heaven. i'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
(the disney princess castle was all lit up with purple lights. no matter how we feel about disney and its horrible commercialization, it was a magical sight) (the 3 pictures that follow are before we entered disney--the kids were SO excited! oh yeah, and i was pretty excited too...)
(gillian just completed a project at school on killer whales, so at seaworld this was our first stop--the shamu show)
if you want to see many, many more pictures, you can use this link to my FB photo album for december.
we are gearing up to head to virginia to see my family this coming saturday. i can't wait! my dad has the house decorated with about 3,000 lights, it seems. if you have ever seen the christmas vacation movie, that's what my house will look like...so i'm sure the kids will be so stoked they won't sleep a wink.
in case i don't have time to blog again before christmas, have a very merry and blessed season!