First, there was the trip to the farm to choose our tree. Daddy set up his huge train town underneath it and you girls carefully unwrapped the ornaments and hung them on the branches. You both said this day was the very best.
What about driving around at night? I loved hearing you girls yell out, "Beauts!" everytime we passed a decorated house. Remember when Daddy played the CD with "What Child Is This?" over and over really loud and we drove around to find the best houses? What about that one house Helen told us about that was covered in colored lights that were synchronized to blink in time to a radio station playing Christmas music?
We had fun at the mall a couple of times too. Arielle, you helped Dad choose a Land's End outfit for me while Liana and I got gifts for Dad. Then we went to that fancy kitchen store and ate the free samples of peppermint bark they passed out. We saw the old REAL Santa, the same one who used to hold you both on his lap when you were babies. He is still holding babies, but you girls are too big now and you just like to go and watch him for a few minutes.
You had a good time rolling out, cutting and icing the Christmas cookies. What talented girls you are! The cookies were beautiful. But then after you went to bed, Dad ate the best ones! He loves those kind of cookies.
We sat in our favorite spot at the Christmas concert at church, right in front of the violins. All three of us liked the same song the best--the one where Mary and Elizabeth sing back and forth. We finally got to watch "The Story of the Nativity" on DVD and it made us think about what it might have really been like that Holy Night.
You girls had fun watching the UPS man bring all those packages to the door, thanks to Mom and Dad's late-night shopping on Amazon and the generosity of out-of-state family and friends. Stacia and Dominic came and you spent the day making a gingerbread house and snowflake decorations for the windows. Then there were many nights of watching your favorite holiday shows with Dad supervising the two of you roasting marshmallows in the wood stove.
Finally, with the big day almost here, we went to church on a rainy, windy Christmas Eve in the afternoon to rehearse the duet you girls were to sing for hundreds of people at the two services that evening. I was so proud of you. With great poise and confidence you both climbed the stairs right on cue and walked to the microphone. You sang beautifully with all your hearts as I watched your precious little faces up there. You stayed to sing the final carols and then, before you could come back down to us, Daddy jumped up from his seat and grabbed you, Liana, whirling you down from the stage, your poofy skirt flying. Then, Arielle, he lifted you down in his strong arms too. He wanted everyone to know you two were his daughters!
The next morning, all your brothers, sister, and their families arrived for our traditional gift-opening and dinner. I know you girls love being with the whole big family. Every step leading up to Christmas was wonderful this year. Thank you, girls!