It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

For my twin sister's birthday, her husband, Christian, planned a trip for the both of them to NYC!  They stayed with us in our apartment (kicked Kate and Taylor out of their bunk beds), and Rebecca and I got to celebrate our 35th together- something we had not done for too many years.  They were only here for a couple of frreeeezing days, but they made the most of it by getting out and doing lots of fun things.  We joined them one night for a broadway show, "Matilda", and dinner altogether.  This was Christian's first broadway show and I'm pretty sure he was blown away because he mentioned feeling a lot of regret for having waited so long in his life to partake in the broadway magic.  And, "Matilda" is nothing short of magic.  Its one of my favorite shows-- I've seen it 3 times!  We ate dinner at one of our favorite places, Jacob's Pickles, on the UWS and it was delicious, rich and filling, as usual.  I loved having them in town and staying up way too late laughing and catching up.  Also, I don't think I've ever bundled up so much in my life because it was ridiculously cold out while they were here.  They need to come back when you don't have to cover every inch of your body with layers!

Next up, Beau and Amy and their 3 cute boys visited just before Christmas.  We ate a yummy pizza dinner at Patsy's and then saw the Rockettes together to ring in Christmas.  Its a really cute show- my favorite part is at the end when they do a live Nativity, with real animals (even a camel!).  I love that they conclude, even here in NYC, with the true message of Christmas; it brings such a sweet spirit.  Beau and Amy also had great tickets to "Hamilton", so they saw that one night while we babysat and then we met them for a really late dinner at The Smith- always a good choice.  We even made time during their visit to see the gorgeous Angel Christmas Tree at the Met, on the east side of Central Park.  Beau and Amy are some of our very favorite people and we will gladly take any time we get to spend with them!


One of the coolest Christmas decorations in the city are these giant red ornaments at Rockefeller Center.  We also walked down 5th Avenue to see all of the famous festive store-front decor and of course, the ribbon-wrapped Cartier store.  Santa Claus is definitely coming to our town!


Love these girls and love seeing them all dressed up for Christmas!


The Christmas shops in Bryant Park are really cool to browse around because they sell some really unique items.  These pop-up shops spring up all over the city this time of year and its kind of magical.


A couple of weeks before Christmas, we met some friends at the Brick Lane church on Park Avenue for their annual Christmas sing-along and lighting of the trees all down the famed street.  It was such a cool night, as thousands gathered and sang sweet Christmas songs together for over an hour altogether.


We also discovered the sheer magic of snow in NYC...its the BEST!!


For Christmas Eve dinner, we were invited to eat with the Buckner's at their home, along with a few other families and a group of missionaries.  It was a yummy dinner, but the entertainment was what made is extra special.  They have a tradition of putting on a talent show after their dinner, so our girls prepared to sing "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" and the Pelo's (another awesome family from our ward) all sang a few numbers and the Buckner kids played some piano- all so talented and such an incredible Spirit was shared as we ended the evening talking about the birth of Christ. 


These two Pelo sisters are crazy good at singing.  We loooove their family so much!


Because Christmas was on a Sunday this year- which is pretty much the best thing ever- we got up early and all cuddled in our traditional Christmas pajamas, opened a few presents, then got ready for church at 10.  Only sacrament meeting was held, so we made our way over to Columbus Circle for one of the best meetings, which was filled with gorgeous music and beautiful words.  We finished up with our gifts and relaxed around the house to finish off a perfect Christmas.  (Is there anything better than a crackling fire on the TV?!?! ;))

One of Taylor's favorite gifts was this Romo jersey picked out by her Dad.  We were also mildly obsessed with our pencil Christmas tree.  I think its 1 foot at its widest berth and it was the ONLY tree that we could squeeze into our over-stuffed tiny apartment.  It was really perfect though.  


Over the school break, we spent as much time together and outside as we could.  We met our good friends, the Todd's, in Central Park to play some games.  We also made our way to the American Museum of Natural History to see their origami tree- incredible! Man, I just really love Christmastime!!