Life Lately: Elena's first Santa visit

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Life lately has been pretty busy in the Schneider house. Last week, Justin's grandmother was visiting from NY. It was the first time she's visited since Elena's been alive. We jumped at the opportunity to see her. She knitted all the kids the cutest red Christmas hats. We intend on having them wear them in the family Santa picture this year. SO SPECIAL!
On Thursday night we decided to check out Santa's Wonderland at Bass Pro,  I cannot believe we've always gone to the mall and never done this before! If you have a Bass Pro near you, you must go (and on a weeknight!)  They had an entire section transformed into a wonderland with a talking moose, elves, a cabin for Santa, winter treats like fudge and popcorn, a train set, coloring tables, free goodies, and Santa himself! Not to mention, everyone was given a FREE picture with Santa. And our Bass Pro was so sweet. It was Elena's first visit with Santa so they gave us a few shots of her meeting him. I was also able to take some pictures on my own.  Ty and Elena's cousin Callan met us there so it was such a fun experience.
This girl's facial expressions crack me up.
Elena absolutely loved Santa. She was grinning ear to ear when Justin sat her in his lap. Ty on the otherhand, knew everything he wanted to say, but when it was our turn, he stepped back. It took him a few minutes of watching Elena before he decided that Santa wasn't a monster.  My heart was OVERFLOWING watching my TWO children occupy both of Santa's knees.  Christmas time is magical as a child, but even more so as a parent.
Justin was able to take the day off on Friday. YIPPY!! We decided to go to his parents' house to spend a little bit more time with his Grandma before she had to leave.  My favorite part about our visits to their house is how comfortable it is to be there with the kids and how much his parents love being surrounded by their grandchildren.  We had a great time just being together and, of course, getting spoiled by his grandmother's cooking-- rice and beans and fried plantains!

On Saturday I had two more Christmas sessions with two fantastic families. I am so blessed to have clients who have referred me after their photo sessions. The excitement I have about this new adventure in my life has been overwhelming. I love every minute I have behind the lens capturing snippets of time for some beautiful families.
In my effort to make this holiday season less stressful with running from place to place, we set aside some weekend nights for home with the family. It's far too easy for me to say yes to every fun event that deals with Christmas, but sometimes it's important to say no for the sanity of your family. Saturday night was one of our wonderful nights at home.  After spending the afternoon in the yard, we set up a tent, built a fire, and snuggled in to the pile of pillows and blankets for Christmas movies-- all 5 of us (including Holden).  These are the nights that memories are made of. 
Justin and I are also starting an adventure together this winter. Last year, the Family Life coordinator at our church asked us to be a part of the team for an upcoming marriage retreat that we had been participants in last year. I JUMPED at the chance to do this with Justin, but he was skeptical.
Well, I finally got him to agree to do it with me and we had our first team meeting this weekend. We have so much to look forward to in being a part of this special teams. It's amazing how much can happen when you step outside of your comfort zone!
In the coming week, our Christmas adventure will take us on a pajama- wearing car ride to see all the Christmas lights! I. Can't. Wait.
Linked up here today!


  1. Such precious pictures! There's nothing more fun than setting up a tent inside with the kiddos. Have a great day!

  2. Love your Santa pics! It looks like you all had a great experience. Your family sessions are adorable, and I hope the marriage retreat goes well!


  3. This is so cute! I can't wait to have kids one day and experience the magic of Christmas through their eyes!

    Christina ::Simple and Delish

  4. Aww so sweet!! What great pictures.

  5. Oh my goodness, what cuties!!! I think the picture with Elena & Santa is the best I've seen so far this year! Kids especially little ones are usually terrified! =P

    I hope your rest of the holiday season is wonderful!
    Melanie | Blog: Toots + Dill

  6. We have the same last name! The Bass Pro shop version looks amazing. I bet it was very rustic with the cabin and moose. Also, tree farms are a really good spot to see Santa bc a lot of them will have "reindeer" on the property