Biking joy + the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas Eve...

This morning we went to see Santa.

For me it was more of an "Oops, I didn't get this done earlier - time is running out, I can't believe I almost forgot to take my kiddos to see Santa!" kind of thing.

So, the kids dressed in their recycled jammies from last year super cute matching Christmas jammies and off we went! 
Elle did great. I was afraid that she might be scared of Santa and start screaming, but she was as cool as a cucumber. Although the look on her face may say otherwise (deer in headlights)... :)

I made a healthy lunch for the kiddos and I - so much better than eating at the mall after seeing Santa.
It is so crazy how restaurants present a kids' meal.
Would you like fried chicken fingers, mac and cheese, a hot dog or a hamburger? (with no lettuce or tomato in sight). 
Come ON people - don't kids deserve good food too?

So, I quickly whipped up this -

...and they loved it!

Grilled chicken (+a little bit of sauteed garlic) with organic red leaf lettuce, orange bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, tomato, English cucumbers, avocado and fresh strawberries (all organic). Drizzled with a bit of coconut balsamic vinegar that I picked up from the farmers market.
We were all able to get in a big dose of veggies.

In my continuing cross training journey, I went on a beautiful bike ride today.
The plan was to go to the gym for a 60 min ride on the stationary bike.

Ugh. What was I going to do? In my mind I was scrambling, scrambling for a back up plan. I ran in the pool and went to yoga yesterday. 
I definitely needed to bike today.

J and I had nice road bikes during our triathlon phase, but sold them after kid #2 came along and realized the dust on the bikes was at least an inch thick.

Enter the ancient mountain bike. Ah, yes - my old college mountain bike. I have many fond memories of cruising around the bike paths of UC Santa Barbara on that bike. Going to class, biking to cross country practice...
Well, it was still sitting pretty in our garage waiting for some love.

So, I jumped on it and took it for a one hour bike ride. I have to say, it was pretty great!

And the views along the way were fantastic...

I have to keep reminding myself to

Click on image

Day 15 of no running. Only 28 days left!

I had to get that off my chest :)

Okay. Back to Christmas.

I love Christmas Eve. The anticipation of  what tomorrow will bring and the wonderful traditions that make the day before the big day so special.

We have some  traditions in our family on Christmas Eve:

1. Going to church for Christmas Eve service.
I really love our church - it is a wonderful place with some of the most loving people I have ever met. It really is a blessing for our family that we found our church. The Christmas Eve service is amazing. Beautiful music, a heartfelt message and singing Silent Night by candlelight.

2. Baking cookies for Santa and chopping carrots for the reindeer.
My kiddos love baking, and they (of course) love Santa!
This year my four year old got to chop carrots for the reindeer and she was so excited and proud.

And in sad news, after tonight we say goodbye to our Elf, Steve (yes, Steve). It's been a fun month Steve. Thanks for all the endless nights of me deciding where to place you so my kids can yell in glee every morning.
Thanks. A lot.
See you next year (really?)

3. Eating homemade seafood pasta for Christmas Eve dinner.
My Mom has been making seafood pasta for Christmas Eve dinner since I was born.
She gave me the honor of making it this year - angel hair pasta, with sauteed shrimp and scallops + broccoli (a real one pot dish) with a light marinara sauce.
No pic, as everyone ate it SO FAST that I forgot to take a picture. :)

4. Tracking Santa on Norad. My son is obsessed. Seriously.
Joshua jumped out of bed this morning and ran to the computer to see where in the world is Santa. He is so much like me in that he LOVES geography and travel and one thing he loves to do is get out the world map so he can find places like Malta,  New Delhi, and Nuuk Greenland (so cool).

Tracking Santa is a big deal in our house.

5. Watching "It's A Wonderful Life". This is something J and I do every year after we put the kids to bed. LOVE THIS MOVIE.

The kiddos are now safely tucked in bed with visions of sugar plums + robots, dolls, go karts and remote control airplanes dancing in their heads.

What are YOUR favorite Christmas Eve traditions?

Merry Christmas Eve to all and to all a good night!

Oh and by the way - Happiness Is Running Life!


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