Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fill It Up

In the morning when the girls wake up the first thing they ask..."is it an at home day?"
"Why yes it is my sweethearts, now come snuggle me!"  We haven't been getting out of bed until the sun is up and the day has already begun.  And it has been wonderful.  It feels so good to get up and pour a cup of  coffee and then sit back down.

While I drink my coffee, I get my face painted by my little artist.  There was a time not so long ago that Callie wasn't the least bit interested in getting her face painted.  She has finally warmed up to the idea and is now painting her entire body.  Yesterday we both looked like part of an ancient African tribe by the time she was done.

My girls like being at home.  Trying out all their new treasures.  We attempted some Easy Bake mircowave cakes the other night.  I bet you've never seen a skateboarding/superhero/race car driving/glam-girl shirt wearing Easy Baker before.  I love her diverse interests.    

We decided that Easy Baking isn't actually that easy.  Both girls jumped ship after the first attempt.  Guess who cleaned up the mess? 

After a few at home days my low fuel light has finally stopped blinking.  Considering all the things that happen in the month of December it is easy to get dangerously close to an empty tank.   Sometimes I just cross my fingers and pray that I will have enough fumes to get me through to the fill up days.  

And now with a little gas in our tanks we are ready to go again!  Ready to ring in the New New Year with a little road trip.  Time to go.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas Album

On Christmas Eve we all get dressed up in our party clothes.  I have this thing for girls' Christmas dresses.  I love browsing through all the styles and picking my favorites.  Although I love the dress picking task, this year I let Callie pick her own dress.  Knowing that she isn't a lover of dresses I wasn't sure what she would choose.  She doesn't particularly like to wear dresses but she has come to the understanding that dresses are reserved for only very special times.  I'll say that I was a little more than surprised at her pick because I don't think she could have found a fancier choice.  And I will admit that I used to have this little thing about dressing my girls the same but I'm over that.  So when I let Lexi pick her dress I tried to steer her in a direction that was complementary to her sister's but not the same.  But in the end she just wanted to be like her big sister.

Photos for our Christmas album...

Close-up courtesy of Lexi, 3 yrs old.
 For the past six years we have gotten together with family and friends for dinner and fun on Christmas Eve.  Christmas crackers, the present game, and a visit from Santa... it's become tradition.

More photos for the album...

 When we returned home the reindeer food was severed up outside on the step and a sufficient combination of cookies and chocolates and milk were set by the tree.  Two girls were tucked into bed and within minutes their breathing was slow and heavy. Once all the Christmas magic was perfectly in place this is where I sat and reflected...

 I was perfectly content.  Relaxed.  Calm.  Full of joy and anticipation.

In the morning, Callie's were the first feet to hit the floor.  Late by many kids standards at eight o'clock am.  She comes to our room where we all snuggled and waited for Lexi to wake up.  All huddled in our bed, Callie tells us how she woke up in the night and saw a shadow and she was convinced it must have been Santa.

Our Santa has found his gift giving groove over the years delivering something from each of the girls' wishlists and a surprise for both of them.  Something unexpected that they didn't even know they would love.  This year it was the gift of music.

The album continues...

And after these photos there was much more.  Christmas breakfast.  Visits from family. Turkey dinner.  More family.  More memories.  But this is where I put my camera down and lived in the moment.  Creating memories in my heart instead of the photo album.

I love, love, LOVE the Christmas spirit and the feeling it produces that cannot be put into words.  We are truly blessed if we have nothing at all other than each other.
Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

This is my most favourite time.  All the tasks are complete.  Everything is in its place.  Not a creature is stirring, except for me, enjoying the quiet and not ready to go to bed because I enjoy the anticipation nearly as much as the prize.

From our house to yours....
Merry, Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fa, la, la...

The Christmas spirit has embraced our house.  And it may be a coincidence that it showed up on my last day of work or it may not but the release from that extra duty softens everyone's mood.  We have been on the Christmas concert circuit this past week.  And yes, we were those parents, the ones who arrived two hours early to get a front row seat for Callie's  kindergarten singing d├ębut  She was brave.  There were A LOT of people in the audience and today I asked her if she was scared or nervous and she said, "no".  She told me that she liked being on stage singing. 

Prechool concert.  Can you you spot both my little singers?
Our visit from Santa looked the same this year as it has every year.  Me with two girls hanging on tight.  Neither girl will talk to the big guy so I end up telling him what they want for Christmas.  But they both have no problem taking the gift that he offers up.

And just when I had written off all interaction with the Big Guy a call goes out for all kids at the party to gather around for a picture with Santa.  And look who crawls right up on his knee as though that spot was reserved just for her...

Little sister may have had a brave moment but Callie still stands as far away as possible.
The Chirstmas spirit is calling me.  Telling me to get off the computer and watch Christmas movies, make gingerbread houses, wrap gifts, and crank up the Yuletide fireplace on the TV.

I'll leave you with our cookie making experience...

And a reindeer food making pyjama party with friends...

Fa,la, la, la, la, la,la. la. la.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Continuing On

Though our preparations for the coming holidays continued last week and over the weekend I have to say that some of the wind was taken out of our smooth sailing with the news from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.  I watched only a brief newscast on Friday that reported the tragedy and then turned off the TV.  I let myself go there.  I let myself feel all that I could imagine the parents were feeling.  And I imagined being the teachers in the school.  And then I felt what the children must have felt.  And I cried.

I haven't watched anymore news updates and I have tried not to think or talk about the tragedy not in anyway to be disrespectful to the loss that occurred but simply because something of this magnitude takes time to process.  And I know I will only be able to let little bits of information in at a time because this all feels too close to home.  Not close in a literal way as Connecticut is a very long way from our northern town but figuratively speaking it touches my life.

It feels close to home because long gone is the comfort we would take in saying "that wouldn't happen here".  We know that events like Newtown can happen anywhere.  It is close to home because I work in a school and we practice those procedures.  The exact ones the news broadcasted about at Sandy Hook... locking doors, turning off lights, hiding children.    It's close because I work with children and each night I worry whether I did everything I could, did I contact everyone I should have, did I miss any important detail, somehow thinking that if I did everything right that something like this won't happen here.  It's close to home because my school is full of people and children that I love...including my own.

Slowly, I will let more of that days events in to be processed.  I will take what can be learned from a loss so great and apply it where it needs to go.  And in the meantime we will continue on with our holiday plans because that is the only thing we know how to do.  I don't have any quotes or bible verses or words of wisdom about moving forward from tragedy but I do think this blogger says it well.


Oh Christmas Tree decorating...

I will return soon.  And I will return with Christmas spirit.
Prayers to all those affected, near and far.