Our household, now containing four pittery-pattery feet this holiday season is becoming more excited every day in anticipation of the arrival of Christmas, just like the static electricity that tends to build up in one’s hair and freshly washed socks exiting the dryer in these colder days. Busy as Santa’s elves, we’ve been funneling all this energy into fun holiday events to keep the kids from climbing the walls. From this comes our Top Ten Holiday List, or at least the things that bring this momma a smile.
1. We kicked off the season with a group Christmas card effort. From concept, to costume, to props, to art direction, photography and a little computer work, the girls were instrumental in pulling this one off. We gave them a few choices and this is what they came up with. We had a great time setting up and taking way more shots than were needed just because it was so much fun. We did struggle with natural smiles, as is typical of two and five year olds, so against my better judgement, I blurted “Poopy Pants!” right before I snapped THE photo...something I’m sure I will live to regret. Afterward, the girls didn’t want to stop the game so continued to play magic carpet ride in costume for the longest time.
2. On December 3rd, we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. Typically, Pat and I have a grown up evening out, but since we had just returned from our Mexico trip, we decided to fore go the fantasy suite and just enjoy a family evening with dinner together - all four of us. I lit our unity candle (as we do every year) as our centerpiece, put on some of our wedding music and while daddy and I sipped champagne from our wedding toasting glasses, the girls joined in “chinging” their juice cups. We told them our wedding story and they giggled when we told them that daddy carried mom in her fluffy dress across the threshold. Daddy and I got up to dance to our annual “first dance” together in the dining room and before long the girls had gotten down off of their chairs and had joined us, wrapping their arms around our legs as we swayed to my Stevie Wonder favorite, With Each Beat Of My Heart, whose words seem even more fitting for the four of us now.
“You are my first breath
My first smile
And my morning cup of tea
Yours is the love
That I pray for
Before I go to sleep
From the time I saw your face
I knew no other could erase
My loving you with each beat of my heart
Until the day I heard you speak
I didn’t know that sound was sweet
Me hearing you in each beat of my heart”
3. One day we were singing Christmas Caroles in the car and Devi stopped us asking, “Instead of Rudolph, mom, why didn’t Santa just carry a flashlight?” It is in those thoughtful moments that I love being a mom best, I think. On her own she reasoned that Santa’s batteries must have died.
4. Treya’s mastery of “Rudolph” shines through as one of her more prouder moments. The girl really can’t carry a tune, but she can BELT IT OUT! Nothing brings a smile quicker than hearing “DO-DOLL dah ed ozed ANN DARE....add a darey high knee OZE!” None of the words are right, but the sentiment is hard to miss. She knows “Twinkle, Twinkle” too and it is sung just as robustly :).
5. Dev can be a bit anal. We like to say she is detail oriented. One afternoon she was playing with her Playmobil nativity set and from the kitchen I could see that she kept darting from the family room to the foyer. Not once or twice, but to the point where my mom antenna went up, concerned that something was a miss. I caught her in mid dash and found that she was consulting the position of each of the pieces of my “do not touch” Lenex nativity in one room and setting hers up to match EXACTLY in the other room, wanting to get it just right! She was so proud of her display.
6. Good night night behavior is a collective effort because the girls share a room. It requires that Treya be quiet in bed and Devi stay in bed all night and that they work together to help each other accomplish this task. After the Mexico trip, the sleep schedule got a bit messed up, but using team work they earned a Gingerbread House Kit, which we spent one Sunday afternoon decorating. After a few arguments about who got to do what, we worked it out and they did a great job gluing candy (mom’s secret plot to rid the house of left over Halloween candy) all over the gingerbread house. I was really surprised how excited they got about planning the best use of the candy. I, on the other hand sounded like a broken record telling them don't eat it, stating we have no idea when it was manufactured and what was put into to it to keep it "fresh". Hansel and Gretel would be so jealous!
7. One night, just after I said, “Amen!” at the end of our night night prayer, Devi said, “Oh! and God, just one more thing. Please help all the orphan kids in India know that their forever familes are coming for them. Amen” Tear up? OH YES! I was a mess. For whatever reason, Devi has been obsessed asking if random people are/were orphans and playing Ayah - reenacting our union with Treya. Devi is the Ayah, we are the parents and Treya plays herself.
8. Treya’s daycare class made hot cocoa as a gift for their parents this year. They sent it home early so we could enjoy it through the holidays. Together, for our night time snack, we made four cups of simmering chocolaty goodness. She was so so proud of this gift. With a brown frothy mustache, she clung to her white mug and kept saying, “Mmmmm, ott toe-co, mommy! Ott toe-co!” It is really delicious...the best home-made mix I’ve ever had. Not that I am biased!
9. Last weekend we bundled the kids up, put them in the stroller and headed out to see Zoolights at our local zoo just three blocks away. I popped corn with cranberries and cashews, which Dev called “fancy festive”. Treya was so mesmerized that she barely ate hers; a first for her to give up food! The weather was crisp as we sang our way there and back, enjoying all the bright lights. The highlight at the end of the evening was riding the big carousel. Treya astride her “neigh-neigh” named Precious and Devi mounted on Destiny; two appropriately named ponies.
10. Our last lazy Sunday afternoon was spent making a big 3 foot by 4 foot green felt Christmas tree and a dozen felt ornaments, decorated with remnants of trim, rick-rack and lace. (I secretly gloated over this, as it justifies my pack rat tendencies to my husband - the reason why I hold onto even 3 inches of something :) The next couple of hours (yes, hours) the girls spent taking turns decorating and redecorating that felt tree. Treya would say, “Close eye” when it was her turn so we would be surprised with her result. We had a Christmas movie playing in the background and a fire in the fireplace. It just does not get much better than that!
There have been so many more magical moments in this first year all together, but for now I will stop at ten as there is still wrapping to be done and kids to corral. To all those who still blog stalk, Merry Christmas.