Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas 2010

Christmas was the most wonderful event this year. Natalie and Abby were fully into it and watching their excitement was contagious.

Natalie and Abby fell in love with Santa this year - especially Abby. Even before Christmas she would say, "I miss Santa" or "I love Santa". Since Christmas she has talked about how Santa left her Ariel (The Little Mermaid) and how she wishes he could come back and that she misses him. It's really cute.

Christmas was officially kicked off by a visit to Santa. This year was very different than years past. Natalie and Abby were ALL about Santa. Abby waited with baited breath and beamed when Santa waved at her. Christmas Eve was very busy for us this year. We started the say participating in our first Mitzvah Day sponsored by the Durham/Chapel Hill Jewish Federation. We chose to help out with the Genesis Home ( which works to end homelessness. We bought hats and gloves for a family and a bag full of "like-new" books and had a wonderful time spending the morning wrapping presents for all the mothers and their children.

We also had to join with kids everywhere and prepare cookies for Santa. The girls had a great time adding icing and sprinkles to their cookies.

We also spent Christmas Eve engaged in a few traditions: some old (the reading of The Night Before Christmas) and some new: discussing the Christmas Story and having the girls act it out with their Nativity. Ben's dad used to read The Night Before Christmas to Ben and Jeff every Christmas Eve. We were thrilled Grandpa was at our house to read it to the girls.
Thankfully, the girls are equally as excited about Baby Jesus as they are about Santa. I'd given them each a Nativity Set and they played with it often. They loved to circle all the characters around Baby Jesus. They also love hearing the story - and know it quite well. They often say to me, "Tell the story, Mommy".

We spent Christmas Eve at Duke Chapel for the 10:30pm service bringing in Christmas Day. It was how we spent our first Christmas with the girls as well. Not that much had changed...Auntie rocked the girls to sleep and they were out through most of the service. That first year, we were joined by Grammy, Auntie and Mema. This year, Auntie and Grammy were joined by Ya-Ya and Grandpa. Duke Chapel is technically a Methodist Church, though it functions in the spirit of non-denominational-ism. However, in ceremony it what one would call "high church" in the liturgical fashion. In other words, the service is traditional in nature complete with vestments, crosses and processions. I think it was quite an experience for Ya-Ya and Grandpa:-) although hopefully they enjoyed it.

It really was a beautiful service though. It was a series of scripture readings each followed by a musical selection that corresponded to the reading. They finished with the Hallelujah Chorus, which is truly a glorious way to bring in Christmas Day.

Christmas Morning was an absolute delight. The funny thing was though, that despite all their talk and excitement, Natalie and Abby forgot all about Santa when they woke up Christmas morning. Ben and I were sleeping in the loft and the girls piled into bed with us at a decent hour (8ish). We decided to see how long it would take them to remember it was Christmas. They never really did! Finally, after Auntie got up, we gave them hints and suddenly the light bulbs went off. And then it was Abby shouting down the stairs, "Santa came, Santa came!

I can understand why the girls are in love. Santa was VERY good to them this year:-) It was quite a spread.

Of course, this doesn't even take into account the rest of the loot from mommy and daddy, grandparents, and aunts and uncles.

It was so much fun seeing the girls come into the room and see what Santa left them. Abby ran straight for the Princess pillow and shouted, "I got a pillow, I got a pillow!" Natalie wanted to know if her Polar Bear was ok since he likes it cold.

Natalie and Abby only had one real request for Santa this year. Wait for it....cookies. Every time they were asked what they wanted Santa to bring them, the answer was cookies. (Maybe Santa should have stopped there!) So, Santa obliged, and the girls loved their cookies.

This year there were actually few things I felt like they needed. I generally pick their toys very carefully. So, although it appears that their playroom looks like Toys R Us exploded, nearly every single toy was chosen for a specific developmental purpose. Even the multitude of kitchen stuff and baby dolls has a specific aim of developing imaginative play. I usually have list of new toys I want to get for the girls to work on some new skill. This year...I was stumped. So, in the absence of sensible, practical, educational toys...everyone went a little wild.

Exhibit A: The 4 foot tall horse - named Dolly (horse in the Apple Tree Farm books) (Grammy)
(also makes a nice tent)

Daddy is hopeful, Dolly the Horse will take the place of this:

Exhibit B: The double-seater Princess car (Poppy, Nanny, Mommy and Daddy)

Exhibit C: Camping Out Princess Style (Ya-Ya and Grandpa)

Exhibit C1: Coordinating Camping Chairs (Mommy and Daddy)
Exhibit D: Everything Else! As you can see, Princesses ruled the day!

The girls also got something called "Calico Critters" (courtesy of Aunt Joyce). They are a new-fangled thing and absolutely the most adorable things. They are little families of animals: Mouse, Hedgehog, various Cats, Panda, Cow, Elephant, Dog, Bunnies, Fox, get the idea. And you can get pairs of little twins which are even more adorable. And, if that's not enough and you have any money left, you can purchase Tree Houses, Townhomes, a Manor, furniture, and Playground stuff. It's awesome.

Abby received a set of Pandas and Natalie Cows. Grammy pitched in with some playground equipment. Abby adores them. She actually plays with them quite a bit. A few days ago, I heard a conversation like this:
"Do you want to ride on Daddy's back...ok...that was it's your turn..." So. Cute.

This Christmas was full of so much joy and laughter and delight. Natalie and Abby experience everything with un-abandoned jubilance that is infectious. But, this year was tempered with some sadness as well. It was our first Christmas without Mema and we miss her terribly. It was fitting then, that Auntie had prepared a very special present for Grammy.

Mema was very fond of flannel pajamas. It seemed she had dozens of them - partly because her sister, my Aunt Joyce, was quite fond of gifting her with pjs on many occasions:-) After Mema died, Kimberly gathered a number of these PJs and had them made into a quilt - two quilts actually. One for my mom and one for Aunt Joyce. They are beautiful and a perfect memorial for my Mema who loved being warm and who warmed our souls as well.

And if all that wasn't enough fun, we also had snow. Not quite a White Christmas, but the day after. It was beautiful and enough for the girls to stomp around in.

And if that wasn't enough fun for one week...while Poppy and Nanny were here, we decided to cap off Christmas with our first ice skating trip. Natalie and especially Abby, have long been expert "sock skaters" (sliding around the kitchen floor in their socks shouting, "wee, wee look at me, this is fun!" Unfortunately, ice skating wasn't nearly as successful.

We headed out to Hillsborough Sports Plex and after some trial and error with sizes, we laced up our skates. That's where the fun ended. Poor little Natalie and Abby couldn't even stand up NOT on the ice. Keep in mind that Ben has never been ice skating and I went for the first time in 20 years this summer. I also have an exaggerated fear of falling. Put us all on the ice (Ben and I clinging desperately to the edge and the girls clinging desperately to us), and well, it wasn't pretty. Natalie and Abby were crying and sobbing and begging to get off the ice.

Fortunately, the rink has these amazing gadgets that are basically old people walkers for the ice - child size. The kid holds on to the walker and mom or dad pushes the walker. Instant fun.

Natalie loved it. Mommy did too. No longer impeded by the fear of falling and breaking my wrist, I could fly like Michelle Kwan. With the wind in our hair, we breezed around the rink and Natalie beamed.
Unfortunately, Abby had already been traumatized and not even the thrill of speed could endear her to ice skating. She could just never keep her little ankles straight and her experience is pretty much summed up by this shot:

In the end, it was decided that they would stick to sock skating for a while:-)

So, Christmas is over for another year and I have a feeling Abby will be counting the days until Santa comes again. She's already stated a few times how much she misses him. I really loved this year's Christmas Season - decorating our new home, buying stuff for the girls, visiting with family and friends, and remembering the birth of our Lord and Savior. I am excited to see what this year brings and can't wait to deck the halls in only ...349 more days!

A few more Christmas pics:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lots of fun to read. Love the bow on Uncle Jeff's head!
Aunt Susie