Sunday, December 26, 2010

An Astro Boy Christmas

Daniel and Violet were so much fun to watch all day yesterday. They are both at delightful ages and they were absolutely the life of the party (and consequently got seriously spoiled with gifts!).

Here are a few of my favorite memories of Daniel from this Christmas:

- Watching him go into overload over every gift and every detail. So much emotion!
- His last words on Christmas Eve before nodding off: "I love God. And I love my pajamas."
- Cuddling with him at naptime. He told me he loved me about a thousand times, hugged and kissed me over and over. He just melted my heart. I told Fernando it was a "naptime lovefest"!
- Enjoying Polar Express with him. He adored the movie - it will become a tradition, I'm sure.
- Watching him open the Astroboy Fernando ordered (from Japan!) for him. It was by his side all day - I'm sure it still is. A HUGE win for Daddy.
- Noticing him piling playfood into a makeshift grocery cart: Violet's new pink stroller.
- Capturing with my camera the "Christmas Cookie Face" - he about came unglued when he opened the gift of the one thing he's asked for: A Christmas Cookie. He then ate it and was on a sugar high for an hour.
- Playing with him outside on Christmas during the evening. Just playing. Running, tickling, hiding, chasing. He was my shadow and I loved it.

My favorite memory of all: Having to wake him up from nap for dinner... he was in a Christmas Coma. His eyes glazed over at the dinner table and he declared: "Daddy, my battery is all gone!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Perfect Christmas

I am actually writing this on Christmas evening... there are only a few minutes left of December 25th... but I wanted to write while it was still fresh. While I could still smell the relaxation and breathe in the Christmas glow.

This Christmas was simply perfect. It was the first Christmas in my own home and honestly, I enjoyed every minute of it. Home. Full of family, but at my home.

Christmas Eve morning was a blur of Seabird, "Christmas Eve Gift" (I won!), chocolate chip pancakes and last minute wrapping. Christmas Eve afternoon/evening was a blur of three crazy services at church that were actually quite a lot of fun. As soon as cleanup was done, we headed home for the best Christmas Eve in recent memory.

We ate a huge feast at a beautiful table then headed outdoors onto a patio Fernando had decorated as a surprise - it was dripping with white lights of all sizes. We made s'mores in our new fire pit, and sat around the fire singing (and making ash jokes) for hours. When Violet actually fell asleep in her swing, we put a hat and a blanket on her and kept on singing. Before bed, the kids opened their Christmas pajama gift and shocked us with the amount of excitement pajamas could elicit from kids. They haven't taken them off still - it's been over 24 hours.

Mema, Papa, TK and Kito all slept on the living room floor on air mattresses and stayed up even later watching movies. We enjoyed the luxury of our own beds and all slept in until nearly nine. The morning was full of presents and food - I so enjoyed treating the Arizona family to the Texas family traditions: Pullapart cake, breakfast burritos (with cranberry sauce!), strawberry Jell-O salad, and more.

The purple apron got some serious usage and Gramma was on my brain all day. I'm starting to understand her obsession with hosting. Recently when looking through her old cookbooks (shamelessly scavenging for good recipes) I found some of her "preparation pages" for when we'd come to visit. She'd have everyday planned in advance, with a list of our favorite dishes, coordinated to make sure each day had something amazing. I laughed at the time, but felt like hugging her for it today.

Everyone napped or just rested during the afternoon, watching movies and just lounging. I prepared dinner in the kitchen and honestly cannot remember every enjoying "kitchen time" that much. The recipes I made involved lots of time and preparation but instead of being a source of frustration, the effort was soothing. The stirring and mixing was calming and it was a perfect few hours of quiet cooking and reflection. The meal itself was a huge success - happy faces and full bellies all around.

We had so much fun we're doing it again tomorrow... Mema and Papa are coming back for dinner and sleepover round two tomorrow night.

I'll write about some favorite toys and memories in the kids' blogs tomorrow... but for tonight, I just wanted to try to capture the feeling. It really was everything a good Christmas should be and it had nothing to do with the gifts. I guess it never really does.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stage Fright and Cookie Incentives

So, bribery works. Cookie bribery specifically.

Daniel appeared TWICE this holiday season on the big stage - once for his weekday preschool (as a very dashing "Christmas Camel") and also in a giant choir of kids from the weekend classes at church.

He literally cried all the way through dress rehearsal (see photo on the left) for the big choir but after some very strategic incentivizing by Mommy, he did amazingly well during the actual performance (photo on the right). His lip quivered once, but after a thumbs up and a "cookie" hand symbol from me, he straightened up, put a huge smile on, and finished the song.

His appearance as a camel was rather unremarkable except that he was a CAMEL. It was adorable.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


Today, Daniel re-discovered dandelions.

It's so fun to watch the joy of discovery on his face.

And I know I complain about Phoenix, but I really do love that we live in a state where this re-discovery can happen in DECEMBER. In a patch of gorgeous, lush green grass.

Just don't ask me about it in August. Or May, June, July, September or October.