Sunday, December 31

Building Traditions

Building family traditions where there were none - starting from scratch. It's been fun creating or trying to create the ideal Christmas for our girls -- even if it's just a brief illusion of their childhoods that may fade when the rest of the world starts to encroach on their innocence. But for now - helping to create that illusion and preserving it for as long as possible is one of the most enjoyable things about parenting and the holidays.

Our goals or vision of this holiday are pretty simple. Lot's of love, family and spirit. NOT a lot of running from place to crazy place. NOT buying, buying, buying the 'perfect' gifts for every one of our friends and acquaintances. NOT spending more than we can afford. NOT doing EVERYTHING. Just doing simple little things—memorable things that happen each year—things that the girls can count on that become part of the fabric of their lives.

We started this past year with Thanksgiving, making the full turkey dinner with my special home made cranberries. (We hosted this year, but aren't likely to host every year. Need to give some of the other family members a chance too)

Our family's holiday traditions will begin with Thanksgiving:

* Each Thanksgiving we will make a list of all we're thankful for.
* Each year I'll bake and decorate cookies with my girls
*peanut brittle
*snow cookies
*sugar cookies/
* Each year we'll host "Baking with the Aunties" day
* Each year the girls will get new pjs for christmas eve
* Each year the girls will give daddy slippers for christmas
* Christmas is a ham dinner
* Each New Year will make a list of all that we're hopeful for, resolutions, goals, etc. for the coming year
* Each year I'll put these into our family holiday album.

I'm sure we'll add some flavor and details as the years pass. (Next year? Magic raindeer food: oatmeal & glitter :-) Building memories...., Living it all again through the eyes of our children! There is no Christmas gift that can top that!

Wednesday, December 27

LIFE isn't a sporting event

"The point is that business is not a sporting event. Victory for one company doesn’t mean defeat for everyone else. Markets today are so big—the global video-game market is now close to thirty billion dollars—that companies can profit even when they’re not on top, as long as they aren’t desperately trying to get there. The key is to play to your strengths while recognizing your limitations. Nintendo knew that it could not compete with Microsoft and Sony in the quest to build the ultimate home-entertainment device. So it decided, with the Wii, to play a different game entirely. Some pundits are now speculating, ironically, that the simplicity of the Wii may make it a huge hit. Nintendo wouldn’t complain if that happened. But, in the meantime, third prize is looking a lot better than steak knives."

I found some wisdom in this. That LIFE isn't a sporting event and that not everything has to be a competition and, when it is, it's not necessary to always come out #1. The key is to play to your strengths while recognizing your limitations - regardless of what anyone esle is doing or saying that you should do. You know you. You know what your strengths and limitations are. Make the most of who you are not who someone else thinks you are.

Simple words but hard to live by.

Tuesday, December 26


On Christmas Eve Rachel and Alex were sure to leave hand made and decorated cookies with milk for Santa and carrots for the raindeer.

Once we put them in bed, Alex made me promise not to let the Cringe steal our Christmas and asked several times where Whoville is.

The next morning our little ones awoke at 6:00 a.m. - as usual. We on the other hand - were much more tired than usual. We had been up late the nite before - wrapping a few last minute gifts and working with Santa to arrange the presents under the tree and stuff the stockings. Rachel was just a little bit sick - just enough to wake up several times during the night and require a bit of comforting - further limiting our sleep the night before a VERY long, but (for the most part) happy day.

Our girls were comical. They were amazingly calm - sort of taking it all in as they looked at the presents. Not rushing in and ripping off the wrapping paper. Initially looking around with a glazed expression, Rachel was the first to see the lollipops sticking out of the top of her Christmas stocking.

"LOLLIPOPS!!" she shrieked.

So - 1st things 1st - the stockings. They really took their time - examining all the little presents that Santa had put in their stockings. When they found the mini piggy banks they were mesmerized and wanted money, money, money. They spent quite a while filling the banks w/ our spare change.

When they did move on to the presents under the tree it was great fun to watch them open the presents and spend a little time playing with each one. They were in heaven and I could feel the magic of Christmas. Simple and pure and fun.

We had to take a break when Rachel vomited onto the couch - which I was lucky enough to catch on video (ew!). Time to clean up and get a little bit of toast into the girls -- enough to settle Rachel's tummy and give them both a bit more energy. They returned to opening the presents with real enthusiasm and energy.

Next we went to church. Took a nap and started preparing for our holiday feast for 14 people.

The food was fantastic. I prepared the apetizers and Dave cooked the meal. We had a vegetable plate & dip, a fruit plate & dip, appricot brea, peanut brittle, ham, rice, sweet potatos, mashed potatos, cranberries, salad, peas, broccoli and two pumpkin pies. It was FABULOUS!! Shor tof my family not showing up with the food they had offered or commited to bringing - all was perfect. We had more than enough food and filled in rice for the missing stuffing, made our own salad and the other items weren't missed at all.

Ace brought along his son Tony with his wife, Rebecca and two kids, Sierra (18 months) and Hannah (8). They were the real treat of the day. Gracious and grateful guests, wonderful to talk with and their children were great with our kids. It was really nice to have other small kids in the house.

After exchanging gifts and packing up the extra food for everyone to take home, Dave and I cleaned up (mostly) and then collapsed into bed.

Santa called...,

Friday, December 22

If it's not the Box it's the Bubble Wrap

I think Rachel received her favorite Christmas gift today. I opened the box of gifts that Papa sent, ready to put the wrapped presents under the tree and Rachel shrieked with excitement!! I turned around and found her in the middle of a pile of bubble wrap - popping away.

She is so thrilled and, as I write this, is still happily busy pop-pop-popping. Alex, not to be left out of the action, showed Rachel how to jump on the wrap and pop lots of little bubbles at once.

Too funny. And thanks Papa for starting their Christmas fun a little early this year.

Christmas Snippets

“Oh you know what we haven’t figured out?” I mention to my husband on Christmas Eve.
“How to give the D-A-N-C-E L-E-S-SO-N-S as a G-I-F-T from S-A-N-T-A.”
“Hey!" Alex exclaims. "She speaks Spanish!!”


“Yes, Honey?”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m lighting the candles in the fireplace.”
“What? NO! Santa has to come down there!”
“Not to worry. I’ll put them all out before we go to bed and Santa will be safe.”
“OH. OK.”


A little bit of magic – by mommy…
I remember when I was a kid and watched my mom wrapping presents. I was in awe – I love all the colorful paper, tape, bows and ribbon. But I especially loved when my mom ripped the ribbed ribbon to make curlies. It was like magic. And today I saw that look. The look that says, “Wow, she’s magic.” My girls, who also love the whole gift wrapping process, watched me make curlie ribbon for the first time. They were just as amazed as I had been and, for me, the 2nd time around was just as magic as the first. It was sooooo great to watch them watch me and feel them feel that same awe over the magic of it all.

I think this is the best part of parenting – reliving childhood through the eyes and hearts of my daughters. Somehow it seems to help heal old wounds.


Friday, December 8

Love & Perfection

We don't love the people we love because they're perfect.
We love them because they are.