Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

This year was another wonderful holiday season for our family.  I count it as a blessing that everyone in our families are healthy this year and we were able to celebrate the season together.  This is something I used to take for granted but as I get older I consider it a blessing indeed.  

The girls are at the age where they are familiar with the Christmas season and look forward to it all - the goodies to eat, the parties with family and friends, singing Christmas carols, picking out gifts for others, thinking of gifts they would like to receive, sitting on Santa's lap, celebrating Jesus' birthday, looking at the Christmas lights at all the houses, etc.  There really is so much that makes this season special and they are really tuned into it this year!

Julia had a day project at school to draw and write about their favorite holiday tradition.  She wrote her favorite thing is going to MomMom and PopPop's house for Christmas Eve and seeing all her cousins and family and eating dinner there and seeing Santa visit the house.  It warms my heart that she is more focused on spending time with family than the presents of Christmas morning.

Each year the Cochlear Implant group at Emma's hospital has a Christmas party with a visit from Santa.  Emma fell quick and hard in LOVE with Santa!  She was squealing and screaming and kicking her legs to get over to him.  We had no idea she would react this way because last year she wasn't so happy with Santa.  Each encounter with Santa during the season got the same reaction - lots of love!  I could swear that I sometimes see sunbeams shooting out of Emma's head and eyes.  She is so expressive and full of happiness and sunshine and it is so hard to feel sadness when you are in her company.  It's an amazing gift that she has and she is more than willing to share it with everyone she meets!  I can assure you that Emma's reaction to Santa over the season had more than a few people smiling wider than usual.

This year we continued some old traditions and made a few new ones.

  • The girls and I made another gingerbread house.  We use a pre-made kit because I don't really like to bake all that much.  This year we finished the kit in record time - our attention span for it was a bit less than last year.  Emma's school Christmas party had graham cracker houses for us to decorate and the girls really seemed to enjoy that!  They each had a house to decorate and the teacher had a sheet of paper made up with the symbols for each of the candy on it so Emma could choose what she wanted to use to decorate.  I loved that idea!  I think I'll do that for our family gingerbread house next year if Emma doesn't have another communication system in place by then.  This meant that our gingerbread house count for this year was a whopping 3.
  • We did a lot of family movie nights where we watched the Christmas movies on TV.  We turned out the lights, left on the Christmas tree lights and spread some blankets and pillows on the floor, added a bit of snacks and enjoyed the night together.  These nights are some of our best times together.
  • The girls and I attended the sing at the senior center again this year.  My Mom's group from when Julia was born still gets together frequently and one of the girls coordinates visits to the senior center that her mother-in-law attends.  The seniors love seeing the kids, the kids LOVE to perform for the audience, and there is a bunny there that gets lots of extra attention from all the kids.  This is such a great activity for the children and it really is a great way to put the spirit of the season into action.
  • Julia helped me bake Christmas cookies again this year.  She gets better and better every year and is quite creative in her colors and shapes.  She is also a master taste-tester of the cookies which could be why we didn't have too many extra to share with friends this year.  Did I mention that I don't love to bake?  Well, I do like it but only in moderation and when you pair this with a house of taste-testers doesn't give me lots of extra cookies for sharing outside of our get-togehters.   The cookies were very good again this year and next year I'm thinking of picking a signature cookie and making extra of that kind only and sending them out to friends.  Here's to hoping!

  • On Christmas Eve we laid out cookies and a note for Santa, sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn and then went to the same mass with my parents and headed back to there house for a light dinner.  We sang some Christmas carols and a few of the girls played some carols on the piano.  On Christmas day we did karaoke with the new machine that Mary got from Santa.  It was great fun even if it wasn't so great on the ears.  Also, each of the children performed after dinner.  There was some piano playing, flute playing, irish dancing, and standing.  It really is nice to see everyone showcase their talents!  

  • Chris' parents came over for Christmas breakfast and it was so nice!  The girls loved showing off their presents and playing with MomMom and PopPop.  It made for a very nice morning and we hope to have them over again.  

PopPop loved his gift so much he actually hugged the box!  Horray!
Happy Birthday, Jesus!  I hope we manage to keep the spirit of the season alive throughout the year.

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