Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010

Every year on Christmas Eve we head to my parent's church for mass and then back to their house for some good food and great company and a visit from Santa Claus.  The kids love spending time with each other and opening a few (ahem....a LOT) presents before heading home to bed in hopes that Santa did indeed have them on his GOOD list.  And, of course they all were on the good list :-)

By the time Chris and I get home it is quite late with quite a bit to do that includes getting our breakfast casserole ready for the morning and helping Santa arrange all his presents "just so" under the tree.  Then, we kick back with a drink, some Christmas carols and only the tree lighting up the house.  It's a brief bit of quiet bliss before the morning starts the festivities again and it's a favorite of our Christmas traditions.

This year Santa had the girls on the VERY GOOD list.  Did you know he had a very good list?  I didn't, but he explained to me that I had never made it past the GOOD list so he wasn't surprised to find out that I didn't know about the VERY GOOD one.  Hmm.....I wonder if this has anything to do with how much he liked Julia's cookies?  They were very tasty and decorative! 
This year was a bit of a magical year for Julia.  I think at the age of 5 you are so filled with wonder and excitement that everyone around you can't help but be filled with eager anticipation for Jesus' Birthday and everything that comes along with His birthday!  She loved every one of her gifts and has been playing with each and every one of them every day and I think the joy of playing with the new toys will take a long time to wear off.  Santa brought her the cash register, walking kitty and tea set that she wanted and he also thought to include Cinderella's Wedding Gown and a play school set.  When it was time to get dressed Julia donned the wedding gown and wore it all day!  She told me that when she was on Santa's lap she told him that we are going to Disneyworld next year and that is the reason he brought the Cinderella dresses for her and Emma.  Thank you Santa for being so thoughtful!
Finnegan meets the walking cat while lounging on the blanket and playing with the sock puppet Santa left for her.
Emma was sound asleep not a bit worried about Santa's arrival but her slumber was cut a bit short when Julia decided to wake up early.  We managed to coax her to wake up enough for us to venture out into the living room as a family, but she really started to wake up when Julia helped her look at all her new toys.  She received a Barbie and Pony and the Pony walks when you press the button on his back.  The pony caught me off guard with how quickly he walks and Barbie took quite a few spills on her Pony!  I'm glad to say that Emma has not seen any similar falls during her weekly pony rides at The Center - thank goodness!  She also was thrilled with her Penguin Race game that I added a battery interrupt switch to so she can activate it with her switch.  I am hoping this will help us teach her stop and go better since she doesn't seem to want to ever stop on her Cooper Car that we are using to get her ready for a power wheelchair.  So far she is a bigger fan of go than stop with the Penguins, too, but I think it is just a matter of time before she starts to play the Stop/Go game with me and the Penguins.  A remote control puppy was also a big present for her.  It is so cute!  He is a yellow lab and will walk, sit and bark based on the buttons you push on his bone shaped remote control.  I plan to add these commands to her iPad so she can see very quickly that when she pushes a command on the iPad that something happens.  I hope she has fun with this one as I am always looking for more ways to motivate Emma to communicate other than her smile, cry and eye gaze.  She also received Cinderella's Wedding Dress and a big girl tray table that will go over her ChildRite chair when it is set on some wood to elevate her feet a bit.  Julia loves the tray table and has already made a request that Santa puts another one of them in his bag for her next year.  Oh, how I got a laugh out of that one - with Santa scarcely out of our house we are already thinking up things for next year!

Two other presents that were instant hits came from the grandparents.  Julia received a pink microphone and immediately put on a show for us after dinner that would have rivaled Hannah Montana (and yes, she received that movie which she loves and will likely use as inspiration for more of her performances).  She started out a little shy since this was the first time she wasn't using a baby bottle as a microphone, but eventually started dancing around, taking the microphone out of the holder, rocking the stand back and forth and doing turns.  I captured some of the performance on video and will post a bit at another time.  Emma received a pink hippo tent and when she realized what it was when I opened it she squealed out loud and gave such a happy reaction.  She didn't react much to the rest of the presents other than interest, so I was more than thrilled to see her reaction to the tent.  She has been playing in it quite a bit and it usually rocks back and forth from all her laughter in it.  The tent folds flat when not in use which makes me super duper happy, and it is large enough when opened  up that Julia can wheel her tea set right into the tent and have a tea party with Emma while Emma watches Beauty and the Beast on the DVD player which is something they did on Christmas morning.  
Christmas day was spent playing with the new toys and eating some yummy food.  Both sets of parents were able to join us for dinner at our house and I was so pleased to use the plates I inherited from my Nan.  It was a lovely meal filled with laughter and love and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and ate a delicious cake made for Him for dessert.  This really was a magical Christmas.  

I know that many people that read this blog are always on the lookout for good presents for children like Emma, so I've included the links to some of the items she received (note:  The item was not necessarily purchased where the link leads you to because I just included a link to the first item that popped up in my google search!) in case you were wondering.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Kisses

Emma has started giving kisses lately - both unsolicited and solicited.  She gave Chris many, many kisses the other night after Julia's school Christmas party.  She loved when we told her to give Daddy kisses and she would turn and open her mouth and place it on his cheek.  She did this over and over again giggling the whole time.  Chris just loved it!

The other night after a round of heavy duty playing before bedtime (thus her disheveled look!), I held Emma on my lap and she lifted herself up and planted a kiss right on my cheek.  She was so happy with herself!  And, I was thrilled with the gift of her kiss.  Chris thought to grab the camera and take a few photos that I share with you here.  This was truly a magical moment for me.

We hope you experience some magic this Christmas season.  Merry Christmas to you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Santa

Julia wanted to write a letter to Santa the other day and asked me to write it for her.  She dictated it to me because she thought it would take her too long if she wrote it.  Here is the letter:

Dear Santa,
I've been a good girl.  My sister has been, too.  I love you.  I hope you have a great time having my cookies.  I would like a walking cat, a cash register and a tea set.

Sooooo cute.  I love how she tells Santa that her sister has been good, too.  She is always looking out for Emma.  I just love how she tells him to have a good time eating her cookies!  We've been baking a lot and she keeps telling us not to eat the cookies because they are for Santa.

I'm looking forward to seeing if Santa leaves Julia and Emma a note like he did last year because I'm sure he won't leave any cookies on the plate :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mall Santa

On Friday the girls dressed up in some Christmas outfits and we headed to the mall to see Santa.  This is the first time they've ever been to see the mall Santa up close.  We've looked at him from afar the past few years but never ventured up to sit on his lap.  This year we decided it was time to pay him a visit.

I was thrilled that we arrived to see Santa waiting just for us - there was not a child in line!  He seemed to have a steady stream of visitors after us, but I think timing our visit to him with the last day most public schools are in session and are having their holiday parties was a good plan.  Julia walked right up to Santa and had a long chat with him while I took Emma out of her chair and fixed her outfit and handed her over to Santa.  Emma was NOT pleased at all to be with Santa and started screaming crying immediately.  Thankfully, though, the mall Santa has a secret weapon - lots and lots of people walking by his throne.  Emma had to stop crying to get a good look at all the people walking around.  She is just that nosy!  And, while she forgot about being on Santa's lap I started playing peek-a-boo with her while the photographer snapped a few photos and we ended up with a pretty good photo with Santa.  I can't get over how much Julia looks like a little lady in this photo.  I think she doesn't have a smile because there were so many photos taken and I guess the person selecting the photo to print focused on the best one of Emma thinking we didn't want to capture the blood curling screaming moments before she smiled.  I do want it to go on record that Julia did have a smile for a lot of the time she was sitting with Santa, though.

Since our visit with Santa took about 5 minutes total we had time to hit a few stores and finish up all our Christmas shopping.  The crowds were pretty heavy even at 10:30 am and were outrageous when we left around 12:30 pm.  Thankfully, we shouldn't have to visit the mall any more before Christmas because I don't deal so well with the huge crowds.

Here are a few photos I snapped of the girls when we stopped to throw a few pennies in the fountain - our one tradition each time we visit the mall because a girl can never have too many wishes!

Speaking of wishes, I want to take a moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recap of my day

Today was just filled with FUN!  It's the kind of day that just fills me with all kinds of happiness!

Emma went to school this morning and Julia and I hung out for a bit - had some breakfast, did some shopping, made some cookies, wrapped some presents, played house.  Then, we went to pick Emma up from school, found out she was having a happy day so we stayed for circle time and the craft before coming home.  Once home, I took out the iPad and asked Emma if she wanted to go for a nap and she said no.  I asked her if she wanted to watch a tv show with Julia and she said yes - 3 times.  We are trying hard to establish a consistent Yes/No response in Emma again and when I asked her about the tv I was certain she was answering what she wanted because I asked her multiple times and she responded the same way each time.  I consider this progress.  After watching a bit of Dinosaur Train, Emma went down for a nap and Julia and I ate a late lunch and then decided to play downstairs.

Emma took a very short nap today, so when she woke up I brought her downstairs to play with us and we managed to play for over 2 hours until Chris came home to no dinner but a happy, giggly bunch of girls.  We had a tea party and did some flash cards.  Emma used her iPad to tell me she had enough of the cards and I consider that progress, too.  Then, Julia built a beach retreat out of blocks and Emma commando crawled with very little assistance into the retreat.  We followed it up with a snack and then Julia put on a show for us.  She is quite the performer which is so funny given that she is quiet and reserved in front of new people but is always ready to show off her singing and her dancing.

For today's performance she donned a costume and used a baby bottle for a microphone, put on her high heels and jumped on the coffee table stage.  Emma had a front row seat and cheered her on the whole time.  When I started singing along Julia told me that only she and Emma could sing because it was their show.  Oops...I think Julia has figured out that I sing terribly off key.  Then, Julia had to go backstage to change costumes and Emma guarded her door from fans and then she was back on stage for another song.  Since I had my camera downstairs I managed to snag a few photos of the big concert to share with you.

First Act, outfit complete with high heels
Changing Outfits, Emma as Bodyguard
Second Act
Emma is her biggest fan!

Julia adds in some fancy dancing to keep the crowd entertained
We finished off the afternoon with a friendly soccer game where Emma was running around in her KidWalk with me helping to steer it while she consistently kicked the soccer ball and played a game with Julia.  Both girls were in fits of giggles and my heart was filled with joy by the time the game was over.  Chris came home to a happy house, even if it wasn't filled with any semblance of a dinner.

I did manage to heat up some leftovers and then we rounded out the night with a dance party before putting the girls to bed.  I just love these kinds of days.  Even if Emma is screaming her head off that we put her to bed.  I don't think she wanted the fun to end!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hopeful Parents

My post this month went up at Hopeful Parents yesterday.  I particularly like the message I wrote in this one, so I'm going to repost it on my blog for you to read.  Here is what I wrote:

We are a family that is often on out and about in our community.   We like to participate in local events, visit museums and zoos, grab a bite to eat at restaurants and generally have a good time.  I have always been the out and about type, but I find that our adventures outside our house now include more conversations with random strangers then ever before.
Emma is three years old and attracts quite a bit of attention to herself.  She is all smiles and flirty with people we meet in public.  She has the most amazing eyes and people are just drawn to her and come over and start to strike up a conversation.  Emma is quite hospitable to them for a couple of minutes before she looks around to find another person to lure into her web while she leaves me holding up a conversation with the stranger.  This could be because Emma doesn't talk so her conversations with the strangers are very short, but I think the reason I am left to hold up the conversation is more because people seem to want to know - why is Emma in a wheelchair and not talking, what is it like to be her parent, etc.  And so as often as not they continue to stand around wanting to talk with me long after their "chat" with Emma has ceased.
I have gotten good at managing these conversations, and have a variety of responses ready based on our available time and how much I like the person.  One group that seems to be fond of Emma and wanting to talk to me is the little old lady.  I'm sure you've met her.  She is the one who generally says something to the effect of "God only gives children like this to parents who can handle it."  Oh, boy!  Although I have a few responses at the ready, I often quote Mother Theresa in response - "I know God will not give me anything I cannot handle.  I just wish he didn't trust me so much."  
But, the other day I came out with an entirely different response.  
We were out eating lunch and the owner came over to talk with the girls and give them a little present.  She was a lovely woman who had a nice way about her - she treated Emma great by speaking directly to her and wasn't a bit patronizing at all but she was very curious.  And, in the course of the conversation she had to say it - "You know, God only gives children like this to parents who can handle it."  And immediately a great feeling of love came over me and I heard myself saying that she is right.  My husband and I must have done something right to be so blessed with both our girls.  That only we are able to know how truly wonderful it is to have Emma and Julia with us day in and day out.  And then she looked at me like I must be crazy!  Because she can't even begin to understand my life.  
Other people capture glimpses of our life.  Feeding Emma while my plate grows cold.  Carrying her around and helping her play with other kids.  Lifting her wheelchair in and out of the van, going down the slides at the playground with her, acting as Emma's arms and legs in her daily life.  Checking to make sure her cochlear implants are working correctly.  What they really see is all the work involved with raising Emma and they see me doing all this while managing to ensure our typically developing almost 5 year old is getting all the love and attention that she needs.  
And while raising Emma does require more work than raising typically developing children who can talk, hear, and move on their own, I find that it is often filled with great joy to counter-balance the work.  
What people don't see when they glimpse a brief moment of our day is the true picture of life with Emma.  They don't see how our family is just like any other family in our own house when the door closes.  They don't see how Emma acts like a typical 3 year old - using her crawler to get around and into her toys, watching the cartoons on the couch with her sister, playing hide and seek and giggling all the time giving away where she is hiding, building forts and laughing heartily while she is in them, looking at everything her sister is doing and trying her best to imitate her, moving her feet in her gait trainer trying to walk to her destination, using her iPad to sometimes give silly responses to our questions while she gives us a mischievous grin and laughs before she decides to give us the right response.  You see, the truth is that at home, behind closed doors, is when real magic unfolds.  
So now I think I have my response to the one liner that I hear all too often.  I will say, that I am truly lucky that God thinks I can handle this much happiness.  If only everyone was as lucky.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Giveaway to know about - Xbox with Kinect

Emma isn't talking yet and we are working hard on giving her a voice.  We are working with Emma's therapists and using an iPad, some PECS and switches and I am finding it very challenging (and exhausting!).  I know other parents are in similar situations - where we as parents are desperate to give our child a voice - and it is from those parents that I get some great, real-life ways to get the best bang for our efforts with operation give Emma a voice.

One family I've been following on the blogosphere for a while is Nathan's family.  I have to say, this is one amazing little boy!  Like Emma, he is not verbal right now but making great strides in communicating with a communication device (Nathan is using a Dynavox with eye gaze).  Right now his wonderful mom Marcela is soliciting ideas for what to program into Nathan's communication device.

I have to say that I'm so excited about this because the ideas she is getting are giving me some ideas to use with Emma.  The other reason I'm excited is that for each idea submitted you are entered in a drawing to win an Xbox with Kinect.  I know Chris would be over the moon if he was to get an Xbox under the tree this year from Nathan.

So, click here and go over to to find out more about the contest and submit your ideas.  And, if you win the Xbox and are looking for a good home for it feel free to send it our way :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Party

Tonight was the fantastic holiday party at Julia's school!  It's the second year we attended and it is just so much fun for the girls.  There are 10 classrooms set up with a different craft in each room.  World holidays are represented and each one has at least one craft, but Christmas has the most crafts dedicated to it.  
This year we decided to use Emma's KidWalk instead of her wheelchair.  The tables are very small for the pre-schoolers and they are too low for the wheelchair but the perfect height for the KidWalk.  It was a great decision to use the KidWalk and Emma did well moving her feet to walk while I assisted her from the back.  The only downside was she kept losing her right shoe.  The girls wore some party clothes and Emma needed her red sparkly shoes to go with her outfit and of course an AFO does not go in the red sparkly shoes.  So, that meant she did quite a bit of walking with some bare feet.  She didn't seem to mind in the least and we didn't mind making an exception on her shoes for the night.
Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped in for a visit and some photos and this year Julia had a long conversation with them that ended with her giving Santa a hug.  My, my how my little girl is growing up.  Last year she wouldn't go near Santa and this year she is hugging him.  Emma is another story.  She didn't mind Santa at all until this year and she was screaming crying when we put her on his lap even with me standing right next to her.  Looks like we'll have to wait another year to get a photo of Santa with both girls.
 When we came home I took some photos of the girls in front of our Christmas tree.  Julia had a lot of questions about the tree.  Most of them had to do with the size of the area under the tree and if there was enough room for Santa to leave ALL THE PRESENTS under.  I told her Santa usually only leaves a few presents and she said he definitely leaves more than a few presents - he leaves lots of them and needs lots of room around the tree.  I'm sure we will discuss this again since Christmas happens to be one of her favorite conversations in the car.  This morning she was talking about how we need to leave cookies and milk out for Santa and can't forget a carrot - no, 2 carrots - for the reindeer.  I think tomorrow morning I will steer the conversation to what type of birthday cake we should make for baby Jesus so we can refocus a bit more onto the true meaning of Christmas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Simplifing and Other Random Happenings

Our life is constantly in motion.  There are school schedules, extra-curricular activities, therapy sessions, family function, field trips, doctor appointments, more therapy sessions.  Whew!  I know that so many people are juggling just as much and maybe more than us, but the pace is starting to get to me.  So, I've made the decision to cut-back on what we do each week.  To unplug a bit more, recharge our batteries, enjoy down time as a family.

It's a bit strange of a time to make this decision, but we already started paring back a bit on our activity.  On Friday we skipped our typical Field Trip Friday since both Julia and I just wanted to stay at home and Emma decided to sleep until 10 am leading me to believe she wanted the same thing!  I recorded High School Musical earlier in the week and we spent the morning on the couch watching the movie.  Julia rated it very highly saying she likes it as much as Camp Rock 2:  The Final Jam which is her favorite movie these days.  

We've pulled out our holiday books and added a new one to the stash this year - Llama Llama Holiday Drama and it's a hit.  I love reading it and the girls love listening to it.  If you are looking to add a book to your Christmas library, put this one on your list.  Santa also left Julia a copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at a party we were at on Friday night for the Cochlear Implant group at our hospital.  I'm planning to read it to the girls tomorrow night.  The books we are reading sometimes a bit longer and it's nice to have less commitments at night so we can devote more time to the night routine that we love.  

This weekend us girls made a Gingerbread house.  Well, really Julia and I made the house from a kit that Aunt Mary Lou gave us (thank you!).  Emma was our chief cheerleader and candy stealer.  She sat in her ChildRite chair and was able to lift her arms up to the table top (Go, Emma, Go!) and then grab the candy over and over and drop it on the floor to Finnegan.  She loved this and was not the least bit interested in putting candy on the house so we gave her the rolling pin to play with as the candy started to get scarce.  Julia was very intent on making the house look like the picture and I was amazed with how much patience she had with the whole process.  She is really good at this!  I think we might have to make this an annual tradition because both girls really enjoyed it.  

We also have a break from ice skating lessons for the rest of the month, leaving us with another night to read books and play and incorporate the iPad with Proloquo2go into our schedule.  We are working so hard to give Emma a voice with expressive language and the truth is it is a bit exhausting, so the more down time we have to just play and use it in our everyday situations the better.  Also, Emma can tell when we are working on language and pretty much refuses to play along, but when we are just playing and incorporating language she tends to do some good things.  Today she burped a few times and we always laugh when she burps and she laughs, too.  It's our thing.  Silly, but it's a way she can join in some fun.  Today I said "Emma, you burped.  Can you say burped?  Burped?  What a silly word, burped!  Do you want to say burped?" and I could swear she said "Bur".  Really.  Clear as day.  She does stuff like this sometimes and mostly when we are playing.  It gives me hope that she is learning everything we are doing with her. 

And so while we are trying to cut back on everything, I am also thinking about Christmas break and how it would be great if Emma could do 20 HBOT dives and an intensive of ABM (Anat Baniel Method) therapy.  I'm not sure if we'll do either of them during the break because it requires travel, money and time, but I'm sure we'll be happy with the decision we make.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Emma school update

Something really great happened last week.  After two months of Emma crying at school - sometimes so uncontrollably that I was called back to school - she stopped cold turkey on a day that I was sure would be a tear jerker for her.  Hmm....shows how much my girl likes to keep me on my toes.  

Emma had off for 12 days straight at Thanksgiving and I was so worried about her first day back after the long break.  I was prepared for a lot of crying but my little turkey was all smiles and kicking her feet in excitement as we entered school.  Then, she didn't even give me a glance, a tear, a moan, or any acknowledgement at all as she filed out of the cafeteria and went to her classroom with her classmates.  WOW!  She has come a long way.  

Everyone at the school noticed.  When I go to pick her up people come up to me in the hall telling me how good Emma did in school - no crying and she participated in her therapy sessions. They are finally seeing the happy, laughing side of Emma and I think they are finally beginning to think that I'm not so crazy when I tell them what Emma can do because they are starting to see some of her skills for themselves.  And, I think they are now quite smitten with her.  Actually, I'm noticing that Emma has quite a following at school.  The pre-school is our public elementary school and I'm surprised at how many older kids say "Hi, Emma" or "Bye, Emma!" as I'm taking her through the halls.  I ask Emma who they are and she just smiles at me :-)  It's a bit surreal to me that Emma has a portion of her life that doesn't necessarily include her family.  I had a similar feeling when Julia started school, too, but it's a bit more of a shock to me with Emma since she is literally joined at my hip many waking hours. 

Last week we also implemented some changes we made to her IEP (individual education plan).  Emma qualifies for pre-school services 5 full days a week, but much of that time would not be in an inclusion classroom.  After much discussion, we started Emma in pre-school for the typical inclusion hours only which is 3 days/week from 9-11:30am and one day she would stay for lunch.  Since we want her in the classroom as much as possible and with the many therapies she receives at school, we decided to adjust her schedule a bit.  She is now attending the 3 days/week and staying through lunch.  She now will be in the special ed classroom from 11:30am - 12:15 pm where she will work on some of her IEP goals without getting pulled-out from the inclusion classroom and that is working really for her.  She is also going to stay all 3 days for lunch.  The truth is that Emma will likely need help with feeding for a while and it is good for her to get used to having someone other than me, Chris and my Mom feed her.  With only staying 1 day/week for lunch Emma didn't have enough trust in her teacher to let her feed her and it was a no win situation.  This week I co-fed Emma with her teacher and Emma is much more open to eating when her teacher feeds her.  I gave quite a few tips to Miss Jackie so she can read Emma's non-verbal cues for her feeding and they are starting to get into a feeding rhythm together.  The lunch takes place in the four year old inclusion classroom so Emma is very distracted and not eating about half as much as she would at home, but I think that will change as she adjusts to the new lunch situation.  I'm excited about this change because Emma will be in the classroom more and have some extra one-on-one time to work on her goals in addition to having a more social eating situation (with other kids) 3 days/week.  

I'm hopeful that this week at school will go as smoothly as last week.  Now, if I could just get over the feeling of being a bit lost for the time when both my girls are in school I would say that I'm adjusting as good as Emma!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Carrying on a Christmas Tradition

When I was little we had a quite a few family traditions around the holidays, but the one I loved the most was our small Christmas tree.  No, the small tree was not our attempt to bond with Charlie Brown.  In fact, we had two trees - the main big Christmas tree in our living room that was our family tree and another table top tree downstairs that was just for me and my sister.  

I loved that little tree.  Me and my sister decorated the little tree however we wanted, but it usually consisted of the wide variety of homemade ornaments that we collected over our lifetime.  One of our other holiday traditions was making a handmade gift (usually and ornament) with our Mom.  But the real excitement came on Christmas morning.  After our upstairs presents were opened and our breakfast was over we would run downstairs to see if Santa left us anything under our tree.  We must have been good because he always did!  And, the present he left for us under the tree was always the gift that we REALLY wanted that year.  I still remember the excitement I felt running down the step to see if Santa remembered our tree downstairs.  

This year we decided to continue this tradition with the girls and tonight we put up our 4' artificial tree.  Chris was OK with bringing in a fake tree - one that GASP! has lights built onto it already - since we will continue our own tradition of visiting a Christmas tree farm to hunt down the perfect tree that Chris will chop down and will promptly take over as the focal point of our upstairs living space (our house is pretty small so that is easy to do!).  My Mom gave the girls a tree earlier this week and Julia was so excited to get the tree up and put on a few decorations.  The special decorations that went on the tree were ornaments the girls made at the paint your own pottery place a couple of weeks ago.  The place called to let us know the ornaments were ready so we picked them up today and it seemed like a great day to put up the tree. 

Emma was all smiles and laughter and didn't want to be contained in any seat at all so we put her in the KidWalk and she kept her spot by the tree.  Julia put on many of the ornaments because Emma was more interested in taking them off than putting them on.  Julia kept showing Emma how to put on the ornaments - especially the sparkly balls that she kept calling light bulbs.  I told her several times they were called balls but she kept calling them light bulbs without missing a beat and telling Emma all about the light bulbs.  It was so funny!  Emma managed to pull the tree over and catch it in the KidWalk and Julia promptly came to her rescue (not so sure Emma wanted such prompt help) and set the tree back on the ground properly.  

I'm so happy we are bringing the girls Christmas tree tradition into our family.  I wonder if Santa will remember to put some great gifts under the tree this year?  I'll be sure to tell him how good the girls were and point him in the direction of the little tree in case he has some special gifts in his bag.