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Monday, December 22, 2014


Christmas is heavily observed in our house.  Less from the religious angle, we enjoy so much of the warmth and sharing of Christmas, the abundant light in the darkest part of the year, time with friends and family, treasured traditions, the music, the good cheer and goodness that abounds (mostly) everywhere you go.  Christmas is such an open-hearted time of year and so many things seem possible.  

We rather seriously decorate our house for Christmas, with a strong emphasis on the snowman.  There are lights strung,  Santa bath mats, a Christmas village, Christmas throw blankets and accent pillows, holiday welcome mats, jingle bells and candles on timers in all 28 windows.  Sometimes I feel a bit like a Who down in Who-ville when Sandi says to me, "Really?  Our tree topper doesn't light up?"  

I can't quantify the amount of time it takes to decorate and undecorate for Christmas except to say that in our minds it is worth it.  And then Ella says to me the other day: "When I grow up I'm going to decorate like so and so.  There is Christmas stuff EVERYWHERE in her house."  

This Christmas season in an ongoing attempt to preserve my sanity, I am doing less. I am made the decision to really and truly not embark on my over-the-top holiday baking.  I said that last year and only managed a down-scale.  This year, though, I was very clear there was simply no way to fit it in.  

Except of course, the staples of holiday baking tradition with the girls. 

Ella has taken to borrowing my headbands and scarves and let me say I am entirely flattered that this fashionista likes my things. 
Our family takes tree selection very seriously.  There is generally a lot of trekking and comparing and back and forth with lots of contemplation with discussion dedicated to the height and the girth and attempts to find a tree you had previously liked in a sea of trees that look nearly exactly the same.

This year we walked into the field and said of one in the first row, "That one looks good."  Wait.  That was much too easy.  So I offered the obligatory, "Well, have you seen THIS one over here?" and we hemmed and hawed for a weak 5 minutes and then went and chopped down the first one.  I think we are becoming light-weights.

We tried it in a new spot this year and I love it. 

Whenever I set a limit with myself something comes along to test it.  This year it was the Trek Across Maine fundraising bake sale.  Can I make cake pops again since they sold so well last year?  Sure I can!  I am a team player.  While being a brand spanking new homeschooler?  Yeah, maybe not.  If anything, this solidified for me that I simply couldn't do my traditional holiday baking.  I made about 80 of these bad boys and they seriously took me close to 8 hours total with all the various steps and the individual packaging.  

There was also the annual gingerbread making gathering.  Wow, are these kids getting big.  

simply beautiful

And a holiday play date with our favorite twins. 

These weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas always go way too fast for me.  As the kids are counting down the days until Christmas, I am begging time to slow down.  'Tis the season of letting people go in front of you, of holding the door, of having getting the mail be fun, of seeing grown men wearing Santa hats as you go about your day.  This year it also the year of talking to the lovely customer service people at American Girl a few too many times and of possibly abusing the benefits of Amazon Prime. 

These are some of my favorite days snuggled up in the cozy living room with Christmas music on, of the excitement and buzz and endless magic sharing this season with kids brings.  We started a new advent tradition of counting down the days of Christmas by  unwrapping a Christmas book each night (the kids love this and don't even care that these are our books that they have read so many times) which we will end with "The Night Before Christmas".  They get so excited to see what number we are on each night and unwrap the book!

This season also brings a bunch of busyness and overextending and I am working hard to stem that tide.  I am so treasuring my girls this holiday season.  They make everything about this time of year sparkle.  I lay in bed early a few morning ago, trying to get a restless Maya back to sleep so she wouldn't be up for the day at 4:40.  I swear there is nothing sweeter in the world than tracing the curve of your child's nose with the tip of your own.  I read a quote recently: you will never have anything more valuable around your neck than the arms of your child.  How very true.  I see things people write this time of year about missing their loved ones who have passed away and I am gratefully reminded to relish my life.  

So my favorite thing about this Christmas season so far (I will tell you about my second favorite thing in follow up post) is a story about, you guessed it, our hilarious Maya.  Every now and then Maya's hearing loss provides some really awesome comic relief.  Sandi had pulled up a video for us to watch of some gowned and glamed female singers performing a song (I believe it was "Away in a manger").  Maya took it all in and when it was over she asked, "Why are they singing about baby Cheez-its?"

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