Tuesday, December 7, 2010


We have been celebrating December with joy in our hearts, Christmas songs (we love the a cappella group Straight No Chaser and several other favorites) on our playlist, and at least one special festive project or activity each day. My goal is to do something Christmassy each day until Christmas Eve, but we'll see how that goes... In the meantime we have been reading Christmas stories by our tree and enjoying our traditions this week.

DECEMBER 1st: Get The Tree Day

 We began the first day of December with our "cone-iferous" advent calendar of course. Katie loved the Hershey's Kiss hiding underneath. Then we took a picnic breakfast to one of our favorite parks and ate and played "hide-n-seek." I have Eric zoom around in my arms to find his sister, and we all have fun with that game. We then went back home and met my dad, who helped us get our tree this year.

 A little out of order...but this was after we'd finished decorating. We relaxed with candy canes and danced to The Nutcracker (which we saw on Thanksgiving weekend). Katie loves the Chinese Dance and Russian Dance. I spin her very fast on the Russian Dance.

Santa's little helper!
Katie picked out an angel for the top of our tree this year, as our star had a habit of bending over. We love our angel.
With the kiddos in our Christmas jammies before bed, enjoying our tree.

Picking out the tree together---Eric's first tree!

DECEMBER 2nd: Making Fudge

Katie, Eric, and I made fudge on this day, and then we took some of it to our TVHS friends at the book club meeting. I have decided that I cannot be trusted around fudge this year. I might make another batch for our party this weekend, but I have to figure out a way to make sure that most of it is eaten by other people. I think fudge might be my biggest craving this season so far...

DECEMBER 3rd: Ice Skating

On Friday we went ice skating at the rink in Old Town Temecula. There is so much Christmas spirit in our city, and everywhere there are seasonal things to see and do and enjoy. I have only ever been ice skating twice (as of Friday) in my life, and this was Katie's first time. My mom has more experience, and she helped to teach Katie. Although Katie was a little unsure of her feelings about ice skating, she has since talked about wanting to go again several times. I loved it this time, and I am eager to try again, too. I always think of the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "Skating" composition for A Charlie Brown Christmas when I think of ice skating.

 We warmed up to get a feel for our blades.

 After a few turns around the wall, Katie was ready to explore: she pulled me out into the center! I was super motivated not to fall because I didn't want to pull Katie down. We did fairly well balancing together.

Hey, is this easy?

DECEMBER 4th: A Christmas Carol at the Old Town Theater

Ever since we bought tickets to see A Christmas Carol, I have been telling Katie pieces of this famous Dickens tale to prepare her for her theater experience, and we have also watched the Patrick Stewart version. Something about the story resonates with Katie, and it is, by FAR, her favorite Christmas story, movie, etc. this year. For a couple of weeks now, she has had us playing in the role of Marley and Scrooge---almost constantly when we are free-playing at home. She has even gotten into some Dickens' language, and I have explained some of the similes and old expressions to her. She does not like the Ghost of Christmas Future, so we leave that one out usually. I am tickled silly, of course, being an English major and teacher, that she loves Dickens' work and understands it. Moreso, it gives us a way to talk about some important Christmas themes: compassion, charity, humility, grace, joy, Christmas spirit in the heart, etc.

We went to see the live performance with my mom on Saturday:
 Watching the orchestra tune before the performance begins.

 Pretty ladies after the show.
 Excited for the show to begin.
 Looking at my daughter with contentment.

Katie and Max, the Grinch's dog. Katie likes how The Grinch, of course, has much in common with Scrooge.

DECEMBER 5th: Gingerbread House Day

We make a gingerbread house every year! I don't have a picture of the finished house yet, but here are a few from our day on Sunday.

 The kiddos and I walked to one of our favorite parks for some playtime.

 Walking home, we crunch the leaves and sing a "crunch the leaves" song.

Katie begins to decorate our gingerbread house.

DECEMBER 6th: Christmas Present Shopping Day

My mom and I had our annual "Christmas Shopping at the Mall" Day on Monday. I try to avoid the mall lately, and I have done almost all of my Christmas shopping online this year (it is much easier, with two kiddos). Still, I had one exchange gift left to get at Williams-Sonoma and was also looking for a Christmas Eve outfit. It was a marathon Christmas shopping day. I used an old Macy's gift card on some more Christmas tree Spode for our Christmas Eve breakfast, and I also found Eric's "Baby's First Christmas" ornament this year. Very exciting purchases, and the gift cards took some of the edge off.

Eric and Katie also met Santa!

 Waiting in line to meet Santa....

 Happy to meet Santa! Santa was magical this year---there has even been a good editorial written about this Santa in the local paper this year. He seems uncommonly kind and gentle and patient, and when I talked with him he had a twinkle in his eye. He told me how much it meant to him to be Eric's "first" Santa---that was really neat and I could tell that feeling was coming from his heart. I saw him be patient and kind with the children in front of us, even getting on the floor for one who was especially scared. It was fascinating that Katie liked this Santa. She had the opportunity to meet "Santa" last year and said she could tell that one wasn't real (at two-years-old!!!), but she took one look at this Santa, and she was convinced. He even had me believing again...

I love this picture of both of them. This is one good Santa this year. Temecula got lucky that Santa is taking time from his North Pole duties to come visit our city!

This is a time for a festive heart! Happy Christmas season to everyone!