I love the whole idea of cookies at Christmas time. Though they are pretty easy to make, finding they are time consuming and finding that time isn't easy at all. However, it is completely worth the midnight effort when I get to see the concentrated looks on my little girls faces and all the "Mom! Look what I did!"s as they ice them up.
Tonight all five of us sat at the kitchen table and made it happen.
And it was fun!
Danica enjoyed a few handfuls of sprinkles.
Elodie thought it was a clothing-optional event. Again.
This is sooooo Ingrid's thing. She loves this kind of stuff.
Proud of herself - a rare moment.
The very best part of cookie decorating is licking all the icing that "accidentally" dripped onto your fingers.
No crumb left behind.
Even Derek got in on the action this time. He was very proud of his efforts.
I am so very thankful for technology, especially in these fleeting days of babyhood.
Danica has discovered that she can spin herself around and around in a dizzying circle. She thinks it hilarious. I think it's adorable.
See for yourself.
A small mountain of toys and presents have been making their way to our house one package at a time over the past two weeks or so.
A few of us are getting very, very excited by this and ask, repeatedly, if it's time to open the boxes. Ingrid, in particular, can't wait to get her hands on them. She has already devised a sorting and distribution plan.
It sure was cute to see Danica throwing herself into the mix, too, this year doing her baby best to tear off as much paper as her big sisters.
And now begins the torture of having to sit and look at all those prettily wrapped presents for the next two weeks, knowing they cannot touch them.
Once upon a time I used to think that going to see Santa too early in the season was a bad idea. I used to think it would get the children waaaaay too excited and we'd have to live with that for the rest of the month.
But then two things occurred to me - 1. line-ups at 8:25 on a Friday night early in December are virtually nil, and 2. the earlier I get our Santa pics in the bag, the sooner I can get our Christmas picture round up ready to go!
So we got all dressed up in our Christmas gear and headed out to see the jolly fellow in the flesh.
The anticipation of seeing Santa was over the top exciting. Little girl antics abounded.
Elodie did her three year old best to keep Danica settled and calm in her seat. Let me tell you, she had her job cut out for her! Danica is STILL not a happy car traveller. There are goldfish from one end of the van to the other to prove it.
Once we got in the line Elodie got even more excited and I was starting to feel confident that she just might not be afraid of Santa this year. Perhaps we'll finally get a picture without an elf in it?
Ingrid, however, grew more and more anxious about. You can almost hear the conversation going on in that beautiful little head of her's, willing herself to be cool, to not be scared.
At just 13 months old, Danica seems to be debating whether to like this guy or not. She's figuring it out I think.
While we waited, one of the elves talked to Ingrid for a bit. Ingrid was highly impressed that the elf knew she was holding an American girl doll in her arms. Later she said "Mom! They must be the real elves because she knew what my doll was! She probably makes them back at the North Pole!"
That is one head-0ver-heels, six year old believer. Awesome.
And... they did it! NO TEARS!!!!!!!!!
I have to say I'm pretty darn happy that we chose catholic school instead of public school. While I'm not exactly a bible thumping church goer, I do appreciate and respect my faith and am very happy that I don't have to teach it all to my children myself or sign them up for independent courses. The school does it all for us! Yeah!
I especially like that our children will understand the true meaning of Christmas almost exclusively with thanks to the school. This will be her third year celebrating Christmas at school and not once has Ingrid brought home any Santa inspired arts or crafts. With the exception of the paper plate Santa I made with her class last year for art-o-rama, of course. We take care of Santa. School takes care of Jesus. I think that's a great arrangement!
Ingrid may have hit the religious jackpot with her teacher this year. She seems particularly religious, perhaps even more that most. Ingrid had the same teacher for her JK year. After her first day at school that year she came home singing a prayer about Jesus loving her. For SK she had a very different teacher. We're talking 180 degrees different. And I honestly can't recall anything religious happening. Sure the school did their requisite stuff but there didn't seem to be anything extra in the classroom as had been the previous year.
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.
I'm happy we're back with our first teacher, for many reasons of course, by certainly not least of all for her enthusiasm for the holidays.
Today, on the first day of Advent, Ingrid brought home a big bag. In it was a plastic wreath, five (scented - blech!) candles, a song book, a story of Advent and a journal with instructions. The bag is to move throughout the class families, a new one each night, for Advent. We were instructed to light the first candle, read the story, sing an Advent song, and write a journal entry about it.
So we did it.
Ingrid was in her glory. I let her pick which song she wanted us to sing. She chose Away in a Manger and selected me to sing it, solo. As I started to sing the smoke and smells from the scented candle dried out my throat and I croaked my way through the first part of the song. But when Ingrid started "conducting" me I had a hard time keeping a straight face. See, Ingrid is very enthusiastic about many things but not exactly interested in learning the proper way of doing these things. So instead of gracefully directing the song slowly and predictably, she busted out some pretty authentic "raise the roof" actions. The kicker is, she MEANT it, whole heartedly. Her face read like a solemn book. Her eyes were closed, her head tilted back. That girl was feeling it and between her raising the roof to my slowly droned Away in a Manger and the choking smoke from the candle I had a very hard time keeping the faith.
I think I'll laugh about this forever.
Speaking of Advent, our lovely neighbour Liz, brought over an advent calendar in the form of a beautifully decorated glass jar full of popsicles sticks marked with fun Christmasy things to do for every day up to Christmas.
True to form, Ingrid went all in right away. She loves this kind of stuff.
The first stick we pulled out was "Walk around the neighbourhood to look at Christmas lights." It was freezing cold but we did it anyway.
Despite the cold, it was actually fun and I'm so glad we did it.
Ingrid was in charge of the camera. Pretty much all of them look like this.
By the time we got home Elodie was done. She had to be carried most of the way which in a slippery snow suit is NOT easy!
Looking forward to a month of twinkle lights and mounting excitement!
I can't believe I'm 40. That sounds so foreign. I have never been a fan of my birthday but for that last nine years each one came and went without a lot of fanfare. Just another year. But this one brought me into a new decade. A new age bracket. Unlike Derek, I'm having a hard time getting excited about the fact that we know fit into another age category for road racing. Great! Old people don't run as fast.
Not that I'm running much these days anyway.
To celebrate we ate Chinese food and the most undelicious vanilla cake I have ever tasted. Sorry to sound ungrateful but, truly, it was awful.
What was not awful was having these little girls with me to help take away the sting of the big 4-0.
Elodie is shirtless. Must be a party somewhere.
This next picture is the best of the bunch with the three amigos and me. Ugh. Ingrid looks crazy. And - oh my god - Danica... that's all I can say.
Ingrid bought me gifts - my favourite candy and a card. She helped Derek pick out a charm for my bracelet, too.
I especially like this one from Nicholas. There's just something about a child's printing. If only it were easy to make them all into everlasting fonts. Wouldn't that be awesome to be able to preserve your child's handprint and use it over and over? Yes, it would.
Off to bed now - like the old geezer I am.
Is it just me or is November 15th too early for a Santa Claus parade? Am I the only one who feels awkward, to the point of being unable to make eye contact, when the people in the parade wave and wish you a Merry Christmas? On November 15th? I mean it was Hallowe'en a mere 15 days ago, for goodness sake!
I feel so bad for children today for some many reasons. The ridiculously early beginning to Christmas is one of them. I remember how hard it was to wait for Santa Claus. I remember being stupid-giddy when, on December 22, the lights went up on the outside eave and the tree got hauled inside, leaving a trail of already dry needles in its wake. I remember knowing within just a few days of that tree going up Santa would be here. Back then Christmas prep was short but intense. It was awesome. Now? Can you imagine how it must feel to be a child and watch that tree go up on the very first day of December knowing that Santa was still practically a month away? That the threat of a call to Santa was always imminent? As if that threat isn't bad enough, the bloody elf on the shelf reporting back to Santa EVERY SINGLE NIGHT must drive a child absolutely crazy. It is insane and totally unfair. No wonder there are so many stressed out children now. Commercialism is destroying childhood one little life at a time.
Even so... we brought our crew out to welcome the man in red back from the North Pole at our local parade.
Ingrid and Elodie look so enthusiastic, don't they?
Derek was channelling rainbows today. The man has no shame.
These next three pictures are of Elodie after she and Derek took a walk to the school a dozen metres or so down the road from our perch where they were selling cookies and hot chocolate. On the way back they happened upon a fellow sitting in a lawnchair waiting for the parade to start. He looked EXACTLY like Santa, long white beard and all. Derek told Elodie he thought it might be the real one. (Our answer to the question of why do all the santas we see look different? Some are just other elves helping Santa out but the trick is YOU CAN NEVER TELL WHICH ONE IS REAL.)
She was legitimately ___baked.
Quite as a mouse for a loooooong time.
Thinking hard about who she had seen and if her behaviour was good or not.
Pure torture on a three year old. And yet, like most other people, we will fight to keep the ruse up for as long as possible.
Danica was happy to join us so long as we didn't expect her to wear socks or shoes. Also, Derek had to carry her.
Elodie is such a little old lady sometimes.
Someone came by and slipped a candy caned into her clasped hand. She kept it there for a long time.
Sometimes she smiled. But not often.
Most of the time she sported this face. She got a few curious looks from the passing girl guide troop.
Elsa, Anna and Aurora. Day. MADE.
Hello tiny Canadian.
I have to say ReMax's Frozen float was pretty cool.
And then there's me and my three little princesses. Danica fell asleep and missed Santa.