Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Spirit Abounds

Our Christmas came in a flurry of friends, family, love, and presents, of course. The kids didn't want to forget the true meaning of Christmas, so on Christmas Eve, they dressed up and performed a play about the birth of Jesus. :) Megan narrated and played a strange flute (I think it added to the mood!), Gracie played the glittery Christmas angel, Emma was Mary (wearing the Pocahontas outfit) and Ian was Joseph. Adorable, silly, and hilarious.

The girls got sleds and snow gear from Santa. Jeff is chompin' at the bit to take us to the snow. We're planning to spend the day in Arrowhead with some friends, and then later we'll pay a visit to Grandpa Tom and Grandma Patty in Bishop, where we'll sled our little hearts out. Our house feels like a toy store right now, with Grace's Hannah Montana barbies, stage, headset, and game, and Emma's horse ranch, Littlest Pet Shop town, and Webkins. Jeff got a new ipod (he's thrilled) and I got every single item I had "hinted" to my dear husband about: Clinique perfume, and iced tea maker, a Bath and Body Works Lotion basket, and Burt's Bee's stuff. (Love it!)

We hosted Christmas Eve again, and that night we also stopped by The Woods house for Open House- really it was to see their new baby, Kathleen, who was adorable in her Santa suit. (Our friends The Byuns were there as well with Mikail and Jade. Note in the picture that sweet Mikail had eaten something that made his lips blue. ) Other friends, the Saylors, had a beautiful Christmas dinner at their house a few days before Christmas. On the day we got out of school, Nicole also spent some time with us looking at Christmas lights and letting the girls exchange presents. (See the pictures of Grace and Josie dressed up and performing puppet shows.) Also, Jeff's dad and Kelly had a beautiful Christmas at their house, complete with Jeff's mom and Tom, my parents and grandma, and ALL the cousins except Matthew (who was missed!) They catered the dinner with enchiladas and tacos (YUM) and had the most beautiful spread of desserts I've ever seen. :) Weight Watchers is currently calling my name after the food this Christmas! The girls got all kinds of fancy "stuff" for their American Girl dolls- Nicky got an entire ski outfit and Kit got a bed. It was DOLL HEAVEN this Christmas.

This year I feel blessed for my family's health, my wonderful friends, my job, my house, my pets (hee hee), and my sweet husband who seems to live to make "his girls" happy. I also adore watching Emma and Grace becoming bigger and more clever. They CRACK ME UP every day, and they are such a joy (and challenge sometimes...especially when they fight!) I know that 2008 will bring such changes in my girls; I just want to savor each moment with them as they wrap their arms around the experiences life brings them.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tis the Season to be Jolly!

Our city does a really cute event for Christmas. Every neighborhood has a giant star on one of the streets and a special night when Santa visits. He comes aboard a "sleigh" of carolers, along with Frosty and Rudolph. He collects canned food for the needy and gives out candy canes. The carolers sing, the kids in the neighborhood visit with Santa, and the grown ups in the neighborhood hang out talking. When it's time for Santa to come, the girls listen each night for the police sirons, which go off through the neighborhood while they announce, "Santa is coming! Santa is coming!" over the loudspeaker. (I guess the police aren't too busy with crime here...??)

The girls were also in a Christmas play at school called "The Littlest Reindeer." This year, every student had a speaking part. Emma and Gracie practiced their parts for weeks, and all around the house, we were singing the songs from the play. A lot of their friends were in the play too, and it was so cute to see all of the first graders singing without hesitation. They don't care if they are slightly out of tune, or a little "off" from the music. They just sing their little hearts out. I wish we were all like that. :)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Time is Here...

Christmas time is here!Grace welcomed Christmas by creating Santa's sleigh on our couch with all of our stuffed Christmas animals and some red crepe paper. I love that child's imagination. Emma is not feeling well (we're all a little sniffly around here) so she's in her pink elephant slippers and Cinderella robe, cozed up on my bed watching movies. It's mid-morning and the girls and I are still in our pajamas. My plans for today? Danielle and her sniffly kids are coming over to watch a bunch of movies. Later, I'll grade some essays, wrap some presents, and plan my Christmas Eve dinner, which was so much fun last year.

So far in December, I've hosted Grandma Otti's 91st birthday (it was a hit!), gone to our school's adorable Christmas play, Charlie Brown Christmas, with a bunch of my teacher friends and their kids. (We even met early for pedicures and dinner, and met afterwards for dessert! I had snowflakes painted on my toes!) I've decorated the house, done 3/4 of my Christmas shopping, finished and mailed my Christmas cards (including my Christmas poem!) and planned a Christmas outing to Corvette's Diner and the Del Mar Racetrack light show. Everything "Christmasy" is in place. Still, nothing will come together until the last day of school, when I grade that last final, enter in the grades, and close up my classroom for three and 1/2 weeks. THAT will make it feel like Christmas. I love that feeling of focusing on my husband and my kids, and not feeling spread so thin (even though I adore my job.) Some days, though, it feels as if there is just not enough of me to go around. I'm ready to zero in on the people who need me the most. I want to make dinner for Jeff instead of asking him, "What do you want to eat? Should we go out?" I want to sit in my cozy chair next to the bookshelf that Jeff built (my favorite room in the house!) and read books to the girls. I want to decorate Christmas cookies and package them up to send to the neighbors. I want to put my feet up and have a glass of wine. I want to hit those last few stores with my mom and Danielle, and then go to lunch. I want to sit with Grandma Otti and ask her some questions about when she was a little girl. (She tells a bunch of funny stories, but then denies she told them.)

Thankfully, a teaching schedule gives me huge chunks of time to relax and soak in my family. I'm grateful for all of it- the hectic schedule AND the down time. I truly know the meaning of BLESSED.

PS. Our Christmas card this year- a decorated pony. We had so much fun putting red bows all over Pony Gypsi, and she didn't mind it a bit. :)