Oh, the weather outside is frightful...
Does is slow down the McDermotts?
Here's a few things we've checked off the holiday cheer list so far this year:
1. Steph and Jerad had us over for dinner the first of the Month. It wasn't actually a 'Christmas' event, but they DID have their house all decorated and beautiful, and our church was hosting a parents night out (for all the super organized Christmas loving parents who actually want to get a head start on their shopping and not wait till the last possible second...). Steph had tasty snacks and wine, and looked beyond adorable sporting her baby bump, and Jerad made a gourmet feast of Salmon and asparagus, which Tyson ate and liked! The power of man-love. I'm SO glad they're friends.
2. Kari's annual Christmas Cookie Exchange get-fat-fast-fest. Highlights of the evening included wine, women, appetizers to die for, Kari's amazing hospitality and hot cider, and a GIANT spread of Christmas cookies ive never had or heard of before, which is HARD to do, because... well. Frankly, I've eaten a lot of cookies. Tiffany, keep your comments to yourself. ;) I didn't take pictures, dag nab no camera... but if you would like a recipe to win friends or influence people in the near future, hit me up. I've got a few new tricks up my sleeve.
3.. My mom took Anabelle to see the Nutcracker. Dawson has something else going on, I'm sad we all didn't make it, but it was SUCH a great occasion for the little Sugarplum Fairy wannabe and her Grandma to hit the town. I had her outfit all planned out the night before. I chose a satiny formal-ish dress that she hadn't every worn before (she ended up with 2 Easter dresses last year). I was SURE she would be over the moon about it... but when it was time to get dressed, she fell apart, insisting it wouldn't match the other ballerina's there. It occurred to me that perhaps she thought she was IN the play... I had to explain that a little, but in the end it didn't matter she was absolutely insistent on wearing a selection from her dress up bin that actually belonged to another little Nutcracker wannabe not so long ago... her mother. How could I say no?:
Side note, since this blessed event, the child leaps, twirls, spins, plie's, and pirouettes thru every inch of her day. We get a lot of knowing glances from other veteran mothers we pass out and about on the town. Thankfully no one has tried to sue us yet for any of the mishaps she has caused in her attempts at gracefulness (sorry to the old man in food4less who almost lost his walker and his remaining good hip...).
4. We went to the Christmas Caroling Around the Lake last Friday night. I whipped up some snickerdoodles and home made hot cocoa, we bundled the kids like something right out of A Christmas Story, and braved the frosty elements. We got there later in the evening, the crowds had thinned quite a bit. We found ourselves getting the last handouts of every one's popcorn and cider in their makeshift stands on the foots of their driveways, which meant no lines! The kids LOVED it. They don't understand why we can't just go back and get popcorn from friendly neighbor people every night of the week. We ended at the Zoo, and followed the lighted path where we were handed hot s'mores and let in to see the (sleeping) animals free of charge, and they made the gift shop into Santa's house. He was just sitting there all alone, waiting for my kids to arrive! It was AWESOME. Dawson immediately locked eyes and drifted in a trance like state straight to St.Nicks jolly old lap (good to know where he stands on the stranger-danger issue...). The second he settled in, he got a look of terror on his face and could NOT SAY A WORD. Total stage fright. Part of me hurt, and part of me melted. Quite an awkward/adorable moment. When Santa asked what he wanted he barely managed to choke out... "Uh. I don't know." We promised him another chance at Santa once we left, and assured him that this time, we would be good and properly prepared with a list in hand!
5. We already made our annual "Viewing of the Lights" round. We just ate some grub, popped some popcorn and hopped in the car for an hour so of driving around town just for the sake of "oohing and ahhing" over the annoyingly zealous display of Christmas lights around town. Don't mind my negative tone there... I'm just jealous that we have the WORST luck with Christmas lights in this family. I think we have yet to see a year that we don't have at least one strand out after they are all put up perfectly. Humbug.
6. It poured on Saturday, so we shut ourselves in and trashed the kitchen making Gingerbread houses! I'm actually pretty proud of myself, I've never done this with the kids before mostly because I remember doing them as a kid and seeing the mom's of friends I had burst into tears and obscenities when their masterpieces caved in on top of themselves after hours of trying to keep us out from underfoot at the promise of unlimited candy. Since I opted for graham crackers, it ended up being SO fun (and dare I say easy?), even though their houses look like a kid got sick on them after eating the contents of an entire pinata. Dawson wants to enter his in the school decorating contest (giggle). You're welcome, judges, for this amazing wonder to behold.
Rachel and her kiddos spontaneously joined us toward the end, it was great to get the kids together and spend some time catching up. It had been TOO long.
7. So we finally made our lists, checked them twice, and headed down to round 2 of Santa visits, this time planned and prepared. This year Anabelle's list includes dollies, princess dresses, jammies, and anything Nutcracker. Dawson asked for 'a thing that you can look thru and play StarWars Games...' (I can only imagine hes talking about a DS, which will happen over my dead body at age 5... sorry, Santa). Also, he would like a cap gun with 100 caps, and a Nutcracker that can crack real nuts.
They were SO excited and SO cute, skipping up to the house and being all giddy and excited in line as they waited, peeking thru the windows at every chance moment.
Dawson was still a wee bit shy when the moment came, but with his trusty list in hand he warmed up quickly. Anabelle had no reservations. She showed him that list, and made sure he read it. At the end, Dawson managed to whisper to Santa that he promised to make his reindeer some food so they knew where his house was. Santa whispered back that would be great, because those reindeer sure do get hungry with all that flying. It was adorable.
At the end of the visit, I felt almost a little sad and couldn't figure out why. Tyson actually said a few moments later "...how many more years do you think we have of this...?" And I realized I had been thinking the same thing. This year, our kids were the oldest in line. At nearly 4 and 5... it feels like their days of believing in the magic of reindeer food and the Night Before Christmas might be numbered. What a strange thought.
And last but not least, while we're on the subject of Christmas Spirit, adorableness, and 'God Bless Us, Every One!'...
Sunday morning as we were making our breakfast feast (Eggnog French Toast!) Ty glanced out the window and then jumped so high I almost had to scrape him off the ceiling. The most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen was painted across our front yard, a complete and perfect bright arch, with each color of Roy G. Biv absolutely radiant. The picture does it no justice. It was a great reminder that after the storm, there is beauty in the promise of rainbows that can just appear out of nowhere.
I am really really looking forward to 2010. I think its going to be our year of rainbows.