Still drinking your Peppermint Coffeemate creamer? Still sporting a sugar cookie bloat? I begrudgingly chose all of the above.
We arrived home from our trip to California and I was pissed to find that Dobby the Elf didn't bother to take the decorations with him when he left. That cheeky bastard.
I even made him teeny, tiny sprinkled donuts, see?!
We'll miss him though.
Our time with Dobby was so precious this year. Every single morning the kids woke with curiosity and excitement to see where he was. He definitely became a regular yuletide fixture.
This Christmas will forever go down as the "Grinch" Christmas. We introduced the kids to the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version) and to say they were hooked was an understatement. Both girls fell in love with Cindy Lou Who and would reenact her singing "Where Are You Christmas" every chance they could. No joke. They'd be in the middle of a conversation with someone and suddenly break into song while staring longingly out a fake window. They'd even go so far as to put their hand up to the fake window. Now that's commitment!
And all Mia wanted for Christmas was a Cindy Lou Who doll, Cindy Lou Who pajamas and a Cindy Lou Who music box.
Someone please explain to her that Cindy Lou Who was sooooo 2000?
But of course my mom and sister couldn't resist. My sister scored a CLW doll from Ebay and my mom (bless her heart) recreated the pajamas from the movie. Mia was in CLW heaven! See?
She's got my heart, that Mia.
Check it out, when you press a secret button on CLW's back her braids twirl around. THIS BLEW MIA'S LITTLE MIND. Literally, she almost passed out from excitement when my sister showed her.
From our very first Christmas as parents, Eugene and I decided that we wouln't go crazy with gifts for our kids. For one, they really don't need all that much to have fun. In fact I've noticed, the more they have the less they play with. Secondly, we don't want our children to feel a sense of entitlement about Christmas, which so easily happens this time of year. Commericials, catalougues, playground conversations--it's almost unavoidable, almost. For us, Christmas is about SO much more than just gifts. And thirdly, they get a ton of cool stuff from family members anyway.
Like this surprisingly spacious ready to be colored cardboard playhouse. Thanks Nana and Papa!
It was and still is a huge hit!
The night before we left for California we celebrated my mom's birthday and came home to find that Santa left a note and three gifts under the tree for our kids.
It was such an unexpected excitement for them!
THREE DAYS EARLY?
Bella read us the note.
And one by one, we all watched on as they took turns opening their gifts.
Now I should mention that all Bella has talked about for the past month has been an American Girl Doll named Kanani. Kanani this and Kanani that. The first night that our elf, Dobby, arrived at our house she IMMEDIATELY began writing him a letter informing him of what she wished for. She made it crystal clear:
"kanani frum water towr mall frum chikago cidy."
See she didn't want the elves from the North Pole to make the doll, oh no, she wanted Santa to buy it. From that store. In that mall.
So here I was in our living room sitting next to my daughter as she's about to open her present. And I have to admit I'm not quite sure who was more excited, me watching or her opening.
You see, it's the first Christmas that I really "got it." Ya know, that super awesome mushy parent feeling you get when you know how happy your child is about to be opening their present.
Little did she know that's exactly how I felt right here.
But to my surprise Bella was very matter of fact about it all. Very cautious.
She began feeling the box and switched off between a huge smile and a hesitant grin---all the while turning the wrapped box over and over trying to examine it from the outside.
I knew what she was thinking. I always do. Her hesitation was because a part of her was afraid that it wouldn't be what she really, really wanted.
Which tugged a little at my heart strings.
But then her grin turned back to a smile because what if? What if it really was what she's been wishing for? And again with forced restraint she c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y began opening the side of the present.
And for a few milliseconds she tried to identify the box.
And then it hit her.
And I swear my eyes filled up right then and there. This is the shit I live for as a mom. This!
Life was great for this little girl.
Next up, my other little girl.
Mia, Mia. From the moment you saw The Grinch you wanted a music box just like Cindy's. One that was pink. One that had a twirling ballerina and one that played sweet little music.
This smile. This huge precious, dimpled smile only comes out around 1 out of 200 pictures. It melts me.
This is what happiness looks like.
And then both girls noticed that Chance was having a hard time opening his present. He's in that stage where you hand him a wrapped present and he smiles so big as if to say thank you, thank you for this large red and green striped thing. The girls, impatient as they are, took it as a cue to rip it open for him. And little man got a big truck that talks and chases him. Shabang!!!!
As a child I loved Christmas. I mean, who doesn't, right? The gifts, the songs, the lights. But I never really knew how special Christmas would become as a parent. Watching age old traditions become our own. Feeling the genuine love that we all have for one another. This is what I want to remember. This is what I'll carry with me, season after season.
That night, Bella slept hugging her doll and Mia found a perfect spot for her musicbox hidden safely under her bed.
What a merry, Merry Christmas.