In some ways this Christmas season proves more fun than last year; it is nicer that more activities are doable- especially when extra hands cannot visit. A few things are a real hit this time around, such as cookie and ornament decorating and getting out and about in the snow, whether that is by sled behind the four wheeler downhill at the park or simply swinging in the backyard.
Being home more this winter means I can enjoy all the snowfall from the comfort of my own house. While that is amazing and I’m quite enjoying it, it also means there are no Christmas parties to attend, no fun dinners out with friends and family, outings with Christmas lights to see on the way home, and less opportunity to socialize with anyone during the standard crafts and cooking. We haven’t come up with anything crazy to do this year, but we are slowly working toward build some family traditions to continue in years to come, such as an annual ornament to hang on the tree and holiday goodies to try. Hopefully these things will get a bit easier with age!
The girls had a holiday party at daycare last Friday; all the older kids and teachers enjoyed a pajama day while we matched the girls in red and green outfits. They had a small gift exchange, with each kiddo bringing a present in for another. Harper and Emerie came home with stuffed animals as their gift and Reagan a craft set that she really wanted to open! The girls also took cute photos with the snowman everyone built, and we were informed that Miss Harper was in timeout less that day than earlier in the week.
The word of the week is ballerina
Ornament decorating is a very well liked activity this year. So much that I ordered a large set of random, pre-made ones so we can add them to the decor. The tree is mostly bare other than lights; partly because they love pulling their creations down and examining them and partly because it’s so much effort to unpack all the normal ornaments and put them up. Each kiddo’s ornament this year is a variation of Rapunzel from Tangled. The movie isn’t on replay as much as past months but certainly still a favorite. Everyone pauses to watch any song that pops up from the movie.
So far the polar bear decorations are still hanging on the tree as well as the one we received after visiting Cabela’s Santa Claus. By the end of the month we should have a number of new displays, mostly colored in brown and black. We are still attempting to convince the ladies that Christmas colors are red and green and they don’t seem to care. Everyone also demands the addition of their name, just so they can color over it or try to “mimic” the writing. The activity has a lot of name!! Name! My name! requests throughout. I’ve been working on spelling each name out letter by letter, but whenever they join in, it always ends up being a, b, c instead of R-e-a etc. We will get there. At least they like the concept of spelling their names!
We finally put presents out about three days prior to the big day; partly because they were hidden and still unwrapped and partly because I wasn’t sure how smart it was to make them visible for curious little eyes and hands. The girls immediately wanted to know what the hanging stockings were and went to pull out the gifts wrapped in Olaf paper. At first they were convinced the stockings were from Papa Cliff and not Grandma Anne’s handiwork! After explanations and a few times demanding the boxes be returned under the tree again, they haven’t really bothered them. Every night we say how many sleeps are left until we can open them and that seems to satisfy the questions.
The first attempt at cookie decorating earlier in the month resulted in three toddlers that resembled the cookie monster and ran around energetically afterwards. After a little discouragement on my part, we gave it another go and it went much better, this time using already iced gingerbread (that took me two weeks to actually bake) and letting the girls choose the shapes to masterpiece. My theory behind shape choices was small sizes and recognizable things, such as stars, trees, snowmen, polar bears and little gingerbread people…I also threw a few airplanes in the mix for me!
I expected Harper to excel at this the most, given her love of coloring and ornament decorating, but Reagan ended up really loving the craft. Harper decorated and was happy to accept additional cookies to do…like a machine, always speeding through! Emerie pretty much sat there and sampled one sprinkle at a time until the plate was mostly empty, then started licking the frosting off the cookies. Reagan concentrated and wanted to perfect her two star cookies- she insisted mommy not finished anytime I tried to add more. It took a few days before anyone trusted that the cookies were edible but eventually they started snacking on them and not just licking off the frosting.
We also frosted upside down ice cream cones into fancy little Christmas trees, which was thoroughly enjoyable and cute! this is a fantastic little craft to try with the littles, just remember to frost the bottom with some “snow” so they don’t fall over. They are still sitting on the counter, cute as can be.
And yes, if you are wondering, I did not label their photos below wrong- Harper and Reagan are wearing opposite of the normal colors, but both Frozen themed! I was highly impressed how clean the end result was; I expected icing and sprinkles everywhere and it wasn’t too bad overall. Definitely acceptable!
Our visit with Santa this year was unexpectedly smooth and without any tears. I thoroughly enjoyed the screaming rage (and photo) last year so I was a little disappointed, but I’m guessing if placed on Santa’s actual lap they wouldn’t have liked it. COVID rules enforced sitting in front of clear plexiglass with Santa safely behind, so no scary contact was required. Excluding the fact they only wanted to look at was the flashing ceiling lights after every flash, they did pretty well. Afterwards we looked at the fish; an activity far more impactful on discussions that afternoon about our day. It also cracks me up that two years in a row we’ve been in line behind our same twin friends, completely coincidentally!
We cleaned out the garage (again) to make more space to move around and brought the foot pedaling and auto ones out. We haven’t driven the push button ones since snow stuck in October, after only five minutes the girls already displayed their increased skill and directional awareness! Throughout the fall all three would venture down the street, excited with their newfound button power, but they hardly ever concentrated on what they drove toward. Now they turn and pay more attention to obstacles in front of them. After a few days the circle was discovered and eventually all three followed each other around excitedly.
With the Christmas season returns the love of our good friend Tay Tay (Taylor Swift). Out of the blue the other morning everyone wanted to listen to Shake It Off and are now continuously asking to play it in the car, on the way to school and for a dance party in the evenings. Harper even specifically asks for a dance party!
Our big outing this holiday season was venturing downtown on Christmas Eve for a run through the Captain Cook Hotel and gingerbread village. Unsure how well they would behave, we broke out the strollers and let them run after we’d wandered a bit (and visited the bathroom times three). If I’ve never mentioned it, we almost always make a toddler bathroom stop if we actual go somewhere indoors and the girls are extremely afraid of the loud, automatic toilets. Anyone else have this issue??
We looked at the fancy village and the girls interacted with the pretend Santa and beautiful Christmas trees and we attempted to do a family photo (keyword attempted). One of the nice ladies in the lobby made five hot chocolates and gave everyone a tiny, snowman cookie. The snack was enjoyed by all and then we watched five toddlers sprint down the halls, giggling and burning energy. I’ll also note they did a GREAT job wearing their masks, something we have practiced very little since we barely go to any public (indoor) places, AND all climbed back into the strollers when asked to do so.
We played with some friends up until nap time and colored a few more ornaments. It was easier to not venture out in the evening and attempt a Christmas Eve church service, especially after the battle of dinner eating, and opted to open a single Christmas present and watch a Christmas kids show. They understood the present opening concept quickly and did really well. The tiny, yarn dollies were a hit, carried around for the rest of the evening and snuggled in bed overnight.
A few gifts were strategically placed in the living room as the girls wrestled going to bed. Everyone was tired from a very interactive day and ended up going to bed a bit early, after watching a cute show with three (pink, blue and yellow) kittens. Everything in threes!
Christmas Day started at about 8 AM, which anymore is quite a win. Everyone started off the morning with a mini jump fest on our bed, a first for them, and we made our way downstairs to see what Santa had in store. It was nothing too crazy, but still some fun, new things to enjoy throughout the winter. Harper immediately noticed the new princess doll dresses and picked up Emerie and Reagan’s dolls and hand delivered them to each of her sisters before picking up her own, commenting so pretty! Craig set up the new doll high chairs from Grandma Sue and Papa Lon at the kitchen table, putting a Cabbage Patch doll in each, and those entertained for a good part of the free play morning. Those chairs are now attached to the kid kitchen with some form of a furry friend eating off a plate.
The girls excitedly wanted to open gifts, so after a cup of coffee was poured, they pulled everything out from under the tree and into a pile. I attempted to wrap things in threes, since most gifts had a small variation for each kiddo, whether that was in their colors or similar toys. The theory was to convince the tiny minions to simultaneously open the similar gifts and minimize the fighting and arguing. Of course I forgot to label whose was whose on the big, Frozen wrapped ones they’ve been asking to open all week, so we deferred them until a little later into the activity.
Overall they did a great job ripping open the paper and checking out new toys. I mean it’s clearly a natural kid skill that requires no explanation. There was almost no fighting throughout, which was surprising, and they especially liked the Moana, Elsa and Rapunzel dolls, the pink makeup kits (x3) from Aunt Jenny and Uncle Keegan, and wearing my new Xtra Tuff books around the room. Emerie carried the wooden lipstick around for the rest of the day, with Reagan helping her zip it into a coat pocket when we went outside. Harper happily played with the new dolls and snuggled on the couch to some Cocomelon while Reagan played with a little of everything.
We ventured outside twice that morning, first to drive the auto cars down the smooth, iced street and later to loop the neighborhood on the four wheeler with our neighbor kids and deliver some decorated ornaments. It took a few minutes to get out of the house but once outside, everyone listened well and had fun. I pulled out one of the stocking stuffers early (since we didn’t get to them yet) and gave each kiddo a new hat, a yellow for Emerie, teal/greenish for Reagan (although I have a second purple one for her later since she likes it) and a solid black for Harper. Everyone rocked their hats for our outdoor fun.
The cars did decently on the flat, icy areas, but required a little bit of adult foot muscle whenever the road became rougher. We made it about six houses before we turned back, and in true parenting style, walked the end carrying the cars while the children laughed and ran full blast.
After a good nap everyone turned up the grumpiness scale, meaning a quick dinner (delivered by our amazing neighbors!) with toddlers not participating and a grumpy evening overall. Harper refused not only the entire meal but even the sparkling grape juice for the occasion, while the other two only wanted to drink that and not eat anything. Reagan snacked on the lumpia and that was about it. The past week or so the girls seem to eat a huge breakfast and decent lunch but then are uninterested in anything at dinnertime. Hopefully it’s just a phase because they are clearly continuing to grow!
The girls kept saying I want a bido later in the afternoon and it took me a bit to figure out what in the world they meant. Cousin Tyler taught them how to wrap themselves up in blankets like burritos, hence the “bido”. I got three June and January blankets for them for Christmas, two purple and a pink for Harper, and the stretchy material inspired their excited for burrito wrapping (see Emie below!). We also opened stockings and played with those toys a bit but decided to hold on the remaining few presents that remained under the tree.
While I assume this particular grumpines stems from a busy two days and a lot of excitement from presents, we did get a few minutes of couch snuggles before bedtime. The girls continued to tell us Christmas was over after the presents, not understanding it is more than that. They also seem to believe it is limited to the living room, where the decorations and tree live- we are working on that. It was a pretty uneventful day, but all-in-all pretty decent for 2020 and the girls enjoyed themselves. While I’m disappointed to make it all day without a good picture with all three girls, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Hopefully next year we can celebrate with more family and social visits.
Merry Christmas everyone! ❤