Wonders of Christmas

This is a little late, but better than never. I’m happy to report our December went off without a hitch heath wise! The girls counted down to the big day, asking how many sleeps remain each afternoon and over and over when Christmas will arrive. That, and when summer will get here, which is a bit farther away considering we just had winter solstice.

The preschool class had a Christmas party the Friday before the big day and cookie decorating was quite the hit, according to the teacher. Emerie decorated her one, completely covered cookie while Harper and Reagan had platefuls of beauties to bring home and display. After a two weeks, they are still sitting on the counter in all their glory, as we attempt to keep sugar to a minimum (since we have sooo many cookies!).

Much of the month, with the crazy shift in weather, was spent staying busy doing all kinds of activities inside. By crazy weather, I mean the close to 70 mile per hour winds in town, to crazy snow drifts blasting off the massive snow piles, and then a dip into negative temperatures; all this equals the girls not wanting to play outside (and who can blame them?!). Since sledding was off the table until conditions improved, we continued to hit up the jump park, visited the play coffeehouse and created coloring masterpieces and art projects at home, almost daily. A number of ornaments were painted, hung on the tree by yours truly, then removed from the tree to become play toys. We attempted Color Me Mine for the first time since last winter and it was a completely different experience than going when they were all three years old. Everyone picked out the same llama planter to decorate and instructed Craig on their color choices. Everyone wanted at least one stamp to spruce up their look. Overall it went quite well; even Emerie took her time and had fun! They finished off the activity with candy cane ornaments- Harper’s became a mesh of green and red, Emerie created a design and Reagan attempt red, white and green stripes. I can’t wait to remake them next year and see what they look like! And, for the next few days, everyone asked me several times a day if their creations were ready for pick up. Silly kids.

Auntie Megan brought over a “pie in the face” whip cream game that was quite the hit with all five kiddos one afternoon. By the end everyone wanted to lose and put far less effort into the battle, knowing the result produced delicious whip cream to sample and spread everywhere. We will definitely have to get another game and continue the kid torture in the future. I’m certain everyone will want to push some whip cream into the faces of several grandparents and uncles!

We spent much of December dressing up, with all three strongly demanding that shirts and pants are unacceptable forms of clothing. At this point in their lives, I’m not exactly sure why I even have a drawer full of shirts, as it becomes a huge task to even suggest they wear anything other than a dress. Luckily it worked out with my overspending on the Christmas outfits, so they had tutu dresses, their fancy “concert dresses” (as they say), princess themed ones and all the normal twirlies to choose from, as well as the festive boots and red ballet slipper flats. Their teachers were told we have HUNDREDS of Christmas jammies to wear, at least according to Harper, after their pajama party at school. It’s not really hundreds, but more than I should probably admit….

The girls visited Santa at Cabela’s and he took time to individually talk to each kiddo, answering questions and smiling for photos. I may have mentioned they needed instruction to sleep overnight in their beds, which he helped me out with! The girls questioned why presents were under the tree mid month- yes, because I’m THAT mom that wants things prepped ahead of time, especially knowing sickness hits our house so quickly- so they learned that only some presents come from Santa on Christmas Eve and others come from mom, dad and grandparents. My theory panned out last year when we wouldn’t have opened any presents otherwise, due to the pneumonia that ran through the adults in the house. Next year I plan to take each kid shopping individually to choose a gift for each sibling. I didn’t try this year, assuming they would pick something they wanted and then lose their minds when it went to someone else.

It doesn’t seem like many kid Christmas shows and movies are a hit in our household, with the exception of the Muppet Christmas, Polar Express and one random Netflix hit that hey, has three tiny kittens in it. We did a week of watching one of the three each night; and the girls were seriously annoyed that the kids in Polar Express don’t actually have names. It’s funny how much this irritates them.

We swapped presents with Auntie Megan and crew on Christmas Eve and as usual, Megan outdid herself for each kiddo. The hit of the afternoon was certainly the color changing barbies, that dunk into water and turn from solid teal to a typical barbie, with skin tones and hair colors. They were thoroughly excited to check them out; Reagan so much she peeled much of the paint off with her nails while sitting at the table.

The girls were wired on Christmas Eve night, especially after opening stockings (stuffed to the brim with randoms I collected over the past few months) and one present. It took a bit to coax them into sleeping, especially so Craig and I could finish the final touches of Santa’s visit and put out a few more of the big presents. Craig spent the afternoon locked in the garage, building the Barbie dream house (Costco!) that had sooo many pieces and I had the presents hidden and waiting for their morning debut. We then filled the dreamhouse with princesses and accessories from when I was a kid (barbie sets from the 90s are way better than now!) and enjoyed a quiet house for a little while, basking in the Christmas ambiance that I truly enjoy every winter.

The girls woke up at a decent hour on Christmas and we somehow convinced the early risers to wait until everyone was up to start. They were thrilled to see bites out of the three cookies, courtesy of Santa. This year presents were far more fun to watch, as less intervention was needed to help open presents. Except when taking apart doll packaging, which takes an army of scissors and patience to pry everything open while excited preschoolers oversee in excitement and demand you to go faster. The girls did quite well playing most of the day, with new toys and with each other, and didn’t even notice the dollhouse downstairs until after lunch. This year’s theme was very girly (shocking), and included mermaids, (pretend) makeup, dance lessons and leotards and new 18″ dolls, with a few other goodies in between. Each kiddo received their own custom music box: Harper a pink ballerina one, Emerie a purple unicorn one, and Reagan a pink and teal mermaid one. This gift might have backfired a bit, as the three separate tunes played allllll afternoon on repeat, and they even managed to remove the windup pins in record time. The boxes now reside in their bedrooms and are not yet filled with treasures, because the music was by the far the most exciting attribute to watch. As soon as presents were opened for the morning, the questions on when is it going to be our birthday and when will summer be here started again, since they know both things occur post Christmas time. I will also say, the kitten (Molly) very much enjoyed the girls opening presents and jumping through all the paper.

This year we ate Christmas dinner instead of throwing it into the freezer for when everyone was healthy again; and Craig’s beef wellington was delicious as usual! Jenny, Keegan and the boy cousins as well as Uncle William brought other goodies and it was a really nice day. The cousins exchanged presents and ran around wild, enjoying the day. The pink, purple and blue sequined stockings were put to work as mermaid tails and are still randomly around the house. It’s wonderful to have cousins close in age that now live close by!

At bedtime that night I asked everyone to share their favorite thing(s) about the day and their most beloved gift. I will point out by this time everyone was way overstimulated and tired, and definitely a bit on the grumpier side of the happy scale.

Reagan (who is definitely long winded like her Grandmother and had all kinds of thoughts about the day- so this is paraphrased…): My favorite thing was opening presents and doing Mom and Dad’s hair and makeup. My favorite present was my mermaid music box, makeup, the dollhouse and new dress shoes from Grandma Sue.

PS. If you allow your “hair and makeup” to be done by your local preschool professional, you can sometimes receive a head massage and nice hair brushing. Not too tough on the sanity and they demand you sit still and not get off the couch. Well played…right?

Emerie (who was extremely ready to go to sleep, covered in her stuff animals and wanting to listen to Elsa on my phone): My favorite thing was opening presents and listening to my music box. AND wearing Pan’s hair headband (a long, flowered braid headband). AND playing with my mom and dad and sisters. My favorite present was the big turtle from Papa Cliff and the big, barbie dollhouse.

Harper (who was past any form of cooperation and crazy raged over still being awake): My favorite thing is nothing! (after further mother harassment she answered better). My favorite thing was playing with the flowers from Aunt Jenny, playing with my new music box and just opening presents. My favorite present was the high heels from Grandma Sue and wearing the black dance leotard.

If I had to choose their favorite items over the past week, the flower set from Aunt Jenny is definitely the winner. They all continue to build custom gardens (and fight over them) and make flower food, flower decor, and anything else they can dream up. The dollhouse has a few visits a day and everyone continues to stomp around the house in their new dress heels (you can guess how thrilled Craig is about that!) while rocking their princess braided headbands. Everyone has already worn the new sparkle pants from Grandma Anne in the next size (sob!). Harper adores her new doll, named Babela (like her last one) and insists on carting her around everywhere and sleeping with her at night. Emerie is now a flower garden queen and always toting a few around. Reagan often wanders downstairs for an hour and pretend plays with the barbie set up.

However busy and dark the dead of winter is, I enjoyed the Christmas season this year. While I am excited for the light on the horizon (for a few more seconds each day!), I find a special place in my heart and mind for the cold, snowy season full of Christmas lights, goodies, friends and family. Maybe that’s the Alaskan in my blood, but who knows. Cheers to a new year!

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