Best Christmas Gift Ever!

What is the best gift a tired mother of two small ones could get for Christmas? A spa session? A makeover? A date night? A new car? A private yacht?
I’m happy to say I got something even better!
After 4 long, and yet short, years of changing diapers, washing diapers, making diapers, and carrying the all-important diaper bag with me everywhere I go, my youngest is officially potty-trained! YIIIPPPEEEE!!!
I’ve been pretty blessed with potty training with both my kids. Both of them were, well, easy to train! I absolutely dreaded doing it. I’ve heard that every kid is different and learns differently. My first-born learned a few months after turning 2. My youngest at just 19 months. Both of them required a solid week of staying home, going butt naked, living in the bathroom, and me asking them about 1,000,000,000 if they need to go potty. And then, of course, there is the epic potty dance. Oh you don’t know the potty dance? Of course you do! It goes like this:
“Pee-pee-in-the-POT-TEE!
Pee-pee-in-the-POT-TEE!
Pee-pee-in-the-POT-TEE!”
and repeat until your vocal chords bleed and you find yourself begging for even the most annoying Caillou song.
Of course there is a downside to potty training for those who don’t know. And it’s called “the public restroom”. It is a nightmare I know I will relive again and again, and yet I will spare you the gory details since it’s still the Christmas season. You’re welcome.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with all the warmth that only a very unusual warm front can bring!!

Best Santa Photo Ever!

Being that this is the closest we’ve ever gotten our 3 year old to Santa, I consider this a BIG win!

And on a side note, Bass Pro Shop is AWESOME! Thank goodness the Hubs wasn’t with me or I’m pretty sure we would’ve left with a 4-wheeler. Or a boat. That place isn’t a store…it’s an experience! And they have a winter wonderland with FREE Santa photos! And they had free games and crafts for the kids! Win win win win!! Soooooo glad we live 40 minutes away or I’d be shopping there for everything except bread and toilet paper! No wonder people like to hunt! I wanted to take up hunting after being in that place!

I think I’m developing a shopping-crush…

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Ice Skating with a 3-Year-Old

On my laundry-list of merry-making events, ice skating was near the top. My little preschooler has become quite the girly-girl, and among her many lists of things to do that makes her even more of a princess is ice skating. Not sure where exactly she got that from, but my intuition tells me Sophia the First is probably to blame.

None-the-less, I was really excited to take her ice skating for the first time. Ok, technically 2nd, but the first time was before she could walk, so I’m not sure that counts…

I planned this special day out a few weeks ago, thinking only of when the rink would open and not at all about what the temperature would be outside. It was hovering around 60. But by the miracle of technology, the outside rink was still open and at least mostly covered in ice, so it was perfect enough for us!

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By another miracle, we got there right when they opened, and being that it was early and kind of drizzly and really warm, we had the whole place to ourselves! Which was perfect for the first time on the ice!

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Thank goodness this was pretty cheap entertainment, being that we lasted a whole 15 minutes on the ice before she was frustrated that she couldn’t do a triple spin. I’m just really glad we didn’t invest in ice skates for Christmas gifts this year!

 

Tis the season

I absolutely love this season. Last year was really the first year we got to relish in the pure joy that comes with the anticipation leading up to Christmas Day, the mystery surrounding it, the lights, the music, the smells…as seen through a child’s eyes. It’s one of the highlights of my life, so yes, I let it linger as long as possible. In fact this afternoon I couldn’t be happier to turn on our family’s beloved Barney Christmas movie. She loved that movie so much over the past 2 years that we had to buy a new one (the old one had become terribly scratched). It was instant relief thinking she still wants to watch that movie. She still hasn’t outgrown Barney….yet.

Ugh….there’s that nostalgic ache in my stomach that also accompanies the last month of the year…

But I remember another feeling on Christmas morning as we watched our girls open their gifts…and then more gifts…and then more gifts…

At one point my husband and I looked at each other, then at our very exhausted and overly-stimulated children, and were kind of disappointed in ourselves. We were sure we wouldn’t give in to the mania of toy shopping, and we were sure we bought reasonable toys, but on that morning we could see the exhaustion of them being bombarded with stuff.

So here we are, a year later, and I’m determined yet again to not do that. To not over-indulge in the gifting/consumerism aspect of this sacred event, and instead focus on higher ambitions, primarily creating memories, giving to those less fortunate, and stories. Stories of the Christ child. Stories of St. Nick. And if all these ambitions are accompanied with hot chocolate and cookies, then so be it!

We started off our season with creating a shoe box for a little girl. This was so much easier than I thought it would be! I was absolutely astounded with the maturity of my 3-year-old! I explained to her what we were doing, and repeated it maybe once for her to understand that we weren’t buying for her….we were buying for a little girl who had no toys. By that evening she was praying for “all the children who don’t have toys”. That was a few weeks back, and she still talks about that little girl almost daily.

I was really hoping to be able to volunteer some place this season, but with children so young, there are few opportunities available. One coordinator did place us at the Angel Tree table in the mall for a few hours one morning to help out. We really didn’t do too much except sit there and answer questions, but it was yet another opportunity to explain to my eldest that there are children in the world who need so much more than toys, but toys is a good place to start. I’m really not sure how much of any of this is sinking in, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.

And in case you’re wondering, 2 hours is a LONG time to volunteer with small children! We lasted 90 minutes before they were about to melt like the wicked witch. But the awesome thing about volunteering at the mall is that there’s no shortage of distractions.

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There’s a bear orchestra in this mall. An orchestra made of mechanical bears. Because that’s just genius. And you should hear their trumpet player wail!
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She was absolutely smitten! (The other one was hiding under the table….she’s not much of a Santa fan.)

Coming up next time on the blog: a crazy mother decided to take her small children ice skating for the first time during rush hour traffic in the middle of Richmond in 60 degree weather. Can’t imagine who that woman might be….