stuffs + such: the night before, the night before christmas edition
I finished my Christmas shopping today. BAM.
I also picked up pairs of cream tights for the girls to wear with their Christmas Dresses. Nordstrom has THE BEST kids tights. You heard it here.
Simon was out with his dad doing errands all afternoon… But Mom H. was an angel and came over to look after the girls for a few hours so I could tie up these loose ends without the double stroller.
Speaking of Simon - I’ve got to give big ups to my man for being an elf-champ with all this toy construction. Last night he spent 4 hours putting together the kitchenette for the girls’ (Kidcraft retro kitchen, for those who asked) and it looks so great. Sturdy and great. I am really looking forward to giving this to the nuggets - Hazel is going to love it, I think.
And for the record, Simon does more than just put together the gifts… he helps wrap too. That was our activity tonight. He does the cutting. I am in charge of the bows. I decided to tie bows on my own gifts. I had some ribbon left over and figured I would enjoy opening a pretty package as much as anyone - so I looped some bows on. I am happy I did.
We tally’d up our final count and we bought gifts for 34 people. That is a lot of gifts, right? #BigFamilies
Tomorrow we are celebrating with my side - Mama & Papa A are hosting. Christmas Eve will be at Mimi’s. Christmas Morning, casual Breakfast at our place (our families are invited over to see Z & Fee in their Christmas PJ’s digging into Santa Loot.) And that evening we are going over to Mom & Dad H’s place for a proper Christmas Dinner.
4 parties. 3 days. With 2 kids under 2. Totally possible (plenty of people have it far harder….um, like parents of 3.) We are just going to have to be on top of our parenting game. Organizationally, speaking.
Simon and I have a plan for tomorrow - a schedule of what needs to happen when:
Load gifts, Pack Diaper Bag, Get travel cribs Locate hat/glove/scarf set for kids’ dress coats Attempt an adjusted nap for Hazel in the hopes of an earlier wake-up time (so that we make it to the party before lunch.) Get the kids fed and bathed and Hazel’s hair blown dry with the round brush that gives her ‘do a cute shape Wrestle them into their dresses. Wrestle them into their shoes. Buckle in. Pull out.
We will divide and conquer both our children and tasks.
Our lofty goal: To be a put-together Christmas family (or at the very least ward off meltdowns by mother or toddler)
But here I am 1:39 the night before the night before Christmas I should be asleep…and instead I am tumblr. Sounds about right.
I am sure we will all be busy over the next few days, so in case I don’t see/read you before Christmas:
I hope you have a happy holiday… And if, for whatever reason, your holiday feels heavier than it does happy - I hope you have moments of peace.
February 4th I go back to work….something I am already starting to feel panicy about, but rather than spend the next 6 weeks worrying - I am loading my calender with things that are AWESOME.
Good plan, eh?
A few highlights….
Tonight: Tumblr Bookclub Christmas Extravaganza (and by extravaganza - I mean dinner at our collective favorite spot in the city. I am getting dressed up - even if this impending snowstorm forces me to pair sorrels with my party dress.)
Tomorrow: Playing elves this weekend as we construct the Kitchenette Santa is bringing our girls. Amazon reviews warned it was a multi-hour assembly. I’ve got a bottle or two of Kimmy C chilling.
Christmas Eve/Christmas Day: Obviously
The last Thursday in December: H family outing to Les Miserables the movie. I don’t care if the reviews were crap. It is LES MIS!
New Years Eve (Observed): Double date at Next with El & Dan! It’s their first time…I am beyond excited to share this menu with them!!! (I hope Chef Dave is ready for us).
January 7th: NOTRE DAME vs Alabama (not to mention the full week of bowl games leading up to the big event)
January 16th: a week in MIAMI!
Mat. Leave certainly isn’t a vacation or anything (2 under 2 is serious business)…but when I return to work, I will take comfort in knowing I enjoyed every inch out of my time at home!
What about you guys? Anything particularly exciting on the books over the next few weeks?
Over the years “Great Idea Dad!” has become a sort of catch phrase in my family.
You see, my dad is chock full of…as you might have guessed…great freaking ideas. Ideas for family-fun that he seems to effortlessly execute (even though we all know his adventures are anything but effortless).
I share the story from our Tuesday night as Exhibit A.
Monday afternoon we all got a group text from my p’s:
Christmas Kick-Off….Dinner and a Bulls game tomorrow night. Who’s in?
A chorus of yes & hell yes’s lit up my screen.
The next night we met right after work at a steakhouse near the stadium. The dudes ordered meat. Girls had seafood. We all drank drinks.
Then all 8 of us squeezed into ONE cab (note: this was not a minivan cab). "It’s ok…we are family" we said while piling in- an explanation that was somehow adequate for the driver (his only request: duck if we pass a cop). He was a good guy - from Ethiopia, heading back home in a couple of weeks to marry his sweetheart, a girl he met at University. As we spilled out of the clown car, we wished him a happy marriage and a happy holiday.
Brimming with Christmas Cheer, we arrived at the United Center and were surprised to find that our tickets weren’t so much near the court…as ON the court!
We spent the game woot-wooing (for the bulls and the female ref whose name happened to be Hazel)
And gawking at the towering height of every last person on that court. (I probably came up Joakim’s belt buckle…and when El went to talk to her hero announcer Stacy King - she found herself addressing his belly button.)
And talk, talk, talking. If you hadn’t guessed, we are a chatty bunch…regardless of where we are.
The game was great. The Bulls won. And at one point in the 4th quarter the ball flew into our seats. Fear not - no noses were broken or beers spilled. Dan saved us. Left handed, no less.
Nights out with my family are my favorite things in the world, but we really outdid ourselves on Tuesday night. It was a holiday kick-off for the ages!
And you know what they say: a family that plays together….
Mom, Dad - thank you so much for an unforgettable evening. You two are the best.
Our hearts were still heavy from news of the Newtown tragedy - and all of us, I think, were feeling extra thankful, extra prayerful…so having the opportunity to gather with our loved ones to celebrate our daughter as she was welcomed into the catholic church, felt blessed.
Little Felix was an angel. She looked like one too in the gorgeous velvet christening gown Mom H. made for her. (MOM H. MADE THAT DRESS!)
Hazel was proud of her little sis, you could tell. We have been practicing the whole pour-water-on-baby’s-head thing in the bath all week… so when Father Pat held Felix over the holy water, you could almost see Hazel willing courage to the baby. (You’ve got this Fee, I imagine her thinking).
This time of year is hectic And this celebration gave us the chance to put all the Christmas chaos on hold and just enjoy the thing that matters most.
I am thankful for my family and that this is how we got to spend our Sunday.
Above: Parents & God Parents with our little one.
Below: After the ceremony, Hazel recapped the holy-water excitement with Uncle Henry & Dana
Great Grandma B holding Felix. I think my grandmother is just so beautiful.
When we moved to the city, we had to find a new church - and I like to think God lead us right to Father Pat. Over the past 5 years he married both me and El and has baptized both of my daughters.
The dress maker fluffling Felix’s gown before the services began (not pictured the fur muff and hat Mom H. also made!)
I love you baby girl!
Photo credit (and a huge thank you!) to my mama….the best photog I know.
I thought it might be kind of fun to let Hazel pick out a Christmas present for Felix (who was sleeping in her carrier - meaning the surprise wouldn’t be ruined). I told her we could wrap the gift and put it under the tree with Fee’s name. Hazel was psyched.
I first pushed the cart down the infant toy aisle. Hazel gave emphatic no’s to every every toy I pointed out. No to the plastic keys. No to the nesting blocks. No to the light-up giraffe.
We then went over two rows to check-out the dolls. Hazel gave test-hugs to a couple, but quickly asked me to put them back (Back Mom) But then, while reading the box of a new-school cabbage patch kid, inspiration struck my girl:
BOOKS! She exclaimed.
We made a beeline for the children book section (interestingly located very far from the toy department) Hazel spent the next 20 minutes inspecting nearly every book for sale. Page by Page. I tried to hurry her along, but she was SO SERIOUS about finding Felix the perfect book she would have spent all day looking, if that is what it took.
Just when I started to think we were never going to find one - she literally screamed WOW! and pointed to a hardcover copy of Goodnight Moon. I put the book in her shaking hands and she carefully folded it in her arms and gave me a nod to say: This is it.
You see, Goodnight Moon is Hazel’s very favorite books. In fact, this book is probably her most prized possession. We have 3 copies at home (plus one at Grandmas) and read it every night before bed….
I was going to tell Hazel we absolutely did not need another copy of this book, but once I saw her face -how proud and sincerely excited she was to give Felix this gift - there was no way I was going to make her put it back.
If it is the thought that counts, Goodnight Moon might just be the best gift under our tree this year.