Time to wrap up Christmas, now that the new year is almost upon us. It has been a hectic few weeks, and the school break has passed much too quickly. As we sit here in front of the fire enjoying a lazy last day of 2009, I am trying to find a way to put into words the way I feel about the holidays and I keep finding words totally inadequate. But what it comes down to is this: as much as we are all enthralled right now with our new things, it really isn’t about the “stuff” of Christmas. What I remember most from the holidays of my childhood is not the gifts I received. I remember Christmas Eve fondue and new Christmas pajamas, sitting on the stairs with my sisters waiting to be allowed down to see the tree, fried country ham and grapefruit at my Grandmother Kathleen’s house. I remember Hanukkah dinner with my father’s parents, eating enough latkes to make me feel like popping, watching my Grandmother recite Hebrew while we lit the candles of the menorah. But I don’t think I could tell you a single gift I received, though I know there were many, and I know I loved them at the time.
I know right now Fletcher & Lola are in love with their new toys, and I am so glad that they are happy. But I hope these are not the things they will remember when they look back on this Christmas. I hope they will remember making gingerbread men with Grandmama, being in the Christmas Eve tableau at church, seeing snow for the first time, and sledding at NayNay & Grandaddy’s house in Roanoke. And I hope they will remember days like today, all of us snuggled together on the couch playing games and listening to the pop of the fire, and enjoying each other’s company.
And so this is Christmas . . . and what a Christmas is has been. Family before and family after. Christmas Eve angels and wise men and cookies for Santa. Christmas crackers with funny paper hats, stockings stuffed, new books to read, new bikes to ride. An afternoon oyster roast with friends and evening cocktails with more friends. Peace and love and joy all around.
So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
As wonderful as the holidays are, they can sometimes get the better of me. The stress, the chaos, the hustle and bustle. Not to mention I haven’t been sleeping lately . . . time to stop and remind myself of all the little reasons to be happy. And there are so, so many.
Like little dancers . . .
homemade Christmas gifts (wish I could share the best with you, but I have to keep them secret for now!)
sparkly picture frames with photos from Christmases past . . .
preschool friends and preschool Christmas programs . . .
tiny toes . . .
glittering mantles . . .
and my favorite Christmas ornaments – ceramic balls with the children’s handprints from every Christmas. The one in this photo was from Lola Gray’s first Christmas when she was only a few weeks old!
We have a hectic few weeks ahead of us. There will be family to visit, parties to attend, perhaps a little ice skating if there is time . . . I am so looking forward to having Fletcher home from school for two whole weeks!!! It doesn’t really matter what we do over the next two weeks, as long as we all do it together.
It was a weekend of parties for the Gaddy family! We kicked off with Lola Gray’s 4th birthday party, held jointly with her friend Anina who was celebrating her 5th birthday. Princesses abounded, of course.
Sunday was the Ardsley Park Neighborhood Association Holiday Party. Santa arrived on his trolley and promised many things he probably should have refrained from promising. After cookies and hot cocoa and caroling on the trolley, Santa headed back to the North Pole and we headed home as well.
I have been meaning to post this for days and keep forgetting. Such a silly little thing, and yet pretty huge.
I know I have posted before about my frustration in trying to teach Lola Gray her letters. The child is obviously brilliant, but has shown no interest in learning her letters and numbers. What is worse, she gets incredibly frustrated whenever I try to teach her and she quits. I don’t deal well with quitting. But I also don’t want this to be a chore – I know she will learn them eventually.
But a few days ago, Lola presented us with the answer to the problem! She doesn’t care about learning her letters – but she does want to be able to WRITE! Who would have thought? On Thanksgiving she made the place cards and wrote Mommy! Amazing, no?
Since this little discovery I have also downloaded an app to my iPhone called iWrite Words. The app lets her trace letters, numbers and words on the screen and has fun sound effects and bright colors. She loves it! And, it turns out, she knows a lot more of her letters than she was letting on. Not all of them, but we are getting there.
It just goes to show you how we each learn differently. One size does not fit all. (Must make an elementary school teacher’s job incredibly difficult!)
My baby girl turned 4 years old yesterday! Hard to believe. The last 4 years have just flown by . . . which is a bit funny since those first few weeks and months after she was born seemed to drag on forever! Things seemed so hard at first, and I was really worried that my decision to have the kids so close together was a huge mistake. But now I can’t imagine it any other way.
They are so sweet together, and such good friends. I hope it stays that way.
Lola and I made cupcakes for her to take to school and share with her friends. She was so proud carrying them into the classroom! After school Raymond and I had planned to take her out for a special birthday lunch, just the 3 of us, but the forecast of inclement weather (which, coincidentally never arrive) closed the school systems early so we picked up Fletcher and it became a family birthday lunch followed by a trip to the tree lot. We brought home a beautiful tree, pulled out the ornaments and lights, and decorated all afternoon. And of course there were cupcakes (topped with cotton candy) after dinner!
I hope she had a nice birthday. Party on Saturday, so the celebrations will continue!
The Elf made his return today, sitting on the kitchen windowsill and quietly keeping an eye on our behavior, ready to report back to Santa. I can’t say I’m not fond of the little guy. I can’t say I don’t enjoy the race to find his new perch each morning, the way Lola Gray talks to him when she thinks I’m not listening, the building of holiday excitement. And it is sooooo nice to be able to say “The elf is watching. . .” and have everyone snap into shape. But I feel mildly guilty about it at the same time. Am I setting us up for a huge fall somewhere down the road?