This has been a crazy holiday season. Its a different experience, navigating Christmas with two small and very active children. I went back and forth from packing way to much in to being antsy that we weren't doing enough. Today was a great day for the kids...and an absolutely exhausting day for dan and me. I don't know what the secret is to pulling off a successful holiday season with kids in tow and not being absolutely dead at the end of it. Honestly though, the good moments have far outweighed the bad. Here are a few highlights from our past month of holiday events.
*Visiting Santa at Festival of Trees. Dan would interject that this was NOT a highlight of our year. We waited in line for 45 minutes with post-bedtime children for a 20 second visit with a rather grumpy Santa and in the end Sammy freaked out and Eli didn't have much to say to the man in red. BUT...it was a great learning moment for me; while I wanted my kids to experience the joy of meeting Santa...I think I may have pushed this one a little too much. Next time we'll opt for a non-peak time visit and a good prep before.
*Driving around and looking at Christmas lights. This was much less stressful. The kids were strapped in, we sang songs, and despite a few car-seat meltdowns we had a great time. So much so, in fact, that we went out to look at lights a lot...like maybe 5 or 6 times?
*Making a ginger bread train for FHE. This was another great learning moment for Mom; don't plan a candy/sugar infused activity and then freak out when all the toddler wants to do is cram the sweet stuff. In the end I just gave up and Eli and I wiped frosting on each other in a sort of 'battle to the death'. It was fun.
*Visiting Temple Square to see the lights. This actually turned out to be one of our best outings this year. We parked a long ways away from the center of town. It wasn't too freezing out and the walk was actually lovely. The kids behaved relatively well despite Eli's constant escape attempts (he does NOT care about where we are when we go out...its getting to be a real problem) and we enjoyed seeing all the sites and taking it all in. I was so thrilled that Macy's started up with the candy window displays again. This was a must-see when I was a kid. It was so fun to see them all again.
*Christmas Eve dinner with siblings and folks. This year we invited my parents and two single siblings over for dinner. It went surprisingly well...cooking a big meal with kiddies running around seemed like an impossible prospect but we all pitched in and things came together nicely. The best par of the night? A spontaneous poetry read-off after the kids went to sleep. We all picked our favorites and either recited them from memory or looked them up and read them. Mine was "Annabel Lee" by Poe and an excerpt from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Dan read "The Jabberwocky" and recited a few from memory from his childhood.
*Christmas morning. This morning was crazy, but we decided to let the kids go at their own pace and things worked out nicely. This was our first ever Christmas with just our little family. I really liked it. Dan and I had so much fun setting up toys last night and were probably more excited than the kids this morning when we woke up. Eli loved his train set and RC car...Sammy seemed genuinely taken with his set of stacking cups and little piano. It was just lovely to sit and watch our kids enjoy playing with toys and interacting with each other. The rest of the day sort of digressed into a candy-gorge and nap-fight followed by a nice but non-relaxing dinner at my parent's house (see aforementioned candy-gorge and nap-fight).
All in all it was a good time. I learned a lot...and I'm ready to take on next year with my trove of lessons. I wish a very Merry Christmas to all my dear friends and family and hope you have a wonderful start to 2013. MWAH!