Each December, the nostalgia of Christmas combined with the approaching new year stirs in us a wistful feeling. Since the children have been born, I have diligently filmed every precious moment that I could capture. I imagined that one day, I would lovingly relive them, warm smile on my face and mug in my hand. But, I think it has sll been for naught. Just seconds into the video below taken five years ago in Christmas day in Italy, and I feel just like Chevy Chase in Christmas vacation. Not the jovial, fun Chevy Chase but the sad one, when he's sitting in the attic watching the old reels of his childhood and bawling his eyes out. And, this video wasn't even taken that long ago! I imagine the nostalgia will only compound over the coming years, and doubt that it will be any good for me at all. Time, you are a thief!
Okay, that's enough melancholy reminiscing for one blog post; let's get back to the present. Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year, even if it does make us all a little wistful. About ten days before Christmas, I tired to slow down and focus on enjoying the moment. But that doesn't mean not going anywhere; we can still slow down and enjoy while we are out and about at Knott's Merry Farm, Disneyland, Irvine Regional Park or anywhere else! To me, enjoying the moment means putting my phone down and noticing the small things that the kids say or do, smiling and not worrying about things beyond my control, all the presents that need to be wrapped or wondering how it will all get done. It always does, right? It means choosing joy, and realizing that as long as everyone is healthy and happy, we are truly blessed. Life is good, and God is good. And when it seems like He's not? It's only because he has bigger and better plans.We started the month with my husband's (and his twin's!) surprise 40th birthday party. Thank you to the Leach's for hosting and to everyone who came out! It was fun, yet stressful, keeping it a secret, since that's not my style. Since we were not able to coordinate the twins arriving together, they each arrived separately for two different reveals...within minutes of each other. The kids had a blast running around with sharp objects on the side yard, and no one was injured. It was a late night for this non-drinker but it was worth it. The kids slept in one of the spare bedrooms without protest, and just after 3:30am, we scooped them up to go home.
The kids each had a Christmas performance through their school. We were driving to church for Aut's Christmas pageant and I was explaining that the event was going to be live-streamed. Realizing that she did not know what this was, I explained that her Grandma was going to be watching her do everything right when she did it. It wasn't a recording that would be watched later, I explained, but Grandma would be viewing her live, and in real-time. Suddenly, she understood, and sweetly stated "Oh, I understand: My Grandma in Heaven will be watching me on stage." My heart. It was both humorous and heartbreaking. "No baby, I meant your Grandma in Oregon. But, your Grandma in Heaven will be watching too...I suppose that is just like a livestream..." My father and brother (collectively known as GrandpaGlennie) came to church to watch the performance.
This month, we discovered a game-changer book for our girl! She came home very excited about this Gerald and Piggie book, which I ordered from Amazon. When it arrived, I gave her to it for the drive to school and it was the first time that she read on her own without any prompting and was truly excited! She also needed very little help. Other than the humor in it (same author as Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!), I think the fact that there is only once sentence per page makes it less intimidating for her, as she is able to progress through it very quickly.
The kids were fortunate to see Santa a few times this season. They are now aware that Santa is so busy that he has special "helpers" that are often placed at the mall and other places to help him out since it's such a busy time of year for him. She could tell that the Santa they saw at Disneyland was once such helper, but we were able to locate the real one a few weeks later.
How else would Santa know that she did that? You can tell she was a bit caught off guard (and, wowed!) and told me after that she thought he may have been upset with her! But she loved every minute of it, and said that she wants to see Santa at this location, every year. Done, baby girl; for as long as you'll let me take you, we're there.
We had a nice dinner at El Ranchito in Corona del Mar afterwards, and thoughts of Mom were on my heart, as we often visited CdM when she was in town. My favorite Christmas picture of my Mom and I was taken there, on the beach in Crystal Cove. I love how we form a heart shape with our hug. June 28th, October 8th and all of December are tough for me in regard to missing Mom. I still whisper, once a day, I miss you, Mom with a heavy sigh. Then, I try and pull myself up by the bootstraps and channel that longing into something positive and fun with the kids. Mom did not spend much (if any?) time feeling sorry for herself because she was just too busy living and enjoying every moment.
Aut asked Santa for "A real live hamster" and Cha asked for "tools." We were not sure if he would be able to deliver on the live animal, especially since we were at Grandma's. Aut was consumed with wondering what was in her Santa gift, and realized that it felt like a cage when it was moved and she was told she couldn't open it just yet. The anticipation had been building and her little heart must have sank when she opened the cage and saw the worst thing imaginable: A STUFFED, FAKE, NON-LIVE HAMSTER. She must have been extremely disappointed, but tried very hard to conceal it. She seemed to be in shock and was very quiet until we realized that there was was hope; there was a letter! As soon as I started reading it to her and she realized that he had come through for her, she started crying tears of joy and relief!
We were blessed with a white Christmas; our first white Christmas! The snow actually stuck on the ground for Christmas morning and only continued over the next few days. It was so beautiful and we loved watching it fall. Grandma bought sleds for the kids, and they had a blast playing with the neighbor girl and renter's granddaughter. We even pulled them behind the gator on the volleyball field!