It seems like Christmas has come early this year. Before the turkey had even been cooked, lights around the block were going up for the next holiday. The Monday after Christmas I took down the Fall/Thanksgiving decorations and started getting Christmas ready. It’s always a bit of a surprise to see what kind of decorations we have stored away. As I went through the box I had forgotten about the little souvenirs stowed away. The clay hand prints, Emery’s first Christmas picture and first Christmas picture ornament, Victor’s kindergarten drawings and our 2011 family ornament photo. This is the first year we are participating in the, Elf On The Shelf craze. We got our elf at Costco, I didn’t realize until we got home that he didn’t come with the book that tells his story. However, I did find an Elf On The Shelf website to register our little guy. I walked outside at night and “found” the little elf right by our door, sitting on the pumpkins left over from Fall. Victor had just bought a Christmas tree that night so we were cleaning up and walking in and out of the house. Little Vic thought we had put the elf outside but didn’t see anyone setting him up. The kids ran to the door when I asked, “Who did this?!”. We brought the elf into the warm house and Emery named him Snowy, everyone agreed to keep the name. That next morning the kids found Snowy cuddled up next to the Christmas tree with a mini pillow and blanket. It’s going to be a fun new tradition here, to wake up and find the little guy and see what he has been up to when we were all sleeping.
Every year during this time, we take our annual family photo and send it off in a Christmas card. This year is extra special because it’s Carlos’ first time joining us in our family tradition. While every year the photo comes out beautiful, behind the scenes it’s a struggle to get everyone to smile without looking like they have to poop or to have the kids looking into the camera. Over the years Emery has always done something that wasn’t “as planned”. We’ve learned that’s just part of her quirky self. My husband and I are usually the ones taking our own family photo, so it becomes a mad dash to the camera and back to the setting before the timer goes off. This year we had Carlos’ Nina, Valerie, take our photo. Shes somewhat of an accomplished photographer, with her own calender of Sacramento and her blog about her love of film. I thought this years pictures would be a piece of cake! All we really had to worry about was the baby looking at the camera and not facing away or looking down. Well, I was wrong! Emery decided she just didn’t want to participate this year and that sent me and my husband into a panic. Another year of going crazy to get the right picture of our expanding family. While the baby was completely fine and smiled here in there, Emery was in a mood. She just wanted to go see the Christmas trees. Nothing will work when she doesn’t want to do anything, we begged, pleaded, bribed her with candy (how awful I know) and offered to pay her in gold (I maybe exaggerating a little now) but that little smile of hers wasn’t budging. Emery’s latest thing for the past few weeks has been her collecting walking-sticks. She usually finds the shortest ones and walks around hunched back with her stick. As we posed for the photos in group pictures, Emery walked the orchards and found a walking stick to her liking. We let her take a picture with it, because as we said before, Emery will be Emery and her silliness is what makes her so special. THAT and because she looked like a cave women in her faux fur vest, little fox shoes and her warding club.
However, when it was all said and done with we got the photo we wanted! Valerie messaged me the best of’s and believe it or not, the last picture she took with her phone as a fast quicky so we could see how they looked, right before it died was the winning picture! It captured Emery in her funk but with a slight smile, the baby looking up with a slight silly face, the 10-year-old messing with grass and the two parents who survived another year of our favorite yet hectic tradition in a perfect (if i do say so myself, and I will) pose. It’s classically us.
Before it gets too late into the month I sat the kids down after dinner and had them write their Christmas list. I played Christmas music via Pandora, made them hot coco and gave them each a Christmas cookie I had bought them the day before. Cooking is not my forte, I can’t cook or bake. I had to make the hot coco three times before it came out. The first attempt I just put the powder on top of the milk, apparently this was a big mistake, as it did not mix at all. The second time I read the back of the packet and it stated that I needed to pour warm/hot milk into the cup. I put milk into a saucer and waiter for a slight boil. Then I smelt burnt milk and realized that the milk on the bottom was burning away. Third time was a charm! I put the milk back in the saucer stirred it the whole time and put it on real low. After telling my cooking story to my Sister-in-law, she asked me “why didn’t you just nuke it in the microwave”. Yesterday while driving around Emery started to question Santa. She asked, “Why is Santa magic?”. Why is he magic? I don’t know why he’s magic really, so I said I wasn’t sure, he just is. She responded, “Well, he doesn’t have a wand”. Haha how can I argue with that logic! She’s always been impossible to trick, by the time she’s in Kindergarten she’s going to hand out pamphlets to the kids, telling them to question “big brother” and think for themselves.
And as I do with each Holiday I printed out some pictures for the kids to color. I found some religious coloring pages with scripture, so that especially the little ones can grow up remembering Christmas is religious time and not just about elves and gifts.
Every night or when there’s time I’ve been reading a story or two from Emery’s children’s bible. Her favorite is Adam & Eve, so I have to read that at least once. There’s sure to be more memories made this year and crafts to be put away, and found again next year.
As I’m about publish this to the world-wide-web I realized it’s a very special day! Emery is now 3 1/2 today! Every 6 months I cry when the kids get a year and a half older. It’s always bitter-sweet to see them growing up.