Saturday, December 26, 2009

Beautiful and Bright*

*Many of my titles have double meanings for the enjoyment of my parents and brothers.

What a special Christmas we had! It is so much fun to have a little girl running around.
Christmas Eve, we went to our church's candlelight service. It was really nice and the best part was I got to play the handbells! How magical they are, I love them! I didn't mess up except for in one part I was unsure and I decided to would be better to not play a note rather than to play the wrong bell and have it sound horrible. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking the whole time.

I have been worrying about what Claire should wear to the service for quite some time. We received this dress from Claire's baby shower but it is too short and Josh didn't like the way the skirt starts at the arm pits.

It is super cute though so I cut of the bottom and made it into a skirt. Then I made a black top to go with it. I am pretty proud of that blouse. It was my first attempt making a shirt and I didn't even have a pattern. I am amazed that it came out. Here she is dancing in her new dress.Her hair clip I got from an Etsy site called Little Lesiw. I splurged on it so I could figure out how to make them for myself. I love it.
After the service, all of my side of the family came back to our house and we had our tamales and other various Mexican sides. (It's tradition) After that, we opened the gifts! Claire was not too into opening them. She just doesn't quite get it yet. She was very pleased with everything she got though.
Her FCOR Marisol gave her some wood blocks. She was a champ at stacking them! Uncle Bubba and Claire kept challenging each other with their block balancing.
Claire's favorite gift from Nana was this fun sorter and she was busy sorting for a long time that night.

Uncle Bubba was a favorite that night apparently.
Uncle Didi and Aunt Michelle gave her a Little People house. She loved that as well and set the people up in their chairs. Uncle Didi is so silly the way he plays. Claire loves it when her uncles play with her. They do things I would never think to.

Claire finally had a break down when she saw Steve take a bite of fudge and didn't share any with her. She ran away into the bathroom and cried. That is when we knew it was time for bed. Of course she wanted to go to bed though - before Santa passed over our house.

She woke up the next morning and we took her down to her stocking. Santa had left a big rocking horse! It 'neighs' and makes trotting sounds. ($10 at Savers)She opened a few gifts from us which were mostly books from the thrift store. She also opened this dress from Mimi (great grandma)Words just do not do it justice. It has so many ruffled layers that is stands up by itself.

After a morning nap, we headed over to Josh's parents' house for our big, Christmas Day celebration. Grandpa cooked the most delicious roast. he also made Alaskan King Crab legs which were good - if you are into eating bugs that live in the water. Which I am not. I tasted it with an open mind, but no.
It was a special treat for Josh though. I just don't eat seafood. I could rant on about how gross it is but I will spare you. Chef Shelbe stirring up trouble. Oh Shelbe got a new kitten for Christmas! Jasper is his name. He is a sweety but Claire wanted to treat him a little rough so she wasn't allowed to play with him very much.This is Jeffery. He is similar to Harley in the way that he gets yelled at to go to his bed and he will go lay down, but not even two minutes later he is back under your feet. He is a sad old guy though - and not very photogenic. (he was blinking he is not really that ugly)
Claire decided she was not going to nap this day which was BAD NEWS and she was cranky the whole evening. She watched some Christmas shows with Grandma but even that was not making her happy. At night we opened presents. Claire got so many wonderful toys. She has spent all day playing with them today. This one was a set of those big cardboard blocks. There are 45 of them now scattered all over the floor. She loves stacking them up and knocking them down.
Winnie the Pooh plate, cup, fork and spoon.
Uncle Corey's girlfriend, Matea, came and joined us. She is very sweet and has the most beautiful accent - she is from Croatia.
And of course, it just wouldn't be Christmas without Claire getting at least something with a monkey on. Josh is leaving tonight for the annua,l Amor Ministries Mexico trip to build a house. Claire and I will head over to my parents' in the morning. More family is coming in on Monday for the day and my Grandma is returning to California on Tuesday. It will be nice to be near actual shopping areas so I can get in on the after Christmas savings without driving 15 miles into the depths of Phoenix.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why Yes, We Are!

Are we going lie to our child about Santa Claus? Yes, we are, we are going to lie about the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as well. "But then she will question the truth about Jesus and become an athiest" (or so I have been told.) The truth is though, I have never met the person who responded in that way nor do I believe that has ever happened. If it has, then I think that person must have deeper issues and was not really a true Christian in the first place.

"But then your child will miss the real meaning of Christmas and focus on Santa instead of Jesus." Yesterday, I was told that the virgin birth should be reason enough for Claire to be excited about Christmas. Now, I don't know about you but I have never explained what a virgin is to a young child let alone a virgin birth and expected them to see the greatness in that. If you want to try, then more power to you.

Growing up my brothers and I were lied to about Santa and I am so thankful. It made Christmas such a (and I hesitate to use this word) magical time. I have no doubt that the reason I get so excited about Christmas is because of how amazing it was as a child. My parents were pretty conservative about Santa compared to our friends. We never had images or characters of Santa and even to this day we don't buy anything that has Santa on it as the Christmas icon. For us, Jesus was of course the reason we have Christmas and Santa was an added bonus.

I remember vividly the day my mom told me there was no Santa. I was 6 years old. She called me into the kitchen away from my brothers (both still believed but apparently one of my friends had told me there was no Santa and I began to ask questions). My mom quietly told me that it wasn't Santa that put gifts in our stocking. "Is it Jesus?" I asked. "No, it's me and Dad, but it is fun to pretend and you can't tell the boys because they still think there is a Santa and we don't want to take the fun away from them" I then felt extremely privileged with this classified knowledge and made sure to guard this secret carefully.

A few years later, I was helping in Bryan's Sunday school class (he was 5 at the time) and a girl in the class raised her hand with a prayer request. "I want to pray for all the kids who still believe in Santa - cause we know he is fake" she said. I remember being mortified that now poor young Bryan had his childhood stolen from him. Luckily, he must have not been paying attention because he never brought it up and was still a Santa believer for a couple more years.

I completely understand everyone who is not comfortable with telling their children there is a Santa, as it is a personal, family decision. But please, let your kids know that it is not their duty to make sure they spread their knowledge to the less fortunate children who have dishonest parents.
Childhood is a short season, we want to make the most of it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Zoo Lights

We made it out to Zoo Lights this week. It was Claire's first time. She was enamored by all the lights and colors and music.
When Claire is around either her Grandma or Nana only they can hold her. She would have nothing to do with me the whole night. She does this all the time and even when they leave our house after babysitting, Claire cries and clings to them like she's saying "Don't leave me here with this horrible mommy!" I don't understand it but I welcome the break in most cases. It was a really nice evening. (Well, I was freezing the whole time but that is just expected)

Claire even prefered her Uncle Corey over me!

The famous dancing trees. It looked more like a haunted house show to me.
All of the lights were really pretty and well done. I don't think I could go year after year though. Josh and I went way back when we were dating and it still seemed the same as it did back then. It was a nice night though and of course everything is more fun with Claire:)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Photo Shoot

Last week we tackled the dreaded Christmas photo. It amazes me that we manage to pull out a few good ones each year. This year, I hung wrapping paper on our garage door and sat Claire in front of it (I did this last year as well)

Here are the ones three made it on the Christmas card....
and here are some of the ones that did NOT.

This one is creepy/happy

This was early on in the shoot and we almost gave up.
She is a girl of many expressions.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Time Flies - When You Have A Toddler

What a crazy, busy, month we have had! I can't believe how fast it has gone. Josh finished up his semester at Southwestern and we are all grateful that he has much more time on his hands. (Well, he will after he gets back from the Amor Ministries trip to Mexico. He leaves the day after Christmas and comes back late on the 31st.

Claire seems to be adding new words to her vocabulary lately. It is nice that she can now say things other than her animal sounds we taught her. Her newest of words are: more, please, ball, bug, bad dog, tickle tickle, kitty, hot, up and off. Yes, she is a woman of few words. I'm sure that is going to change in the next couple of months as just this week has started using her words more.

We are so excited for Christmas his year! Josh and I can't wait to see Claire open her presents. It is a little saddening knowing that she will never remember it. We are making it a festive time regardless. She will remember by pictures right?

This week we went to visit Nana and Gigi again. Claire enjoyed the leaves in the front yard before Poppy mows them all up.

Uncle Buddy* played with her and threw leaves on her head...
*actually he will hereafter be referred to as Bubba. Claire yells "Bubba!" instead of "Buddy!"
She thought that was hilarious... this is her belly laugh.

We walked to the park to let Claire play. Claire loves playing on slides and playgrounds. She could go up and down the steps all day if we let her.She especially loved this little slide but as you can see there was an obnoxious boy who was way too big for it who kept going up and down and running on it. He went down on his stomach, side, back, head first, other side. He kept saying, "Watch this!" We kept saying, "Watch out!"His dad just stood at a distance and watched as his son terrorized the playground. He looked bored out of his mind and grateful that someone else had to deal with the boy instead of him.

We let Claire try the big kid swings. She holds on really well!I will post some Christmas card pictures this weekend!