The Adventures of Christmas with a Two Year Old

Before I get to the Christmas Day activities, I forgot to post our Countdown activity on the 21st. We went and visited the Live Nativity. It was kinda cute. Miss Punky was having trouble saying Nativity. (Remember the wisemen she popped the heads off of) She kept saying “Bativity.” Finally Kim broke it down “Nu Tivity.” Punky says, “Nutivity? Oh! I like nuts!”

Of course, her atheist moms thought it was hilarious that she continued to call it a nutivity the entire time. I insisted we go to visit the nativity because its something we did as kids with my grandmother. It doesn’t hold the same significance now that I no longer believe in the story of Jesus, but I do want to keep some of my traditions from my childhood alive.

Believe me, there are a lot of childhood memories I work very hard to shield her from, but there are some, the fun memories that don’t involve my upbringing or my parents or alcohol or anything that may contribute to my PTSD, such as this live nativity activity that I cherish in the mixture of crazy in my kidhood. I want to keep that spirit alive in Punky’s Christmas experience.

We managed to make our way over to the people in the nativity, Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus – just to see them. She did not pop anyone’s head off this time. But she did much prefer climbing on the gates to get at the animals than the plastic doll and the story she didn’t understand.

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So, on to Christmas Day.

Surprise, surprise, our kid is spoiled rotten. We have gotten through Christmas with minimal damage – involving only one tantrum/time-in combo, and an otherwise pretty very happy toddler.

Last night, we ended our Christmas Countdown with a gift on Christmas Eve which consisted of brand new PJs. We made a trail in the driveway with reindeer food so Santa’s reindeer knew how to get to our house. We spent the afternoon on NORAD Santa Tracker, following his progress. By the time the cookies were set out and we had a sip of Santa’s milk, we were in bed and Santa was headed out of Georgia!

Since the kid woke up at 3AM Christmas Eve, a day early, expecting Santa and too excited to sleep – she crashed long before bedtime yesterday – in fact before we made it to our first family function. She fell asleep on me while everyone was getting ready to leave and then again in the car on the way to the party.

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We did get some new, current pictures of us as a couple and a family. I really like how they turned out.

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We got home super passed her bedtime,so imagine, no matter how excited she was, with no real nap, other than sleeping in the car for a minute, she fell asleep the minute I shut her bedroom door, and then it was time to get to work on Santa Duty.

I had to pick up the Minnie Mouse bike from her godparents’ house. We had the toughest time finding a bike we could afford and get it in the Minnie Mouse style she wanted. So, we swapped out the neighbor’s kids’ bike and took Punky’s cousins bike from the garage, gave it to her godfather (fucking awesome guy who is wrapped around ALL her tiny fingers) and he painted it up all nice for her.

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I set up her burlap bag from Santa and her stocking in front of the tree and then hid the bike under a blanket in the back where she wouldn’t be looking or paying attention. Helped Grammy and Papa stuff the rest of the stockings and finished wrapping up some gifts for the rest of the family’s kids, then I went to bed. Of course, I was too excited to sleep. Not to mention that we live in the basement and she is at least two flights above me, so I was anxious all night, worried she would wake up and open all the presents, discover the bike and be riding it around the livingroom when I woke up!

As luck would have it, and as expected, she kept her pinky “I Promise” and stayed in bed until the sun woke up so that Santa could deliver is presents and the magic of Christmas would work – if she woke up, he would not be able to deliver the presents she was asking for.

So, when she got up, she was excited to pull open the first present she saw. We had to wrangle her a bit, but she was pretty awesome about opening this year. This is the first year she’s been as interactive and really knew what Christmas and Santa and presents meant to her.

The bike was a hit.

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We took it outside for a bit, with her baby Ellen (who Santa brought a new outfit) and tried to get the hang of the bike. She enjoyed it and then she got frustrated, because she would push the pedals back and put the breaks on and then not understand how to get the bike to go again. So, it will take some getting used to and some practice, but she got what she wanted and it comes with a helmet, knee/elbow pads, and bike gloves. All in MINNIE MOUSE. LOL.

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She wore her helmet and new bathrobe for most of the rest of the morning while she tore through box after box after bag after toy and movies and yet, she still came back to the bike. She did get a very special gift from Grammy this year. Which in her own words is “Very special to me.” Its a music box with a dancing ballerina, the old school kind. Our kid is kind of a tiny dancer and really wants to be a Doctor Ballerina when she grows up, so this was a pretty sweet present for her. Grammy got her into the ballet stuff and encourages her to dance and sing all the time, so this gift between the two of this, was just super heart warming.

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On that note, even though we live with her grandparents, I’m just so glad they were there for her to open her presents. When I was growing up, and I’ve been getting a little sentimental lately, my grandparents came over every Christmas morning and watched us open our presents from Santa and eat breakfast with us. It was one of my more favorite memories of Christmas. A lot of family stuff has happened in the last week and a half that have really put my childhood and my memories in the forefront of my mind. Not all good – but in this case, not all bad.

By the end of the day, she had gotten away with all sorts of stuff. New clothes from her bestie her Aunt Ashley. A new tablet from her Uncle and his wife, and lots and lots of toys from everyone else. The big thing was the accessories for her new dollhouse.

We had been batting around the idea of getting her a dollhouse from Santa, but she asked for a bike and that’s what she was getting. So, the dollhouse was going to be put on hold. HOWEVER, while we were all driving around the town checking out the light displays on houses, Grammy spotted a dollhouse on the side of the road. We stopped the car, I hopped out, grabbed it, and tucked it in the trunk.

When we got it home, we realized it needed lots of TLC, but it was going to be great for Punky, since she doesn’t know its someone else’s ‘trash’ and she didn’t know it was broken. She was supposed to get it for Christmas, but she found it in a closet and didn’t stop til Grammy cleaned it up and we found some toys to play in the house with it.

Now, as of Christmas Day opening, she has an additional dollhouse (the dogs’ house) and people, furniture, accessories, and puppies to go with it. She also has a mechanical hamster that has a rolling stage van parked behind her massive dollhouse.

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We have more Christmas to go to, but I just can’t thank people in our lives for the support and love our little girl has in her life. I am filled with some melancholy this season, due to the family stuff back home (my family lives 3 hours away) and someday, maybe I will blog about it. It really just involves addiction, neglect, and beating the violent cycle that is my childhood and relationship role models. So, I didn’t get to celebrate with my side of the family and that does make me sad.

But we called all those who we could call (those not in jail and such) and I sent a Christmas text to our ever so special donor to wish him a Merry Christmas. We don’t exchange messages often, but I like him to know we think of him on days like this – special times that we can share these days and spoil the crap out of the kid he helped us create and then took a backseat where most lesbian couples don’t get so lucky.

Anyway, my kid is set for a while. She’s for sure loved and filled with an overwhelming, overflowing support and family – more than any little girl could ask for and more than either of her moms could have expected for her to receive.

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I saw some of my TTC blogger friends got a nice Christmas BIG FAT POSITIVE, congratulations! As for those still trying, you know I’m rooting for you in 2015!

To all the readers out there, whoever you are, Happy Holiday you celebrate, however you celebrate it! May you be happy and loved in every sense of the word!

Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

Microblog Monday – Day 7 Christmas Countdown

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post over at Stirrup Queens, which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

We went to Christmas in the park. A park full of Christmas light displays. She had a blast looking at all the lights and singing to the Christmas songs on the radio.

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IMG_1527 IMG_1521 IMG_1519Until she had a meltdown in true 2 year old fashion in the backseat when it was time to leave.

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We made a stop at the magic tree and she was cheered up for a moment, until it was time to go home. Hooray Christmas Countdown that is so much fun we have to cry and throw tantrums when its over.

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Day 18: Making Cookies With Mommy

So, let me preface this by saying, I’m not a baker and I don’t really cook. However, I really wanted one of our countdown days to incorporate a dear tradition from my childhood. One of my favorite memories, growing up, was going to my grandmother’s house and decorating cookies. Any way I wanted to! So, my brothers and sister would all gather around the table and smear icing and sprinkles all over the cookies.

I always told her I’d never get too old to decorate cookies. And, I meant it. I moved away and didn’t get to come back home for each year after I graduated, so I’m glad we got to start the tradition up again with Punky.

Again, I am not a baker, so making the dough from scratch, wasn’t going to happen. So, I got a package of pre-made dough – which is also very convenient after a long 8 hour day at work.

We laid out some wax paper and smooshed them into shapes with the cookie cutters.

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We put the cookies on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I swear I cooked them exactly as the instructions on the package said to cook them. After the 12 minute wait, I opened the oven to a cookie blob. All the cookies had grown into each other, deflated, and made a giant cookie in the pan.

Oh well, I was disappointed, but Kim made a good point, it doesn’t matter, it’s still going to taste good. So, while I wanted to help her decorate little candy canes and snowmen and the million stars she cut out, I suppose, for the toddler, a cookie blob was probably a better idea anyway.

We smeared some icing on the top, shook sprinkles on it and threw the candy ones on top.

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While I wanted everything to be perfect, it won’t always be. So, I suppose I need to lighten up a bit and let the fun be what it is. I know she enjoyed munching on the sprinkles and licking her icing covered fingers. Maybe next year, when the shapes may be more intriguing to her, I can figure out how I managed to lose all the shapes – but for now, it was a pretty sweet success.

Day 16: Afternoon Out on the Town with Mommy

This was a bit of a spur of the moment thing. We were supposed to just go to Walmart and get a star off the Angel tree and come home. We will still do that later, but well, I decided to take Miss Punky off to the mall. It’s the first time she’s really been since she’s been so mobile.

Her Mama was taking a nap – so I thought, what better way to keep the house semi-quiet (I forgot to turn off the TV, so it didn’t work) than to get the toddler out of the house. The weather is pretty decent today and it was a nice little outing for just the two of us.

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I got her dressed first, in one of her many Christmas shirts. This one says, “Is it too late to be Good?” While I was getting myself ready, I looked over and she’s just chilling by the front door. When I pulled up the pictures to pick which ones to share, I noticed that she got the door with some chalk. Easy to clean up and according to Kim its been there for a bit. I never noticed!

Anyway, we went to the mall and wandered about. We went down to the play area first, because I wasn’t really sure where the Santa set was. One of my really great mom friends works over there and I was looking for her. While Punky played, I texted her to see where she was hiding Santa in the huge ass mall.

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While we waited for the return text, Punky saw the giant carousel and decided she must ride on it.

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I tried to put her on a horse first, but with all other horse like rides, she wasn’t having it. So we settled for nice little carriage seat for her to be buckled into, all nice and comfy.

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After our ride, we found out that my friend wasn’t working today, but she called ahead and told them to give me a photo package of my choice. How thoughtful she is! I’m so glad that while I didn’t really get much out of the mom’s group I was apart of, I met some really sweet ladies, like this one!

We  made our way to the Santa set, but Santa was taking a break. Instead of trying to wrangle the kid while we waited for 15 minutes for Santa to return, we took a short ride up the escalator to Build-a-Bear. Totally spur of the moment. But, what’s an outing with Mommy without a little money spent.

She picked out her ‘pony’ and we went to get it stuffed. I had to practically put her foot on the peddle the whole time, but we got it stuffed.

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We washed the pony and made a birth certificate and paid for it. No clothes or shoes were needed, she’s not even two. But, I am thinking this may need to be a tradition for Punky and I every year. I really enjoyed watching her pick out her toy and make it and then not let it go.

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We finally made it back to get a picture with Santa.

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She did well, but she did have a death grip on the pony. On the way out, we stopped for a Dora cookie for the road and Mommy needed a drink. We headed out to the car and she was content to hold onto her pony the whole way home.

It was one of the few times she fell asleep in the car. I hated to wake her!

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She’s currently sleeping off her fun filled afternoon and I am relaxing my feet! I think an afternoon with Mommy will have to be on the books for years to come! 🙂

Day 12: Coloring Christmas Cards for Family

I woke up with a migraine today and called out sick to work. I’m still not feeling great, in that, my head still has a dull throb to it.

I stayed home with Punky and spent time hanging out quietly around the house. This afternoon, we opened her envelope for the day and it had a little tattoo inside and the idea for coloring Christmas Cards to send to our family members.

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It was the first time that she didn’t eat the crayons. Of course, the longer she was coloring the more she had to fight the urge to eat the crayons. She did eat a few of the tips off of them.

After a nap, we got up and started to set up the Christmas tree. I have been meaning to set it up for some time, so we finally got it put it. Punky did a lot of helping us with the putting it together. She was kind of fascinated with the branches.

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She got to put the star on the top of the tree as well.

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After getting the lights on, we found that some of the ornaments from last year were broken, so we figured we needed to get some more. Punky and I went out to Walmart for more. She picked out some cute purple ornaments, shatterproof, of course.

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She came home with a new baby. Typical of a shopping trip with Punky.

When we got home, she helped me put the ornaments on the tree, which really just consisted of her shoving the ornaments in between the branches and letting them fall to the floor. Shatterproof! Thank goodness.

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When the tree was put up, we wrapped her up in the left over garland. She marched and danced around the living room with garland falling to her feet.

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While I had a headache most of the day and my eyes and sinuses seem to be bothering me, I had a decent time with my little monster today!

Day 6: Planting Candy Canes with Mommy

I had to work late tonight. I had stay later than I even expected helping a customer get their medication before the weekend. I was really looking forward to today’s event, so I started it right away!

Day 6 started out with opening the envelope. It had little chocolate snowmen balls to eat. She has become such a chocoholic.

I got her all set up and got her set up with her mini plant pot and some crayons. They are ‘my first crayons’ for toddlers specifically. This was a learning experience for the two of us. She is learning to color and I learned that she didn’t try to eat the crayons this time!

We might be able to color for real now! Let’s hope!

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She had a nice time picking out the colors and making a few little scribbles and marks. She really enjoyed coloring on the inside of the pot the best.

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She looks so focused right! So, once she got tired of coloring and got ready to move on to the next step of planting the candy canes. I just think this idea is the cutest thing and I am sure that as she gets bigger she will really love doing this every year.

What did we do without Pinterest, I mean seriously?!

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Next we put some snowflake confetti in the pot. She had a little fun dropping the plastic snowflakes into the planting pot. I think she really just liked to hear the sound as it was dropped into it.

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Next, we took some ‘elf seeds’ and pushed them in the snowflakes and shook the pot around. She sprinkled a little blue glitter on the top to ‘water’ it and we will wait until the morning for the candy cane to sprout!

Day Two: Christmas Movie with Moms

Day two of our Christmas Countdown was pretty uneventful. I got home from work around 6 after going shopping for during movie snacks like popcorn. We had a little dinner and then initiated the envelope fun.

Punky stood patiently waiting for the envelope and when I asked her to pull it off the ribbons, this time she didn’t have the patience for it. Likely for the best really, yesterday she spilled M&Ms on the floor.

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She immediately opened the envelope and dug out the candy. Tonight there were jelly beans in there. She was happy as a clam, she shoved them in her mouth, thus the face she is currently making.

IMG_2842I know she’s not yet two yet, so she doesn’t care about the cards, but I’m damn proud of them, so I am taking a picture with her holding each one this year! This one says “Watch a Christmas Movie”.

Now, I should preface this with the fact that we have never really sat down and had a family movie night with Punky. I never felt like she had the attention span for it. However, Kim had recorded the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer movie, the clay version and since it was something she always did as a kid, I wanted to make sure we incorporated it into Punky’s traditions.

So, we set up a bowl of cheese puffs, her sippy of milk and curled up on the bed with Mama.

The movie was about an hour, with the addition of commercials, so after fast forwarding, I’d say it’s 40 minutes or so. We got her to keep her attention through most of it. She sat very nicely through the first 15 minutes or so, she jumped on the bed through the next 15-20 minutes and then sat quietly for the last 10 minutes or so. I would say the night was a success!

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Day two was a hit, I think, we had a chance to snuggle up on the bed together, the three of us and hang out. It was a nice de-stressing moment after a very long, exhausting day for me at work.

OH! And we finally got our stolen money back from the bank. It took nearly two and a half weeks and we were penny pinching like mad, but we made it. It was stressful, but Day 2 of our Christmas Countdown ended on a high.