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.

10007071_10153425943059148_5804401524306364908_n

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.

10868078_10153428898854148_9101640743576519456_n

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?!

10392452_10203730761131554_5975348658045299689_n

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

10836422_10153725629972195_1194133813_n

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.

553284_10153433059104148_3768549941426297788_n

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!

10682425_10153436574079148_6788602757026370592_o

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!

10678759_10153430755619148_5027971448701475349_n

10392469_10153431152724148_6758108362848203401_n

10438258_10153434735684148_6412271761116570528_n

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!

2014 Christmas Countdown Day 4,5,6 And the headless wise man…

Yep, I suck at blogging this year when it comes to the Christmas Countdown this year.

Day 4 – Making Christmas Cards for family and friends. She got to color all the cards and then we put wallet sized pictures of her and Santa inside and will mail them to our family and friends. Mostly, my family who is out of town and we don’t see them as much as we do Kim’s side of the family.

10671361_10153407617929148_3978087720796349452_n

Day 5 – Write a letter to Santa.

10690106_10153409214974148_1761711626887983687_n

I think she really enjoyed the letter writing to Santa. This year, she’s really getting interactive and that’s why the activities that I picked for this year’s countdown was more interactive and meaningful. If you notice, she asked Santa for … TWO bikes. I also love that she made her squiggles on the lines, like she was really writing a letter.

10429252_10153409214969148_6585517923718739071_n

Day 6 – Christmas Movie Night with Moms. We watched a movie on Netflix called Little Brother, Big Trouble. About a little reindeer who has to come to terms with his family being different than he wanted. His dad was Prancer and he lived with his mom. His mom was getting married again and the new step reindeer dad had a son. He was not happy about a new ‘dad figure’ or a ‘little brother’. It was kind of touching and nice to see a family with divorced and remarried parents. I don’t remember seeing much of that, reflecting my own family dynamic growing up.

MovieNight IMG_1456

So far the countdown has been quite the success – and its awesome because she’s sooo interactive. She’s so excited about Christmas and since its my favorite holiday, I’m excited share it with her.

Of course, with this holiday, comes the beginning of the questions that haven’t been asked yet, but I am mentally preparing myself. She loves all the decorations, all the fun stuff around the house, and thus far, she hasn’t really caught on that Christmas, to some people, is not just about baking cookies and getting presents from a jolly fat man who flies the world. To some people its something more. Something we don’t necessarily believe in – her mama and I.

I’ve been bracing myself for the questions. For the why and who and what for that kids always have – and maybe this isn’t the year that will happen. Maybe this year, it will be simply having fun and celebrating with her moms.

She loves all the decorations, especially the talking Santa.

10847841_10153412676824148_8697525136136479193_n

But, she also loves the Nativity that Grammy has out right now. Complete with Mary, Joseph, the wise men and baby jesus. She likes to play with the little figurines, so much so that the heads have been popped off of the porcelain people.

IMG_1468

She knows that the baby in the manger is baby jesus and she isn’t supposed to hide him. She knows that the two people next to baby jesus are his parents, Mary and Joseph. That’s the extent of what she knows. She likes to hold the baby jesus – even though she hid him that one time. She likes to hold them. So far, she hasn’t asked why Grammy has a Nativity or what its for. She just knows its fun decorations for Christmas time.

I know, the time will come – when she wants to know the story behind that Nativity. And its a story I know well – I can recite it in my sleep. But, Kim and I have not really discussed how we will approach the subject when it comes up.

I mean do we proactively tell her the story that other people believe or do we wait until she asks. Is she really too young to have that discussion? We have lots of different faiths in the family right now. Our own family – her moms – are atheist. We don’t really believe in the ‘spirit of Christmas’ in the same way that Grammy and Papa do. Of course, we also have a set of cousins that are Jewish converts, they are celebrating Hanukkah this year and won’t be having Santa visit their house.

With all the different beliefs in our blended family – what is the appropriate way to approach the subject? Or, maybe I’m just making it too complicated.

I’m so on guard about how we will discuss it. I’ve just recently, in the last few years, myself been more in tune with my non-believing side and what that comes with. I have grown up as a Christian – listening to the story of Jesus’ birth every Christmas Eve, listening to the Christmas carols and thinking of the Christ who saved us, and attending or participating in the Christmas pageants at church.

So, like all things that come with the religious upbringing that has been put in my head from a very young age, it still creeps up. It also makes it difficult to decide how we should approach the subject with our own daughter. The daughter we want to make her own choices, ask her own questions, think her own beliefs.

But, she’s two. She’s interested in tutus and fairies (that’s what she calls the angels around the house) and Santa. So why complicate it with another story, about another imaginary man in the sky?

10408819_10153412723329148_6487797978727118068_n 10847979_10153411922474148_8858924864675955506_n

I suppose I will enjoy the innocence. The oblivion to the religious undertones that surround her during this holiday. The history and the stories – the beliefs and non-beliefs of her family and friends. She just thinks its a pretty holiday – one filled with magic and presents, and soon with our countdown it will be one of giving as well as receiving, so in the end, that’s all that matters.

But, I struggle with the anxiety of what to say, when the questions come. Because they will come. She’s a smart cookie. She has questions. She’s full of curiosities. It is going to be inevitable. My anxiety disorder is starting to dampen my on Christmas spirit, with the whys and what ifs and the questions that are soon to be coming. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have to enjoy the non-questions this year, and simply wait until they come.

Until that time, we will spend time with our daughter and celebrate the magic and joy of Christmas.

The Holidays Are Here

Where the hell did 2014 go? I also can’t believe it’s taken me so long to update this blog! I’m one of those people who get sad when people have their babies and then get “too busy” to blog… and here I am, I inherited a toddler suddenly and I am “to busy” to blog!

Believe me, if I could stick this two year old back in the bottle I would. She came with a demon inside her. Literally. I don’t know what happened, but she has such a mouth and an attitude that would infuriate just about anyone. We also just got the first “I hate you.” and “Mommy I don’t love you.”

On a brighter note, we had a nice Thanksgiving, hanging out with family. Where she stole my camera and took her own pictures of everyone. She’s really become such a little photographer.

IMG_20141127_141024 IMG_20141127_141658

And she helped her Grammy make lots and lots of sweets. And of course she got to taste test them.

IMG_1270

Last Saturday we had a little date day, and she got to get her haircut and blowdryed at Shear Madness for Kids. I will highly recommend them always! They are just awesome for kids. She got to pick out the car she sat in while the girl cut her hair. She also watched Frozen the whole time. Afterwards, she got a new bow for her hair.

1129141351a

Have I mentioned that my aversion to large bows and headbands has been overridden? This kid loves all things bows and headbands. SIGH. She wore the new headband when we went on our cupcake picnic. When we go on a date and get her haircut, she usually gets to pick between a cupcake(Smallcakes) or frozen yogurt(Yogurtini). This time she picked cupcakes. The place was packed, so we had to eat outside. Luckily for us, the weather didn’t get bitterly cold until after that weekend!

IMG_1325

Sunday we went to the local mall and saw Santa. It’s been something interesting every year. The first Christmas, she screamed and screamed. Last year, she just sat near him but she clutched her doll the whole time. This year, she almost cut the whole line to tackle the big jolly Santa. I had to stop her before she could get to him and we could wait our turn.

IMG_20141130_163908

And then, in true Punky fashion, once it was our turn, she got up there and didn’t want to sit on his lap. She almost didn’t sit at all. Which is why Santa had his hands in his lap, he didn’t want to scare her.

20141130164400_0001_1

But, she did tell him she wanted a Mickey bike…. where the hell she got that …. I have no idea. Not to mention that we aren’t really sure when she will get to ride that, since Christmas around here usually turns into Snowmageddon and we won’t be doing bike riding for quite some time.

After we visited Santa, we took a ride on the carousal. That’s another thing that she has always been afraid of. I have tried to get her to ride the horses in the past, or the riding toys in the grocery store and she would just scream and scramble to get off the thing. This time, she  climbed right up there and had a blast.

1130141704 1130141701

And on Monday, we started our Christmas Countdown. We started this little Christmas tradition last year. I made a similar envelope and card system for her. Since we are still living with my mother-in-law, we don’t have anywhere to hang it like last year, but its still been pretty fun. You can find my Christmas Countdown cards here. You can download them if you would like, or come up with your own! I’d love to see what other people are doing with their kids this holiday.

IMG_1364

Day 1 – She got a message from Santa. (I used this site and its free). I didn’t take as many pictures of Day One as I would have liked. But, I have video of the whole thing.

Day 2 – We got to help out up the Christmas Tree and decorations with Grammy, Papa, and her cousins.

2014-12-02 18.32.44-1 2014-12-02 19.44.01-1

Day 3 – We made a salt dough hand print and compared it to last year’s hand print.

IMG_1401 IMG_1403

So far the end of the year has been pretty good. Last year I tried to post our countdown every day, so I will do my best to do that again this year. I swear, this kid is a handful, my Etsy Shop has been blowing up since the legalization of gay marriage everywhere and so many new two mom families have been emerging. I’m also working late shift at work, so I am constantly tired when I get home!

Well, I’m off to catch up on all the blogs I’ve been missing out on! Hope everyone’s holiday season has started out as special as you want it to!

Day 24: The End of Our First Christmas Countdown

On this our last day before Christmas, I think it’s pretty awesome turn out. I love that we have something to remember her second Christmas by. Part of me feels like this is the first Christmas for her, she really was able to participate in all the fun activities and I had such a blast spending extra special time for her.

After work tonight, we headed on over to Kim’s grandpa’s house. It was a little empty without her grandmother there.

IMG_3531

But, in our true family style, there was still food, love, and laughter.

Punky sat at the table like a big girl and eat her dinner, sort of. She doesn’t really eat much of anything. If we can get her to eat anything but bread and pasta, we feel like we have won the lottery. If she puts meat in her mouth of any kind, well, then we are the best moms ever!

IMG_3525

When we got home after dinner, we gave Punky her Christmas Eve present, we have decided to incorporate Kim’s family tradition of getting pajamas for Christmas Eve. So she got to open her present under the Christmas tree lights.

IMG_3535

IMG_3538

 

She got a new book, that we will be reading before bed tonight and a new little pajama set, which she was very excited to put on right away.

IMG_3546

I just love them! They were just too cute to pass up. Kim really likes moose, so this was a shout out to the warm winter pajamas before Christmas, but also to her mama’s favorite stuff.

We are definitely ready for Christmas tomorrow morning. I need to wrap the rest of the presents and stuff her stocking with some little toys and fun stuff.

Hope everyone else is going to have a great holiday season. No matter what you celebrate and no matter your reason for the season!

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.

IMG_3482

 

IMG_3484

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.

IMG_3487

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.

IMG_3442

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.

IMG_3445

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

1477724_10152486721949148_1161318237_n

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.

1474722_10152486723999148_904129890_n

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.

IMG_3452

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.

IMG_3456

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

SantaPeyton

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!

IMG_3464

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 15: Christmas Goodies!

For the last few years, we have gotten together with Kim’s mom and the women of the family and made trays of Christmas goodies. Usually everyone brings a few recipes and we make them all up and then exchange them. We usually put together trays for work and other family members. This year, I had four trays of my own, Kim had two and then we had a small tin of our own for the house. 

Punky helped a little. 

IMG_3421

She started by sampling some cherry mash bars. Which, much to her Papa’s dismay, she didn’t really care for them. 

Then Mommy put her to work!

IMG_3427

When all was said and done, I gave her the spoon to lick, the best part of the baking experience. A mixture of Rice Crispies, powdered sugar and peanut butter is sure to smell delicious.

IMG_3430

And it tastes even better!

IMG_3436

This weekend, she’s had not much of a nap, and today is no exception. She’s been fairly decent though, since we have been home. She got M&M’s in her envelope today and of course, lots of Christmas goodies to eat throughout the week … that is … if Mommy doesn’t eat them all!

Day 14: Family Christmas Party

Every year, Kim’s grandpa’s union has a Christmas Party for their families. We all venture to the building and get a group picture with Santa. Its the first time I’ve been in the group family picture. It was pretty neat.

So, we woke up bright and early and got dressed to get to the party on time.

IMG_3228

Miss Punky thought it might be a good idea to go out in Mommy’s shoes. Which she has been getting really good at walking or running and hopping in them! Apparently, according to her Mama, it’s the most favorite game for her right now.

This party is great for the kids, it’s nachos and cookies at 10AM. Hop up the kids on sugar and Santa. We also got presents, crayons and balloons. It’s pretty nice for family conversation with Kim’s cousins that we don’t see often.

IMG_3243

We got to sit on Santa’s lap and that was much better than I expected. She threw a little fit in the line while we waited.

IMG_3235

Once we got to the actual Santa set, we got a shocked look, but it was better than last year. She was intrigued with all the stuff going on. She was promised presents after she sat on Santa’s lap, so it is pretty much likely a bribe that caused her not to be screaming. Well, that and Mrs. Claus pretty much coaxed her with candy canes!

unnamed

The day went pretty well and it was a sweet addition to our countdown. We got to spend time with our family and it’s a tradition that Kim’s family has been doing since she was smaller. All the grandkids get together and do this – now they are all grown with their own kids.

The family is pretty darn big. We shoved everyone on the Santa stage and got a picture and believe it or not, the group wasn’t ALL the grand kids or great-grand kids!

unnamed (2)

It was a nice little tradition to add to Punky’s holiday fun. I really am loving how the changes in the last year have happened in Punky. Just in being able to celebrate and be more active in it. She loves all the activities and I just love watching her curiosity flash through her eyes and all the wonder in her facial expressions.

I love that she’s able to participate in things. It just warms my heart to make these awesome memories with her. Day 14 of our countdown ended with some great pictures of her and her moms as well!

IMG_3280 IMG_3291

Day 13: Santa Writes A Letter To The Toddler

We already put the tree up and the card in the envelope said to go sit with Santa, but we will be doing that tomorrow. So, I was in a bit of a tight spot in which I had no idea what we were going to do today.

Then we got the mail!

So, I let her open up her envelope and munch on her chocolate covered marshmellow Santa.

IMG_3215

It was the most delicious piece of candy to come out of her envelopes thus far. At least, it looks like she was very excited about it, hmm.

IMG_3219

We then got to go to the mailbox and got our very first letter. Well, technically, she got a letter last year too, but this is the first time that she has opened her own piece of mail.

IMG_3221

We found out that she was on the Nice List this year. Which, her moms find a little hard to believe, as she’s kind of a jerk some times. But then of course, she’s also been engineered to survive all her ridiculous brattiness with severe cuteness. So, it all balances out.

IMG_3227

Her mama, on the other hand, is getting NOTHING for Christmas! 😉

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.

IMG_3148

IMG_3154

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.

IMG_3164

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

IMG_3181

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.

IMG_3183

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.

IMG_3191

IMG_3194

 

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.

IMG_3200

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!