Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Dear Ian,

As I write this, we have 3 days left until Christmas!  We're all getting excited about the fun and festivities coming up, and part of that excitement is our fun decorations in our house.  The focal point of which, of course, is our tree.

I have to apologize: You, my son, will most likely never experience the thrill of combing a tree lot for the perfect tree, never see it strapped to the roof of our car (Heaven forbid!) or have the fresh aroma of a pine wafting through our living room.  Mommy is allergic to Christmas trees.  Not like the deathly allergy I have to cats, but it's enough that if we brought a tree into our house, I would basically be miserable from the moment it hit trunk to stand until that bad boy got carted out to the corner for the garbage man shortly after the New Year.  And since I do most of the holiday trimming, baking, shopping and wrapping, if I felt like death, I'd worry that all that wouldn't get accomplished.   So, although I am sorry that you will never have the real-tree experience, know that I am saving you from the experience of putting up with a cranky, sick Mommy.  And I'm also saving you from the experience of fighting with us or your possible siblings over who had to crawl under the prickly branches to water the dang thing.

Although our tree is organically challenged, it doesn't look bad at all.  As of today, it's about 12 years old.  I talked your Daddy into it for his first Christmas in his own place (a town-home in the neighborhood right next to ours, funny enough), and I guess the rest is history.  I take a lot of time getting our tree set up; first I wrap the "stem" with lights even before I put the branches on it.  A while back, a friend told me that SHE heard from Martha Stewart that wrapping the stem of the tree AND then draping lights on the branches made it look like it was not just lit, but shining from within.  I tried it, and it did look pretty, so now I'm stuck.  But moving on...  After wrapping the stem, then I unfold every dang twig, needle and branch to get it to LOOK real.  Even though it's as fake as the day is long, I want it to look like we trotted out into the wild and cut that sucker down.  Then come the lights on the branches.  I just drape them along.  Nothing fancy there.  Our ornaments are kind of a hodge-podge of fun, but that's the point.  Almost all of them have a story.  There's the gorgeous Lenox pieces that Daddy and I got as wedding gifts (a perk to getting married in December), Our First Christmas ornaments, the "Redneck Windchimes" and the S'more fishing snowman that remind us of trips to the Lake, and then there's the ornaments that we had as kids that moved with us into adulthood.  Since you came along, we added a small collection of Baby's First Christmas ornaments and some other fun, cute family ornaments. 

I try to find one new ornament each year to add to our tree.  (And yes, I date them, because I am a lunatic.)    There's really no formula that helps me choose our annual tree trimming piece, but this year's ornament is really something special.  And expensive.  And of course it has a story, so here goes:

Awwww!  Toddler fingerprints.
Your school has a great little fundraiser in November: a silent auction and dinner that brings the parents together for a night of fun, food and funds.  Items and services from business all over Tallahassee are contributed, and the families and friends bid for their favorites.  The classes also get involved in the fun and make items to put up for bid.  There's furniture and wooded pieces decorated with handprints of the kids in the school, and each class makes a plate or serving piece and an ornament.  Yup.  You've guessed it.  Your class made a pretty ornament with the fingerprints of each child in your class.  Even better, they've labeled the ornament will all of your names.  I about died due to the cuteness, and I decided that this ornament would be our 2011 addition to our tree.  Only thing was, only 9 other sets of parents stood between us and your adorable ornament.  It got ugly.  We ended up in a serious bidding war, and at one point the ornament was up to $60.  Whoa, dude.  But then, fate and my brains jumped in and I remembered that you are in TWO classes, so you had another ornament that we had the possibility to win.  Which we did.  For $35 dollars less that the other one. 
See all your names?  This is the neatest part. 

It looks so beautiful on our tree, and I am so glad to have it.  It's your very first class ornament/thing/token.  And know that this is the ONLY year we will be buying one.  I just HAD to have your very first one, though.  It's a little piece of your history, and it's one I will treasure.  And wrap in layer after layer of bubble wrap and tissue paper.  After all, it's probably the most costly ornament on the tree.  (But worth it)

Love always,
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Works of Art #27

Christmas is coming!  Christmas is coming!  And school is helping you get in the spirit of things with some great art.
 Here's a great tree you put together.  I love it, and we have it hanging on your bedroom door.
 'Tis the season for glitter, and this star is completely loaded.  You're very proud of it, though.  You point to it and tell me that the glitter is sparkly.
 More glitter, this time on a really pretty angel.  I really like this one.  We have it hanging from your hooks that are over what used to be your changing table.
And finally, a little paint to go with the glitter.  Here's a pretty wreath and candy cane that you made. These are also hanging from your bedroom ceiling.  

So much holiday fun!  And as I write this, we are five days away from Christmas.  You are all geared up and excited for the activities to come, and I know this Christmas will definitely be one to remember.


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

There's No Business Like Show Business

Dear Ian,

This post is all about your big acting and musical debut.  Your school, under the direction of the amazing Miss Jan the music teacher, hosted a Christmas Musical Show last week.  Starting around Thanksgiving, your class, as well as the other classes in the school (mine included) started working on the mastery and perfection of several Christmas songs including instruments. 

Now, Miss Jan had already informed me that during music class, you are typically an "observer" rather than a "participant" of all the musical activities, but that you always know exactly what's going on.  True to this description, you would come home and tell me all about singing Christmas songs in class, and you even sang a few for Daddy and me, but when ever we asked if you were going to sing on stage, you promptly responded, "No."  Therefore, I was really interested in whether or not you were going to stick to this plan or perform once you got on stage with your peers and in front of all those adoring parents, grandparents and other family members.  You're a little bit of a ham.  But I digress...

On Tuesday, your class along with the younger toddler class of Miss Vicky and Miss Dawnadee, took to the stage.  I got to run up from my room to watch, but as we had planned for all of your Grands and Daddy to come on Wednesday, it was just me that got to see this version of the show.  Now before I say another word about how adorable you were, I need to first give tons of credit to Miss Jan, the music teacher and the rest of the teachers involved in this event; somehow they managed to train all most  of these little people to stay on the stage.  There were a few emotional breakdowns from the younger kids once they realized that some of the grown ups in the crowd were related to them, but instead of coming to rescue them, just idly sat there.  You, and most of your class, however sat up there like a champ, doing what was expected of you.  Unfortunately, in your case, that was all you did: what was expected.  You showed up, sat when you were supposed to sit and stood when you were supposed to stand.  That was pretty much it, though.  You remained silent for the duration of the performance, although you smiled the whole time. 

Finally it was Wednesday  This was the day of your other class performance, and since this group of kids is a little older, the show was a little less... emotional.  Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa Brooks, Grandma and Papa Davis and I all got to go.  Once again you looked adorable in your little holiday outfit, and you were so well behaved.  You walked in like a big kid, found your spot, did what you were told, and... stayed mute throughout the singing portion of the performance.  Sigh.  But when it was time to ring your sleigh bells or shake your maraca, you really got into that part. 

Even though you didn't sing a word of your songs, we were so proud of you!  At just two years old, you had your very first public performance under your belt, and there were no tears or fears.  Just a quiet, dignified silence.  Although you were supposed to be singing.  Oh well.

Here's a few pictures from your Christmas show:
 You sitting on stage with your friend Joe Moody.  While you were the strong, silent type, Joe Moody sang enough for the two of you.  Opposites attract, I guess.
 Shaking your maracas.  You really got into the parts with instruments.  Maybe it's because Daddy and I were in band and not chorus?
 The whole big group of you on stage. Your class and Miss Vicky and Miss Dawnadee's class.  Miss Jordan, one of your teachers, is sitting next to you.  The teachers and Miss Jan needed standing ovations after accomplishing the feat of getting you all up there and staying put. 
 Playing the jingle bells while all of the adults in the room sang, can you guess it, Jingle Bells.
  All of your family members that came to watch your show.  We were all so proud of you!  

And there you have it!  Your first show is complete, and you've been launched into the glitzy world of family paparazzi and adoring family fans.  I cant wait until your End of The Year performance to see if you actually participate in the show.  But even if you don't, Daddy and I will still be your number one fans. 

Love you tons!
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Toddler Life #17

You know you are the parent of a toddler when...

...you simultaneously want to snuggle your child while wanting to pull your hair out.  Discipline is not for the faint of heart...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Dear Ian,

Holy Moly!  Mommy is really behind on your letters.  In my defense, this time of year is usually completely nutty, and as expected, I'm running 50 different directions.  But it's an absolute blast.  You're two, raring with holiday energy, and you can help me wrap your own gifts for family.  Sort of. 

Lots of things are going on to help get us in the spirit of the holiday season.  First things first was our annual Christmas pictures for our cards to friends and family.  We all donned our gay apparel (shades of green this year) and headed over to Dorothy B. Oven Park.  Mommy set up the camera on the tripod, got you and Daddy seated, aimed, ran and sat and begged Miss Patti to jump up and down to get you to smile.  They came out pretty good, if I must say so myself.  Especially for self portraits.  Then Daddy took a picture of me with you, and I took a picture of you and Daddy, and viola.  We had a card!
Then our little family participated in a Christmas festival in Market Square right around the corner from the house.  You got to see Santa Claus, listen to Tuba Christmas, play in a bounce house and even ride a pony!  You actually did a pretty good job with Santa this year.  You needed Daddy to sit with you a little, but that was ok.  After your visit with Santa, you got a free candy cane, and that just made your day.  We also shared some ice cream at the Lofty Pursuits store.  It was great fun.  You had a BLAST on the bounce house and slide, and you really seemed to enjoy the pony ride.  Your pony's name was Star.  Here's some pictures from that day...
 You and Daddy with Santa.  You told him you wanted a big, red firetruck for Christmas! 
 You and the pony named Star.  Mommy LOVED this!
 Weeeee!!!  You giggled the entire way down. 
 Our newest Christmas tradition:  You and Daddy doing your Advent Calendar.  Every day you learn to recognize a new number, open the door and then...
 ...you and Daddy get to eat the yummy chocolate inside!! 

But Daddy's not the only one doing Christmas-countdown fun.  I made the little Santa poster in the picture below, and every day we add a new cotton ball to Santa's beard to help us see how many days are left until Christmas!  You are having a fun time filling Santa's beard. 
Having you has definitely added another element of fun to all of our holiday events and preparations.  There's nothing better than seeing the magic of Christmas through your eyes.  

We love you, Little Man,
Mommy and Daddy
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pathological Mommy

Dear Ian,

Since the day you were born, you have stretched my natural limits to... well, their limits.  Some of these, like sleep deprivation, weren't always fun, but in other ways, you have helped me grow as a person.  I now have even more patience than I originally thought I had, I can withstand loud whining noises now like a champ, and I have found new ways to show love.  Hershey kisses in your lunch box, for example.

But, nothing like the challenge of parenting could have expanded my creativity to the lengths I will go to now to teach you things. 

One shining, not-so-thrilling moment was the other day when I told a little white lie to get you to learn a lesson.  It was morning, and on any other, typical morning, Daddy helps you get dressed for school while I get dressed myself.  This particular morning, Daddy had a doctor's appointment, so you and I had to go it alone.  We did pretty well, but in order to make sure I was fully dressed and actually matching, I let you watch a little TV while I donned my work apparel.  The whole time I dressed, I used my teacher skills to help you prepare for the transition from TV to getting in the car to go to school.  "Ian, when Mommy has her shoes on it's time to go."  A few minutes later: "Ian, Mommy now has her left shoe on.  When the other shoe is on it's time to go."  And finally: "Ian, my shoes are on!  Let's to go school!"  And you seemed to be following directions without complaint.  Or so I thought.  Your new temper-tantrum-thing is throwing things.  When you don't get your way, you'll occasionally throw what ever is in your hand or whatever is nearest your throwing arm.  On this fateful day, it was our remote.  It hit the floor and the battery cover came off.  I counted down from about 20, and then told you The Fib. 

"Ian, you know that you are NOT allowed to throw things,  and now you've thrown the remote and broke the TV.  Now we have no TV to watch."  Poor you went to school all quiet and contrite.  On one hand, I felt bad that I had stretched the truth.  But on the other, you seemed to get it.  You kept repeating, "Ian throw remote and broke TV."  Hmmm.  Maybe it would sink in this time that throwing things in a rage just isn't cool.  I stuck to my guns that afternoon, and the TV remained silent and dark.  You would ask every now and then about it, but then you would remind yourself that you had thrown the remote and therefore no TV. 

Then I took my fib another level:  why not increase your belief in that parental omnipotence thing.  I told you that Daddy might be able to fix the TV later on.  Fast forward to today after two days of no TV, and we finally tried the remote.  It worked!  You shouted, "Daddy fixed it!" and kept thanking him over and over even though he wasn't even in the house.  Then I heard you say, "Ian not throw remote no more."  You learned my lesson, Daddy now looks like a super-hero and maybe the remote will live past your two's.

I am now hoping with all my might that this little action/consequence lesson, even though it's sort of based on a fib, will stick and we'll be able to curb your little throwing issue.  And here's hoping that Mommy doesn't become a pathological liar by the time you're four. 

I love you, and that's the truth!
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