Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Without a doubt, this is my favorite time of year. I love the lights, the decorations, the music, the excitement, the memories/nostalgia, the anticipation, the traditions, the generosity, and the spirit of this season celebrating Jesus' birthday. Experiencing it with my girls is quite possibly the best thing ever. 

We started early this year, decorating before the leftover turkey had even been consumed. 

We searched for the perfect singing/dancing holiday creatures. Which of course required testing the singing and dancing capabilities of each and every one simultaneously much to the chagrin of Lowe's employees and customers. In full disclosure, we didn't actually buy one (insert shameful face here). I'm not THAT crazy.

We made hot chocolate on chilly days, a first for some of us. 

"Leese like ha chalat!"
We visited Santa and enjoyed time with the best of friends. 

We protested coats continuously, a theme not just reserved for the holiday season.

No coat. Not cold, Mommy!
We incorporated Christmas into our homework assignments. When asked at school to draw an event from beginning, middle, and end, Elle produced this masterpiece. In case you can't tell, she has depicted with amazing (to unbiased Mom eyes) accuracy our family assembling and decorating our tree. I only briefly felt publicly shamed for depriving my children of a real tree. My favorite is the last panel showing a beaming Mom and Dad watching with pride as Elle and Elise hang the final ornaments in place. In reality, there should have been an angry Mom and Dad sighing in exasperation as the Taller Child picked up and promptly dropped the largest, fanciest, most ornate ornament in the box. After repeatedly being asked to wait for parental assistance. Oh well. Sometimes life is prettier in pictures. 

For the record, our 12ft artificial tree is now on Craigslist. Vowed to go real next year.
In a similar theme of life appearing rosier in pictures, this photo's caption could say something sweet about adorable sisters playing reverently with the nativity. 

More accurately, it should include a voiceover from Fed-Up Mom, "If you two can't share baby Jesus, I'm going to have to take him away!" Go go gadget Christmas spirit. 

There were attempts at creative holiday-themed breakfasts.

Green egg tree, canadian bacon ornaments, turkey sausage trunk, and gouda star
We celebrated with Elle's Kindergarten class at their party... including Gnam Gnam Bistro boxed lunches, gelato, and 90% of stay-at-home moms (and an equally disproportionate number of dads present). You know your kid goes to a yuppie public elementary school when the party dessert is gelato. 

Adorable songs performed by the class

I can't compete with gelato. But I can still exert a low-level degree of control over Elise's sugar consumption at daycare by sneakily signing up for juice boxes and showing up with these alternatives. 2 year olds can't stage a coup over these cuties, can they? Surely the red noses and googly eyes are enough to distract from the lack of high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors? One can hope.

Our elf was very calm this year (i.e. Mom was very lazy and uncreative), and didn't get into too many wacky situations. But he did generously bring the girls pajamas a few days before his return to the North Pole.

Letters to Santa were written. In Kindergarten handwriting and spelling "Der Santa, I wut evrethig", which really alleviates the trouble of individually listing all the items circled in the myriad of toy magazines Elle perused. Her mainstay requests were Magnatiles, Schleich animals, and a Snoopy sno-cone maker. 

We were thus armed and ready for the holiday festivities to begin. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, indeed.

Much to be thankful for

I didn't take many pictures at Thanksgiving this year-- just tried to be in the moment with family, and focus on being... Thankful. 

For sweet sisters. 

For Nanny kisses. 

For shared laughs.

For snuggles. Furry ones included.

For really really good food. 

For being blessed beyond measure. 

It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, December 16, 2013

They're creepy and they're kooky...

They're creepy and they're kooky

Mysterious and spooky

They're altogether ooky

The Golding Fam-i-ly

We Halloweened with the best of 'em this year...
Complete with pre-holiday festive wear

A few spooky lunches

And a fun night of trick-or-treating with neighborhood friends

For weeks, Elle had adamantly requested to be a sheet ghost. Completely baffling to me, as I really pegged her for more of the sparkly sequined or otherwise over-the-top something type. But nope, every plea I made to get her to traverse the aisles of Target looking for a suitable (i.e. pre-made) alternative was met with dramatic resistance, so Sheet Ghost it was. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, unless you're a sewing misfit like me. My talents lie in creative food art, clearly not any sort of fabric manipulation. I started with a sheet, measured out length, arm holes, and facial orifice holes. Not sure what went wrong with the latter, but the ghost ended up with just enough hypertelorism to significantly limit her peripheral vision. Any slight movement of the unsecured costume on her head led to complete vision loss, and the subsequent disaster you might think would result from a blindfolded child running through the neighborhood with an unevenly cut sheet entangling her feet. She was a trooper though, and took full responsibility for the costume decision. She steadfastly adjusted it and perservered until the last couple of houses when she relented and went as a white turtleneck and tighted.... marshmallow? At this point she sheepishly said, "Mommy, you were right. Being a ghost is hard. Next year, I think I'll be something else". 

Elise chose agreed to be a butterfly, reusing a costume her sister donned in a Halloween of yore. She was adorable, and LOVED the concept of running up to the houses and filling her bucket. She even said her version of "Thank you" and "Happy Hawoweeee!" 

Da-da-da-dum. Da-da-da-dum.
The Golding Fam-i-leeeeeeee