You Better Not Cry

For as much as my pit of holiday misery runs deep, there have been highlights.

This weekend, we went to a local garden center that puts on a Christmas! Spectacular! each year. We've taken Isabella there for three years in a row now, and this year, Luci and Nicholas joined us. They were too young for the rides, crafts, and general 10-and-under insanity of the place, but they weren't too young for their very first visit with the big man in red.



Gluttons for punishment that we are, we then added Isabella to the mix. She was thoroughly bewildered at what was happening, and I figured that any minute now, we would have three screaming children taking up Santa's valuable lap time while the waiting crowds frothed at the mouth and called for their parents' heads on platters.

After all, last week we attended a breakfast with Santa, and this was as close as she would get, and this encounter occurred only after we begged, pleaded, and cajoled her to please, please go sit on this strange man's lap, and then never, ever go near another stranger again.

So, imagine our surprise yesterday when this happened:

She even gave him a hug when she was through telling him she wanted (and I quote): "A real cell phone, an iPod, a firetruck, and a candy cane."
Big dreams, kid. Hope you still believe in Santa when your big-ticket items aren't under the tree.
The garden store was filled with about a million fake Christmas trees and various and sundry holiday characters, like Frosty here.

It's amazing what the threat of "Santa Is Watching!" will do to a curmudgeonly little girl whose mama wants a damn photo of her kid smiling just once, pretty please?

(Please tell me that I have at least 10 more Decembers to issue this threat as behavior modification, because it works quite well in my house.)
Other highlights of the month include the aforementioned Breakfast with Santa at a fantastic kid-friendly coffee shop that's actually nowhere near my house, but worth the drive anyway. There's a play area, kid-friendly fare, and it's owned by someone I used to work with in the video department of the largest grocery store in my area while I was in high school.
Here's Isabella waiting for Santa and avoiding the paparazzi.

Isabella met Santa and Mrs. Claus. She then wanted to know Mrs. Claus' real name. I was at a loss on that one. Then, we watched "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," and learned that her name is Jessica. Now you know.

Last weekend, we also attempted our first gingerbread house. This is a not a project for a Type A with no patience. I did not buy the gingerbread house kit. My dear grandmother thought it would be a nice project for Isabella and me to do together, because if there's anything I have right now, it's copious amounts of time to devote to a project that made me want to tear out my hair one follicle at a time.

The decorating part was actually fun. The construction of the house was not, most likely because it took me the greater part of an hour to realize that I had constructed the house's walls out of the gingerbread pieces meant for the roof. Fortunately, the hubs was able to fix it while I let out steam by punching in our shed doors in the backyard.

Here I am, 17 hours into Project Gingerbread House. I am not happy.

Isabella, however, was thrilled, until I told her she couldn't eat all the candies that came in the Wilton kit.

I let Isabella do whatever she wanted with the roof. She's 3, and I'm exhausted. This was not the year for perfection. However, I did make an attempt to design the outside of the house exactly like the one on the Wilton box.
I totally think I succeeded, don't you?

A few days ago, my aunt's Christmas present for the kids arrived. She bought them this awesome sled from L.L. Bean.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with 5-point harnesses for the twins, which means I will have to super-glue their bottoms to the seat to prevent them from attempting to escape.

And finally, on Saturday, we decorated Christmas cookies. I haven't yet had time to make my own. That will happen this week (I'm trying Sasha's sour cream and butter ball recipes this year). Fortunately, my great aunt opens a cookie factory in her kitchen each December and churns out over 3,000 cookies. So, just like she did last year, she brought over cutouts that she made for Isabella and me to decorate.

Isabella absolutely loves baking and decorating cookies, and once again, I find myself wishing for 36 hours in every day and a live-in nanny to care for the twins so I could do more of these things with her.
But next year, it will be better (it will, right?) and I will have three little helpers with me in the kitchen, and none screaming in the family room because they want me to hold them 24/7.
Next year, everything will be better. I'm counting on it.

12 Responses to “You Better Not Cry”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    For some reason I'm reminding myself constantly not to cry this year.

    My kids are much, much older than yours and yet I find myself still lacking time to do the baking and decorating with them I'd like to do. I need someone to clean my house, do my laundry and go to the grocery store for me. Sad. It should get easier as they get older, but somehow finding quality time does not.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.  

  2. # Blogger Jamie

    Love this post. :) Love the Santa pics, the gingerbread house looks great, love the self-portrait, etc. :)

    I'll let you know if the live-in nanny thing is really worth it... we'll see.

    Do you have a community college near you?  

  3. # Blogger MacNessa

    Oh my frack, a gingerbread house? Are you kidding me (sticks hot poker in eye) it sounds and looks amazing, but I SO don't have the patience for that kind of project (yes I suck).

    I suppose I could try the cookie decorating long as I don't have the bake the cookies...(which I totally would, if I didn't feel so sick right now....sniff).

    I should be trying harder, I know.  

  4. # Blogger Melissa

    Oh . . . this post is great on so many levels! Love the pictures - all of them.

    To this day, none of my children will talk to Santa. Bridget will only wave to him from afar (Hannah's old enough to be in the know). Bridget was being quite persnickety the other night, so Ian called the North Pole and talked to one of Santa's helpers. After shedding a few tears, Bridget said, "Hand over the phone. I want to talk to Santa myself." Oops!

    And the gingerbread house - eeks! We tried that once - huge disaster. But then Hannah and Jacob got up early the next day, dismantled the entire thing, and sat in a closet eating all the candies. So, no more gingerbread houses for us. LOL!

    Hang in there!  

  5. # Blogger Heather

    Yes, next year will be better. I keep telling myself that and if I say it enough, it will happen, right?

    You are insane, woman! A gingerbread house. I am too much of a wuss to try that.

    Oh, the pictures... love the look of terror on the twins faces, and the look of confusion on Isabella's face. And her pic w/ the sunglasses on, priceless!

    Hope your week isn't too insane!  

  6. # Blogger Jesser

    Great photos! Your little people are darn cute, even when they're upset. Love the SMILING one of Isabella w/ Frosty. ;) Tabby always grins like a Cheshire cat when I tell her to smile. Grrr... Think that gingerbread house turned out pretty darn good!  

  7. # Blogger Sunny

    A giggle-worthy post for sure. I could relate to everything from the screaming baby(ies) with Santa to the horror of gingerbread house decorating. And I even had the Wilson kit and did it with DH after our son went to bed! But I'll tell people that he made it, because it looks more like the quality of work of someone 21 months old versus almost 30.  

  8. # Blogger Andrew

    Seriously, if I don't see a cat in a picture very soon, I'm going to start thinking you're one of those people who flush the pets the minute the kids arrive. And you know how we feel about those people...  

  9. # Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog

    I just loved this post, hon. LOVED the smiling picture of Isabella!!! YAY! How hard did you have to work for THAT one?!?

    Also, the list was awesome. Go Isabella!  

  10. # Blogger In Due Time

    We're heading out the door. i just wanted to say Merry Christmas (and in case I get too busy) Happy New Year! xoxo  

  11. # Blogger Christine

    I love these pictures. Happy holidays to you and yours. I promise things will get better. Promise.

    OR I can send you lots of REALLY easy baking recipes since those are the only ones I will attempt.  

  12. # Blogger Holly at Tropic of Mom

    You're so funny! I love all the pictures. That's an awesome sled, and I love your gingerbread face. I think mine was like that too earlier this week. Next year? The kid can have his own gingerbread house and I will have mine.  

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