Saturday, December 29, 2012

Getting ready for Santa

This was the first Christmas that our children seemed to understand the significance and excitement of the holiday. And they understand about Santa. We asked them repeatedly what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas, and Santa also asked them what they wanted (at our town's Christmas festival and again on the Santa train). Each time, Avery clearly said he wanted the new Angry Birds board game and a new watch. Caleb's response puzzled us: "baby." This was his response each time. We weren't sure whether he wanted a real baby, a baby doll, or whether he was asserting his identity as the baby of the family (Santa did bring him a baby doll -- so far, Caleb has not shown much interest in it). To make sure Santa would find our house (since this was the first Christmas since moving here), Carolyn and Caleb made reindeer food, which both boys sprinkled around the yard:
We decorated our tree, and Carolyn and Avery used sticky letters to put our names on stockings to hang.
Finally, we left a plate of cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. I helped Avery write a note to Santa. Actually, I just started it. I wrote "Dear," and Avery completed it: "Santa Cookies Avery." Straight to the point! Santa wrote a note back.

December playgrounds

(at the dinosaur playground at 96th Street and Riverside Drive on Christmas Eve -- we tried to wear out the boys so they'd sleep well!)
(at our local playground on a weirdly sunny and warmish day):

Christmas 2012: staycation!

We spent Thanksgiving break in St. Louis, so we decided to switch things up a bit and stay home this year for Christmas. This is our first year just staying home during the winter break, and we are definitely enjoying it, although of course we miss our relatives! The break started off with Belen's annual daycare holiday party. Last year, Caleb was TERRIFIED of Santa, despite "his" blonde hair and Argentinean accent. This year, Caleb was totally comfortable with Santa.
On our family's first full day off together, Carolyn had the idea to drive up north. We stopped in New Paltz (where we had gotten married in 2004) and had lunch at the Gilded Otter (where we had eaten for our post-wedding meal). It was so neat to go back there with our two kids!
After lunch, we continued on to Kingstown, NY to ride the Santa train. It was a cold day, but we all enjoyed the short train ride with Santa aboard. Santa was a bit concerned because Avery was just wearing a short-sleeved tee shirt, but Avery was okay and liked the train!