Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Approaching Christmas

The time between the end of classes and this week has been angst-ridden. Not enough cookies made (sorry!), not the presents I wanted to give, not the schedule I had worked out in my own little idealistic mind, not the way I wanted to feel. I ended up showing Chris the scarf I'm making him so that I could knit it while he's around (which, now that classes are over, he always is! Any other time of year I would be so happy about this, but I found myself creating errands for him to get him out of the house so I could just knit twenty more rows...madness).

But now, we have only two days left and I am letting go of all the undone, unperfect, unaffordable, unbaked little monkeys stacked up on my back. Christmas cards not done? I'm sure people will still open them if they arrive after Christmas. No beautiful plate of cookies for the daycare teachers? I bet they also like fudge. Didn't send cookies to all the people I usually do? I'm (pretty) sure they will still love me.

Reaching this point - and I am as familiar with this point as with the mania that precedes it, as it seems to be part of my own holiday tradition, with the turning point usually landing on the solstice (here comes the sun!) - is always a bittersweet relief. This year it is mostly relief, because there is so much actual sweetness going around the house.

While I think that next year will really be the year that Cora puts it all together, I have to say that she is doing pretty good this year, too. She jumped up and down clapping when she saw our Christmas tree, squealing, "My Christmas tree, my *Christmas* tree!" We've tracked Rudolph in the snow and she cried when other reindeer made fun of his/her nose (Rudolph's gender is in flux) in the TV show. She loved Santa's visit to her school last week and the little stuffed bunny he gave her. She expects baby Jesus to show up at church any time now, and also wants him to have a birthday party.

I can't wait for her to come down the stairs Christmas morning and see the dollhouse we're giving her. We only have three presents under the tree right now, and she has been so good. Only once has she picked one up and asked to open it. I went through the list of days until Christmas with her and why we were waiting and she did eventually put it back under the tree. I praised her good listening and she came and sat on my lap and whispered, "Can I have a sticker for good listening?" And we put one on her chart - right by the drawing of her ear, which she loves to touch and say, "That my ear? That me listening?"

So, I'm ready to put away my lists (except for the grocery list!) and just enjoy the magic. But, I do firmly believe that those lists are part of what makes the magic happen. I'm not making any resolutions to abandon my mania-release cycle; just being aware that it is a cycle is enough for me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Photo essay: Thanksgiving to now

So, these photos aren't really in the right order, but it is kind of a pain in Blogger to move them around - so we'll just deal with it! This is an up close shot of the sweater I made for Cora - it matches the new hat you'll see below. She's getting this for Christmas, and I am excited, because I just knit a freaking SWEATER!!

The whole thing - not as psychedelic in person. I promise.

Today Cora and Chris went out in the snow storm and she made me this heart with her footprints. This is something I did for her when we were up north last weekend. Then, she had me make one for Rudolph, and she made a snow angel in the middle of that one.

She tells us she likes being cold. I am inclined to believe her.

Up at the North Shore, contemplating Lake Superior.

Tracking Rudolph last weekend.

Enjoying a rice cake snack in the cabin.

The new hat - she got this one early because she doesn't have many hats that fit her this year.

She was sick at the end of November, and Daddy brought her home some get-well flowers.

Our post-Thanksgiving snowfall. Admittedly, it looks pretty pathetic by today's 6-8" standards, but it was fun at the time.

Amazing sewing...not here, but see link

If you're a fabulous sewer, you will love looking at the stuff on the Grosgrain blog. If you are a not-so-fabulous-but-enthusiastic sewer, you will also love it. If you are a not-so-fabulous-not-enough-time sewer (like me) you will love it and turn green from envy. Especially when you see a dress like this:

Tree Lighting Wrap Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Baking Day Playlist

(Now this kind of day makes me happy!)

Taj Mahal, Senor Blues
Uncle Bonsai, Boys Want Sex in the Morning
Sheryl Crow, Tuesday Night Music Club
Professor Trance, Shaman's Breath
Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey
Liz Phair, WhiteChocolateSpaceEgg


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What I notice versus what she notices

We had a nice weekend away from home, at a cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior - one of my very favorite places to be. We took only fun stuff, no work, and food we all would like. It was snowy and Cora, the only one of us to own snowpants, loved that. A lot. We followed deer tracks - Rudolph track, she insisted (and, did you know Rudolph is a girl?). She was disappointed that we never saw Rudolph, but decided it was okay if Rudolph was home drinking hot cocoa. She noticed some little tiny footprints in the snow - a vole, maybe. I did a lot of knitting! Chris took a nap! Crazy times.

We had heard there might be big snow coming on Saturday and Sunday, but we'd made these plans back in October (one of my birthday presents!). The cabin does not have cable. Or a radio. Turns out, there was a big long blizzard headed right for us on our drive home.

It was a scary drive, the little bit of it we accomplished on Sunday. After an hour of whiteout conditions, we were happy to stop and find a hotel in Duluth and then find the one place still open and willing to deliver food in the freezing snowy windy cold. Monday morning, as Cora and I waited in the foyer for Chris to swipe off, warm up, and bring the car around, a very tall man in a cut-off t-shirt, jeans, ball cap over his pony tail, and many many many tattoos stepped out to see how cold it was. As he walked past Cora I saw her staring at him, wide-eyed. Yes, I could hear the wheels turning.

Sure enough, as soon as he walked past us again, Cora, who now has that toddler-with-a-lot-to-say-stutter, said, "Mama, he's got, he's got, he's got, he's got COFFEE!!"

Indeed, he had a steaming hot cup of coffee in his hand.

He smiled at her, told her she was a little young for coffee. She introduced him to Ariel, and then gave a long speech about how she was Ariel-mommy Queen Athena and her babies were all Ariels, all the while walking in a circle in front of him. He made appropriate noises and gave me a quizzical glance. "She's really into pretending right now," I explained. He asked how old she was and nodded when I told him. Then he said, "My daughter's 12 now. I really miss this age!" We wished each other good driving, and he continued on through the lobby.

Cora didn't once mention his tattoos. I was really surprised, because she does notice and talk about graffiti (and how those people really should have used paper instead), and so I thought this would be a huge new topic of conversation. Not so much. Times like this I'm glad that I wait to see what she's going to say before I jump in to explain something I think she's thinking about. Because usually, she has something entirely different on her mind.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

When the 2.5 year old insists...

...that the chicken should be dipped in the peanut butter and the apples in the ketchup, it is best just to nod, be glad she is eating everything on her plate, and try very hard not to imagine the taste.