Friday, December 25, 2009

It Is Christmas Day

And there were shepherds out in the field,
keeping watch by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them.
Luke 2:8:9

I love the sheep and the glory, the stars... their light.

And in our home, I love the blessing of being together preparing, playing... the laughter and whispers, the carols and the frosty-jingle songs.


I love the flurry of motion when we ascend upon our stockings.


I love that they want one gift opened at a time, so that we all pause and enjoy the discovery of new treasures.


I love that the fun is for one and for all, so that by the end of the day we have all shared in the play.


I love that William and Alex baked Christmas cookies... a new recipe, a new tradition.

And I love that we are home, where Santa knows where to find us...


So that, just like last year, he can come by with a special delivery for a little one who has been very good.


And this time, she had a gift for him.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Merry Bird House Christmas

All together under our very own roof, we are preparing for Christmas.


Max made a snowman in school. A clever way to use a sock, and we love the fez.


This school project I got to help with, when I joined Max's class in reverse painting on glass. Looks like a starry and peaceful night. I recall the magic of a snowy Christmas. All the children were so intent and creative painting their holiday plates.


Maria mastered paper chain making, and hung this one with our stockings. Have not figured out how to hang them from the mantle. Maybe because I am too cheap to buy six hangers? We have a tradition of hanging them from a banister.


I finally tried adding ornaments to the tree, only to discover that it is so parched and crisp the branches fracture and collapse when I touch them. Ah, I remember our 2004 Christmas and the tree we hurled out the door, over the railing and in to the pitch black of Christmas Eve. It was so dry we feared it would spontaneously combust. Fortunately, Maria has been making and adding pretty touches. The tree is loved. Fragrant, dry, lit and loved.

William and Alex are together in the kitchen, deciphering an Alton Brown cookie recipe. They are baking. Brilliant. They are cleaning... brilliant and radiant beams of motherly gratitude.

Geoff wrapped gifts with me. Absolute awe. Proof that even after twenty years, love will surprise you.

Max and Nick are playing together. Christmas is for family.

Maria helps in any way she can. Sitting outside the *workshop* door, she asked 42 questions about our progress. We played her favorite opposite game.

Mommy: Santa wears a bathing suit.

Maria: No. He wears a fluffy-fluffy suit. And it's red. He has a hat.

Mommy: What about the magical rats that pull his sleigh?

Maria: Mommy! Reindeer pull his sleigh. Not rats.

Mommy: Oh. Well, I know Santa smells like french fries.

Maria: Santa smells like joy

Indeed.

I hope your home smells of joy, and that your Christmas is merry.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things... Christmas Style

Like Nikkipolani, I have some favorite things and these last days before the big day I am feeling the magic and rush of joy as we go all the way to Christmas day. Some of my favorite things came all together yesterday...


Favorite number 1: The majesty and pageantry, the utter charm and mild chaos of a Christmas service with the children. There was nothing exclusive about this telling of the Nativity. All of God's creatures were welcome to the manger. Maria joined the children from learning circle, as a kitty, and sang (or as Max points out, she mostly lip-synched) "Do You Hear What I hear?"

I loved seeing friends, hearing music, reflecting on peace and love and hope and joy, and having my family around me.


Favorite number 2: Having family around me. It's official :: We have a Christmas tradition. We got to enjoy a second annual Downtown Cultural Holiday Extravaganza. We took Ruth to Holiday Pops. We walked to the Gaslamp and saw favorite sights, like The Bondi, and the home of our favorite annual convention.


Walking downtown we saw lots of fun holiday sights. I count fun and good humor as a favorite.


No school. That's a favorite for sure. Not just for these dear boys, but for me too. I am so thrilled to have them home. I need the free labor. We are going to have some good times.


Last year our downtown walk was a scramble to find Symphony Hall and it was really cold. This year our walk was leisurely and the weather... So Calwonderful.


The Pops were in great form and they were joined by Mariachi Champaña Nevín. Feliz Navidad. Before the concert begins children are invited to the "petting zoo," where they can acquaint themselves with the instruments. Maria returned to the violin she remembered from last year. So many favorites... live music, sing-alongs, new experiences, dressing up, a camera battery that holds up just long enough for a few snaps.

After the concert we had a downtown dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, then we enjoyed the Christmas lights all the way to Holly and Rich's front door. More favorites... lights and decorations lovingly displayed for the holidays, and dropping in on family for a casual visit.

The calendar for today includes haircuts for the boys, which means a nice visit with a dear friend. Maybe some shopping... hmmm... maybe just window shopping. I definitely need to do some housework. After visiting Ruth's beautiful home and Holly and Rich's beautiful home I am super motivated to put actual ornaments on our tree... beyond that, I am a realist. One more favorite, because I think of it on a daily basis :: A Christmas Story from Clover and Alicia. I think Clover may be my favorite dog in the world.