As the holiday season continues and the single-digit countdown to Christmas begins, I figured I'd better spend some time getting caught up here.
This Christmas season has been so incredibly special. I've almost shied away from taking out the camera too much, afraid to spoil any of the good cheer spreading throughout our house. Lola has been completely enamored with all things Christmas and Millie, while harder to read, has taken a very obvious interest in the lights, sounds and merriment all around her.
It has been precious. So special.
So let's begin.
We decided, after coming this close to doing so last year, to get Lola her own Christmas tree this year.
We, of course, went and got a special pinky-purple tinsel tree. A total princess tree for our Princess.
We snuck it into her room one night and she awoke, surprised and giddy.
Christmas season had officially arrived.
She was thrilled.
Notice her new Rapunzel braid? Thanks to a very thoughtful aunt of hers, it's her newest addition. And I swear she would never take it off, if the dog didn't find it so darn fun to chase around the house.
The one side effect of her very own tree was that I did not anticipate the tears.
Yes, the tears.
Lola bawled when she realized that I wasn't going to give her all of my ornaments, insisting that her tree had to be "more prettier" than mine (our family tree).
She lost that battle. But I did let her decorate her tree, with all of whatever we weren't using (and of course some special new ornaments of her own).
And I didn't even fix the areas that could be improved, like the leaning star on top.
Her tree, her rules.
As for our tree, finding it was a bit of a challenge, but I have a very dedicated and loving husband who didn't mind (much?) going to four different places and putting about 80 miles on the car to track down the perfect tree.
This year, there were two major additions to our tree.
An ornament we purchased at Disney World this past February.
You know how some families have trains that circle their Christmas tree? Yeah, we got the Disney World Monorail! Love it!
We're so ready.
(OK, no, I'm not ready, not at all. But we're getting closer every day!)
Not to make excuses, but between work, volunteering at church and Lola's school, work, Millie therapies, Ray being gone a bit more this month, and work, I've been swamped.
But if I'm honest, it's not really all that stuff, listed above, that's keeping me away from this blog.
It's me. Having to make things more complicated than they have to be.
Some weeks ago, about four probably, Lola mentioned that she needs a new calendar. Because her 2013 Princess calendar is (obviously) reaching the end of its useful life.
Great! And easy stocking-stuffer, right?
Because I had to up the ante and came up with the idea of creating a calendar of Lola and the Princesses. Using her meet-and-greets at Disney World to personalize her 2014 calendar (she just happened to meet exactly 12 Princesses, counting the two Belles [Belle in the village (Epcot) and fancy-dress Belle [at Magic Kingdom]).
And while I very briefly entertained the idea of designing and ordering said calendar through an online photo-sharing site, I decided that was too easy and boring.
So I've spent the last few weeks crafting by hand her very own Princess scrapbook calendar.
The result? It's pretty fantastic. I know, I'm not being very modest here, but, truly, it turned out way better than I ever thought it would.
That said, I won't do it again.
I took the project too far and put too many elements into each page so the darn thing has to weigh nearly as much as my cat.
OK, maybe not that much (Lucy last clocked in about 25 pounds) but I do have a very real fear that Lola's calendar won't even last a month.
But it sure is pretty!
I've struggled a bit this season to truly address Christmas with Lola.
Too early on, we started talking about presents. And while that was completely my error, I've been focused on trying to rectify that mistake and discuss the true meaning of Christmas, to get her to understand that it's not about the gifts or the candy, but about so much more.
We've talked often about Jesus, about what His birth means and we use our advent calendar daily to try to keep things in perspective.
She even appeared in her first Christmas pageant at church this past weekend, playing one of several angels. So she was hearing about Jesus' life, His story, His message, then too.
But I never knew if she was actually getting a grasp of the concept behind the Christmas Spirit, about why we celebrate this time of year.
That was, not until the other day, when we were at Target.
While there, battling crowds and trying to move us past the toy department, she again starting asking me questions about presents.
I wanted to groan. Was she really not getting that Christmas is about so much more than gifts?
"What's Millie getting for presents?" she asked. "How many will she get? Will Santa bring her one present or more than one? Will she get lots? Or just a couple?"
I, of course, assumed she was trying to compare. Who was getting more? Whose were going to be better?
And just as I was about to snap something I'd later regret, she paused in the middle of the pasta aisle, touched my hand to completely get my attention and said, "Mommy, I want to give back one of my presents so Millie can have another one instead. I want my little sister to have a really special Christmas this year."
The lady alongside us in the aisle, she melted a bit too.
Our angel indeed.
- Bethany :)