Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Baby ...

Somehow, having a baby has turned me into a child myself. I haven't been this excited to celebrate Christmas in a long, long time. In fact, usually, Casey and I both regard the week of Christmas with fear and dread because it signifies the start of a marathon dash between our four sets of families; crammed into too short of a stay. In years past, we've even contemplated not putting up a Christmas tree because we weren't going to be around to enjoy it. We were regular Ebeneezer Scrooges.

This year though, things are waaaaayy different. We have a baby after all, and we need to set the Holiday example. And, set the example we have...

It started with the Clark Griswold-style tree, which we put up the Friday after Thanksgiving. Last year was the first year we had a "live" tree, so there was no going back to fakes after that but we've never put it up so early. Of course, putting up the tree early was also prompted by the photoshoot taking place at our house later that week; but ...

I will never forget the way Beatrice Kate's little eyes lit up when she first realized that the massive tree we saw in the lot was going in our living room. Of course, it also could have been the large amount of tree sap and pine smell that left her feeling a little hazy. Beatrice Kate loves trees. To have one in her very own home, well, that was just too exciting!

We tried to make it a "family affair" while we decorated. Bea had little interest though, except when her father took her to the top of a 10 foot ladder to hang the ceremonial pickle ornament. I nearly had a panic attack to see my husband teetering on the last step, holding my tiny baby in one arm, leaning over to hang that stupid pickle. But, he did it and Bea thought it was fun. And she lived. So I got over it. Eventually. (after cursing at my husband when Bea wasn't in the room, of course).

Also this year, we're staying in Raleigh (because of our quarantine from crowds). This give Casey the chance to play in the band during the Christmas Eve Love Feast at our church. I also wanted to spend Beatrice Kate's first Christmas in our home.Something we've never done since we've owned our home. That's nearly 5 years.

I've also been busy making my yearly "baked goods" baskets for friends (which I'm hoping to wrap up tonight and hand out this week). I've tried to bake when Beatrice Kate was in her doorway jumper, explaining each step like a host of Food Network, but she could have cared less. She just wanted to pet Arnold or be held. Both of which didn't make the baking go by any faster. Maybe next year she can take up her reign as assistant chef.

We've also been super crazy about Christmas carols playing in the house. Now, we normally play music most of the time. We don't watch a lot of television; but will instead put on some music (of all kinds). Yes, we're those people. But Casey has learned some new songs for his banjo, dulcimer, Woodrow and guitar. He also tried playing a few tunes on his baritone horn (which went over great) and trumpet (which resulted in loud sobs from Bea. Lesson learned.)

Beatrice Kate will certianly not remember this Christmas; despite all our attempts to make it memorable. She's only 9 months old (sort of) and we're only giving her two presents. Before you get all righteous about our poor child not receiving gifts, you should know that Casey and I don't even exchange gifts with each other. Not in the traditional sense, at least. Our rule for the past few years (aside from my engagement ring) has been less than $50 and "stocking stuffer" size.

This year, we've lowered the limit and raised the bar on bargain hunting to $20 and the items must be able to fit into a stocking. This is for two reasons: 1) (and most importantly) For us, Christmas isn't about getting wrapped up in the gift getting, "What did you get?" hysteria. It's a time to celebrate being with family and the birth of Jesus and 2) we just simply don't have extra money this year to spend on gifts to each other.

Still, even with the $20 limit, I've had more fun this year searching for small, meaningful, cheap tokens for Casey's stocking. I've had even more fun thinking of small things to go in Bea's stocking (which, we don't actually possess one for her...yet. She's sharing my stocking for now).

I'm really excited to see Beatrice Kate on Christmas morning. I can't wait her reaction to being allowed to shove paper in her mouth rip open the wrapping paper (her latest favorite thing). I'm sure she won't care at all about the gifts (all two of them), but I'm really looking forward to watching her enjoy her first Christmas, even if her goldfish memory forgets it all 5 minutes after it's over ...

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