Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa Baby

Well, our first Christmas came and went in a flash! The days leading up to were filled with a flurry of activity; cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, eating, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Now I just feel bloated.

All of the effort is well worth it though. We had a fantastic 1st Christmas with the little man. He received way more presents than any one kid would ever need. We had countless laughs with friends and family and plenty of good food and drink were shared.

Christmas Eve was spent at my Aunt's house with my dad's side of the family. Kudos to my Aunt for hosting 35 of us for dinner (and that was with some people missing!) as that is no small undertaking. Jax had a great time with all of his "older cousins" making a fuss over him. He stayed up until a whopping 10:30 before finally passing out from all of the excitement.

Christmas Day was spent at our house where Jax got to see all of the great presents that Santa left behind for him as soon as he woke up. A highlight was his spanking new exersaucer which has way too many sounds, lights, whistles, etc... completely one of those items I swore I would never buy but did anyway- and my son simply could not love it any more. Just another example of ways in which our kids change us. Pre-baby I had visions of a house filled with beautiful wooden toys that made no noise and beautiful stuffed classic things, that my son would cherish. Post baby, all of those beautiful items are stashed in Jackson's toy basket because he couldn't care less for them, as his interest goes directly towards the loudest most obnoxious looking thing he can get his hands on. I am left with no other choice than to concede and buy him those items myself, because the smile on his face when he discovers something new is worth more to me than any beautiful baby toy fantasy that I had. Looks like I'll be stocking up on Excederin in the months ahead, all in the name of love.

I would say my first Christmas dinner was a success, judging from the compliments. The hubbs did a great job as my assistant helping me prep before everyone got there (shoutout to Jax for the 3hour nap which enabled this to happen.) Rob was the master sous chef, chopping and dicing for me as well as setting up special wine pairings for each course of dinner, his area of expertise. This year's menu included: white truffle risotto with prawns and proscuitto crips, crown rack of pork with spiced chutney, potato-leek gratin and brussel sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts. Sounds ambitious but most everything except the risotto was prepped in advance so everything came together pretty easily, allowing us to enjoy a very relaxed evening. Just the way I like it.

We capped off the night with a traditional Bouche de Noel and old fashioned Nutcrackers filled with paper crowns, trinket toys and jokes, which gave everyone a few laughs. High fives all around to a family that doesn't take themselves too seriously as evidenced by the crown wearing that lasted well into the evening.

As we look forward to a week ahead of fun holiday filled activites before 'dad' heads back to work , I just want to say thanks to our family for making it a truly Merry Christmas. We are one lucky group.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wine, A Love Story

"Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." -Benjamin Franklin

bday champagne at the Plaza Athenee in Paris- the stuff dreams are made of

Dear Wine,

I have loved you for many years, in all of your forms. Red, White, Pink and Gold bubbling glory, I've never discriminated against you, nor you towards me.

Last year, while we were on a break, I missed you terribly and thought of you often. When we reunited, I was scared our relationship had changed and you wouldn't taste the same or that my feelings towards you would be different. You didn't let me down and these days it seems our love is stronger, better than before. For I appreciate you so much more now. Before, I often took you for granted, always expecting you would be around whenever I wanted. Now when I see you, I cherish you and our time together. You never turn your back on me, especially after a tough day.

We've celebrated together, cried together, laughed together, you name it. You're a true friend and I am forever grateful for your loyalty. I will never again question the depth of our love. Thank you for always being there, I know I can count on you and you on me.

With deepest love and devotion,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Magic of Christmas

For as long as I can remember I have always loved Christmas and not just because of the gifts.

I have long loved this beautiful holiday season for the sheer sense of JOY that it brings people. At no other time of year are people more thoughtful and well, just soft and kind. Soft around the edges, softer and kinder in their disposition, their outlook, the way they treat one another, etc... More often than not we rush through life preoccupied by all of the "things" we have to do and I feel that the holidays force us to just slow down a bit and reflect.

Every year around this time I find myself feeling incredibly grateful for all that I have. The people in my life, the friendships that I have built over the years, my family, the list goes on. I look forward to this time of reflection because it helps me appreciate so much. I know every day that I'm lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support but it just feels well, bigger this time of year.

Just hearing Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" can turn me giddy with nostalgia. That single song alone makes my heart feel full of the "Christmas Spirit" maybe because it evokes the feelings that I imagine the families in movies to have or in the really sentimental commercials you see this time of year of the "perfect family" so often depicted. I want to feel like that. So I love this time of year because it allows me to do just that, unapologetically. I can create this perfect scenario where noone worries about everyday troubles, for one day you just let it all go and allow yourself to celebrate and feel true, honest Joy.

When I was growing up, Christmas was always a big deal. Everyone got dressed up, we would spend days decorating the house within an inch of its life and my mother would cook an outrageous holiday meal from soup to nuts- lobster tails, filet mignon, you name it. We scrimped and saved all year long so that we could offer this fabulous feast to our loved ones and we waited for it all year, appreciated every bite and felt proud when everyone left full and happy. Sometimes I feel as though the preparation and pagentry over the years has fallen a bit by the wayside. I've tried in vain to bring it back, often to less than enthusiastic crowds- "What do you mean we can't wear jeans?!" (ugh.) Whatever happened to getting excited about the holidays, putting on a nice outfit and creating a scene that was so much more special and spectacular than the everyday? After all, its only one day, one which should be celebrated. Would you wear jeans to someone's wedding? That's considered a spectacular celebration, why can't Christmas be the same? I've never participated in the half-assed approach and I never will.

Maybe this year feels even more special because it's my son's first Christmas and it allows me to see the holiday in a whole new way. Maybe that's why I'm so gung-ho to bring the magic back. I know he has no idea about all of the things that I planned for him this year and that they will really be for my own edification. It's my hope though that over the years, I will create lasting memories and traditions that he'll look forward to, so that the holidays leave him just as excited and filled with anticipation of their arrival as it has for me over the years. A time of year that he looks forward to with baited breath, not only for the gifts but because of how special and different it feels from everyday life. The magic of escaping to a state of mind for one day where everyone does things out of the kindness of their hearts, relishing in the delight of giving, rather than receiving  and celebrating all that you have. The time of year where everyone can just feel like a kid again, when things were simple. And maybe, just maybe, it will impact him enough that he will want to pass that same feeling on to his children some day.

Joy. Unhibited, unapologetic, over the top, enthusiastic Joy.

After all, isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Baby Genius?

In the wake of the recent lawsuit involving Baby Einstein/Disney vs. Some crazy lunatic of a woman with unreasonable expectations, I found myself thinking about what we parents stress about involving the development of our little ones.

Sure I buy into the theory that in order for your child to develop, one must give them proper opportunities in which to flourish. Do I think that sole opportunity comes from a video that I can purchase for $19.99 at some huge baby store selling anything and everything and expect my child to begin composing symphonies or speaking 4 languages by the time he's a year old? No.

I do think that supporting your child's develoment with different materials or classes can possibly be beneficial but also fun for your kid and (gasp!) enjoyable for you, since it provides time for you to set aside and bond with your child while you're doing it. However, I'm pretty sure such materials and groups were designed to be used as a supplement or in conjunction with a parent's loving efforts. You can't expect that by plopping your kid down in his Bumbo in front of the Sony for an hour a day, while images of sock puppets and colored bubbles dance around to the sweet sounds of Beethoven, will someday produce a 4 year old that can recite Dostoyevsky from memory. Hey, maybe it will but chances are your kid will be picking his nose with my kid in the corner and comparing the size of their "Gold." 

Don't let me fool you, I consider myself an open minded mom, one with her finger on the pulse of current trends and one who is interested in all the new learning tools. I do try to expose my son to various avenues in which his personality and learning capacity will be enriched. I'm also not ashamed to admit that one of the reasons  I do it is to meet other new moms that are in the current stage of life that I'm in at the moment because life (and in my case) stories of poop, are best when shared.

 This also makes me guilty of being the type of Mom who owns and is currently testing the principles of a baby sign language book for the purpose of teaching my child another way to express himself and communicate with us. I have zero expectations however that he'll be standing on stage-right at the Grammy's in 5 years signing the lyrics to Lady GaGa's latest hit while the closed captioned audience looks on. But rather that he'll simply be able to squeeze his little fist open and closed indicating he wants more milk when he's hungry, rather than us wasting 10 minutes doing the: "did he pee? Is he tired/bored/overstimulated/teething etc... " rundown, when all he wants is to eat.

I also don't anticipate that my son will be running an Ashram in India someday just because we go to Mommy & Me Yoga once a week or that he'll become an avid marathon runner or an Olympic athelete just because I wheeze my way around our neighborhood with him in a jogging stroller, while I struggle to lose the rest of the baby weight brought on by 9 months of ice cream binges.

I guess my point is, perhaps the issue lies within the high expectations we place on ourselves and others.

Rather than relying on "something"to teach your child how to be a genius and suing Fortune 500 companies when you don't get your unrealistically desired results, why don't you just get on the floor and interact with your little one, have fun and be a positive role model while you try to raise a decent kid.

I don't know about anyone else but if my son grows up to be a caring person, one that is compassionate of others, respectful to everyone around him, well mannered and appreciative of what he has, as well as generous towards those that have less,  I'll consider this whole growing and learning "experiment" a success for both of us. It's my hope to raise a boy that has a zest for life and takes great delight in trying new things because his parents have instilled confidence in him to support such traits.

Do I hope he'll someday go to a good college so that he'll have great opportunities in building a successful life? Of course. But at the end of the day, if he decides to skip all of that and winds up becoming the next "Rap Video of the Year" nominee, then it's my hope that he'll be proud of how hard he had to work to get there.

I also hope that if he wins, that it will be his Mother that he'll thank, not a DVD.  :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My First Snow Day!

Today was the little man's first snow day and so far it looks as though we subscribe to the same 30/30 rule as most every other family of small kids does. 30 solid minutes of piling on layer after layer of clothing as if you're preparing the kid for a month long treck through Antartica, only to last about 30 actual seconds outside "playing" in the snow. It's a rite of passage I guess and at least we got some cute shots. 

We didn't get as much snow as some other areas nearby but we were still lucky enough to be blanketed with about 8 white wintery inches. One of the highlights of the day for sure was a visit from Santa who arrived by firetruck to dole out candy canes to every kid that lives in town. 

We ended the day by attending a Christmas Carol night at the pond which showcased some largely decent guitar players/vocalists from our area singing traditional Christmas songs. Everyone who attended was treated to hot chocolate, a bonfire and the occasional snowball fight off in the distance by some excited kids who were doing their best to "skate" on the pond without getting caught. All in all, I would say the little man is off to a pretty good start for his first Christmas...

Related Posts with Thumbnails