Twelve Day Experiment-Day 11

Hello Friends,

Man, it is amazing how the right holiday activities and some sleep brought my attitude right back in line. Wife and I stayed up last night and put our Christmas cards on display. Our dining room built-in went from this:

Which isn’t terrible. It appropriately has own Nativity Scene, but lacks holiday zing. To this:

Its pretty cool to be able to cover the glass doors with all the cards from family and friends. Looking over the pictures and reading the messages brought me right back from yesterday’s funk.

Do you see your card in there? Look closely. We posted all of our cards, they were really stacking up!

After getting all of these up, Wife and I lay down for a long winter’s nap. And it was great to not set an alarm and not hurry to wake up. The girls even stayed in bed until 7:15 – unheard of!

And so today I am back in the Christmas Spirit! The girls are still a bit squirrely, but I know it’s just the excitement. And they are no different than their classmates (I compared notes with some other parents). We are feeling good, and I hope you are feelin’ it too, ’cause Christmas is comin’!

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 8

Hello Friends,

Does your family have a special December visitor? One who acts as Santa’s emissary and informant, watching from afar and reporting back each night? I know ours does. Our Elf on the Shelf, Evie, arrived two Decembers past. She was able to find us last year when we were at the apartment, undeterred by the temporary move. This year she joined us right as December started, and her elfish hijinks have been entertaining the girls all month.

I distinctly remember my Mother having two elves, one dressed in red, the other on green, that we did place on a shelf in the hall. But those weren’t “elves on a shelf”, they were just decorations. If I was more interested I might research late 70’s Christmas decorations. I think those things were part of the era, much like light-up, ceramic Christmas trees. They certainly weren’t snitches back then.

The girls love Evie though, and don’t really worry about her giving Santa a bad report. They wander around the house each morning before school looking for her, and celebrating her discovery.

So we do the story and talk about the rules and all the stuff. And do I think an “EOTS” is the best deterrent for naughter behavior? No. Do I think ours is steady becoming part of our family Christmas traditions? Yep. So for the time being, Evie is welcome in our home, even if she leaves candy wrapper shrapnel lying around.

The girls haven’t picked up on the difference, but there is no comparing how Wife and I stage Evie. Wife sets a scene, she tells a story, she uses props. I make sure Evie has moved and the girls can’t touch her even if they try. Fun times!

So I hope you all are enjoying your Christmas traditions, both new and old. It’s almost the big day!

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 7

Hello Friends, While finishing some gift items today I built a couple of ornaments and thought I would share. Talking yesterday about our Star Wars decorations also helped set up this segue.

So this is Lego polybag 30497 , the First Order Heavy Assault Walker. Totally says, “Merry Christmas”, right? No – no it does not. But I thought I could change that and maybe give the girls a craft to occupy their time/hands/minds/insatiable need to do something. So add some holiday stickers, some ribbon for hanging and:

Whoa, I know – fiercely festive. Tidal wave of good Yule tidings. Merry Craft-mas (as in, Spanish, for “more”).

Alright, enough silliness. Much like that last sentence, this altered-toy ornament is alright, bit not epic. So far the reception has been good though; people think they are neat. Downside is that the kits are just outside Sweetie’s abilities, and Cricket was lost at the dump of the polybag. And forget the sticker placement and ribbon tying. So I have been building these and decorating them, not the girls. Not as sweet as I intended, but the girls love them! Lesson learned (again); craft in the age-appropriate range (it’s usually on the packaging). So if you like this ornament idea for your favorite Star Wars fan, have at it. If you think it’s silly, well, you’re probably onto something.

I want to take a minute to acknowledge Greg and Clarkman of the brickitect youtube channel. It was Greg’s review of this polybag that got me thinking about the ornament idea. If you’re a fellow former “Lego Maniac” looking to share your love of bricks with your kids, you might dig their channel.

Happy Holidays to all of you out there, and Happy Holidays to Greg and Clarkman!

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 6

Hello Friends,

Are you all having as much fun with this as I am? At times this challenge has felt like yet one more thing that I need to do each day. Overall, though, it’s helping me stay present during this fast moving holiday season. Our Advent calendar has filled up fast.

Our family decorates post-Thanksgiving, flexible anytime after turkey. We are trying hard to keep the girls focused on each holiday in order. This is getting harder each year.

I don’t think we go overboard with our decorations, just enough. And after being out of the house for last Christmas, our decorations feel right on.

Big JC, the reason for the season

One thing that is steadily increasing is our Star Wars themed decorations. I’m not just pointing these out because of the new movie. We’ve been amassing ornaments and such for about 12 years now.

This years’ exciting addition is the Death Star tree topper. For those of you who don’t know, it plays the beginning seconds of the theme song as well as the beginning of the Galactic Empire theme. And before any conjecture starts, let me be clear that this tree star came home with Wife after she conspired with a co-worker – not my doing.

Again, it’s so nice being back in our home for the holidays. And the decorations go well with all of the woodwork and renovation in the house. Yet one more thing in our lives that stokes my gtatitude.

Xmas Holiday Prep – Part 1: The Tree

We have had our tree up since the day after Thanksgiving, so I figure it’s time to share. Yes, it’s an artificial tree. But it’s pretty, no? We think so.

Oh Tannenbaum!

Oh Tannenbaum!

Before you beat me up in the comments, let me point out what is most obvious: only the upper half of our tree is decorated with ornaments. For those of you out there who are “parents of toddlers”, the reason for this is obvious and necessary (as it turns out, pet owners will also recognize this style of decorating). To the unenlightened, let me share with you the magical attraction that ornaments possess. Much like all things sharp, electrified, high up or generally dangerous, ornaments emit a siren call to human beings shorter than four feet tall.

So the entire tree was decorated. But as grabby hands explored the lower branches ornaments moved up. So I share this in solidarity with my fellow parents, and put it out there as a general warning to would-be parents. Have a Christmas tree, or any holiday decorations for that matter? Prepare to put them much higher than your pre-toddler levels. They just want to touch all the ornaments and play with them and remove them from their assigned branches.

I am not really sure how many installments of Christmas adventure I’ll end up posting here. The D-3 Christmas Preparation and Survival Guide is very much a work-in-progress. Stay tuned for our next post though – toddler holiday cards!

Less terrible when lit!

Eh, less terrible when lit