"When people are laughing a little bit, I laugh too, and everyone laughs more. And louder. And that makes me happy. I like to do that."
Of course, he's not all laughs all the time. Above, is some art therapy created by the Nugget. "This is a dog with 10 feet and 14 tails. He is sad because he misses his Grammy and Grandpa." We call the first day without G&G the hangover. It involves a lot of pouting and groaning.
But no matter. It is December now, and because we travel for the holidays, it forces us to get our Christmas on early. The tree is up, a Frasier Fir packed tightly with funky ornaments, probably 1/4 penguins. While we were decorating, the Nugget repeatedly stated, "Christmas trees are the best! Christmas trees are the best, Mama! Daddy, Christmas trees are the best!" He helped us hang ornaments, preferring to create little "meetings", 4 penguins to a branch, a manatee kissing a giraffe, etc. We had to move a couple of his creations due to the laws of physics, but otherwise are content to leave his meetings be. Our family trees are not about perfection but about love and memories, and it's always been that way, back to the day when my parents proudly hung up aluminum pie plates with magazine clippings glued inside, pipe cleaner candy canes, and salt dough ornaments scrawled with marker. I used to look at our random tree with concern, comparing it to the stark glittery beauties in dentist offices or Martha Stewart Living. But now I would not trade our funky ornament collection for all the designer trees in the world. Perhaps that's a good analogy for learning to love life's journey as well; embracing all that's uniquely given to you, as chipped and clumsy as it may be.
A penguin conference.
When the Nugget was born, I bought a pack of 12 tiny silver frames strung on red satin ribbon. Each Christmas, I've been snipping down a wallet-sized photo of the Nugget to fit in a frame. I spread out the 5 on the table and called Hubby over to marvel at how much he's grown and changed. And I caught my breath realizing that I only have 7 left in that box.
This is the photo in the first ornament
We hosted our first annual Cupcakes and Cocoa party! At least, I hope it becomes an annual tradition; it will depend on whether our friends are willing to bring back their children for a sugar high on a weekend morning next year. The kids decorated 2 cupcakes each - one to eat, and one to-go. I prepped 3 colors of frosting, sprinkles, m&ms, mini pretzels, tiny white chocolate baking chips, dried cranberries, and mini candy canes. Noodle's leftover baby food containers made perfect cups to hold the fixings. I bought 3 flavors of cocoa mix and heated a half-gallon of whole milk on the stove. Served with a side of mini marshmallows and whipped cream, of course! Then we bundled the kids and let them run out their sugar high in the backyard until the meltdowns started.
We attended the downtown Santa House again this year and were disappointed that the trolley was not included this time. Still, Santa was a hit. The Nugget begged to borrow my scarf, and of course, it looked amazing on him. I really envy his ability to pull off any look. Santa exclaimed, "Wow, what a sharp dresser! Can I hire you to pick out my clothes in the off-season? Mrs. Claus thinks I could use some help."