Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Great Toy Review

Top toy for Landry:  
It was a tie - The guitar was a big hit, we just have to figure out how to play it.  And believe me, we will be getting some lessons b/c Mommy, Daddy and Corinne can't take much more of the Landry and Nolan Acoustic Cover Show.
Right up there with the guitar was the Gizelle wedding dress (from the movie Enchanted) - she also got the Cinderella and Snow White dresses, but they remain in their box waiting to be re-gifted due to the fact that they don't hold a candle to the flame of the beaded, floor-length wedding dress.

Top toy for Nolan:
Step 2 Up & Down Roller Coaster - This thing takes up a lot of room, but it is tons of fun.  We have used it in combination with pretty much every other toy they got for Christmas.  Landry usually rides it naked b/c she can wear her wedding dress on it.  So she takes her dress off for a ride or two and then puts her dress back on.
Thomas the Train set was a close second, as well as the conductor's uniform.  

Top toy for Corinne:
I have to get back to you on this one.  Corinne did not get up until 10am Christmas morning, and when she did, Landry and Nolan took care of opening her gifts for her.  Her best gift was probably getting some time to herself due to the fact that her siblings were focused on their new loot.  

Ahhhhh... Christmas.

We had a wonderful Christmas.  We have been trying to emphasize to our children that Christmas is about the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Let's face it, at their age it's all about the excitement of the gifts.  I have been very hesitant in the past few years to start the whole Santa thing.  Whenever Landry would ask me about Santa, I would just tell her that he represents the spirit and joy of Christmas.  I have presented him as more of a symbol than I have as the man who brings the goods to kids who are good.  Then Landry proceeded to tell a group of her friends that Santa wasn't "really for real".  Not wanting to have the kid who killed the fairy tale, I tried to backtrack and tell Landry that Santa would bring her one special gift if she was good.  In reality, I'm not sure any four-year-old has ever been good enough to earn a gift from Santa, but it was worth a try.  (No person has ever earned the blood Jesus shed for them, either, but he gave us that gift none the less.)  In short, the kids got a gift from Santa.  Landry got a guitar, which she LOVES, and Nolan got a Cars camping set, which he could not have cared less about.  I have attached some pics of our living room on Christmas Eve, before the two hurricanes opened their gifts, and there is a picture of the destruction that followed at approximately 7:50a.m. Christmas morning.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Family Tree

Growing up, my family always had an extremely "colorful" tree.  By colorful, I mean lots of colored lights, construction paper chains, hand-made ornaments, ornaments that were on sale so my parents bought them no matter how ugly they were, popcorn strings, big shiny red, blue, silver and/or green tinsel,  etc.  Even better, my dad insisted on topping the tree off with a nice heavy coat of angel hair.  For those of you who aren't familiar with angel hair, it's long silky strands of white "hair".  In other words, it's a cocoon for your Christmas tree.  While it's pretty neat to see a caterpillar in a cocoon, it's not so neat to see a Christmas tree in one.  By putting angel hair on your tree, you guarantee that your tree can be pretty only when it's dark and the tree lights are on.  During the day, your tree obviously shows that it was mistaken for the bad guy by Spiderman.  My parents divorced when I was 7, but I can still remember the angel hair/no angel hair argument.  I would have to say that I was kind of on my mom's side with this one.  Dad was right, the tree looked good with it's lights on.  Mom was right, the tree look AWFUL with it's lights off.  The tie breaker was that Mom was the one that ended up vacuuming 10-foot long strands of hair for several weeks, even after Christmas was over.  Really, it never went away.  As I got older, I started having strong opinions on our family Christmas tree.  The colored lights had to go.  The ornaments should have a color theme and all be hung with the same kind of hook.  That hideous childhood tree was no longer an option.  What were my parents thinking?!? 
My first year of college, I spent what little money I had at the holiday season on matching holiday ornaments, ribbon, and white lights to decorate my first "solo" Christmas tree.  I even bought baby's breath from Michael's and tucked it into the branches of the tree to add that special touch.  The ribbon I tied on my presents matched the ribbon I had tied evenly spaced on my tree.  I had a department store Christmas tree.  Okay, it wasn't that nice, but for a poor person, it was pretty.  I could only imagine that my tree would get prettier and more elegant as the years went on.  That was the case. . . then Landry arrived.  Next came Nolan.  Then the lovely Corinne was born.  Suddenly I had an epiphany.  Maybe the reason we had such a "colorful" tree when I was little wasn't because my parents liked it that way.  Maybe it was because my brother and I liked it that way.  I wouldn't know this until I had my own children and I let Landry help me pick out our Christmas lights last year.  She picked out the cheapest strand.  The cheapest because they had every color of the rainbow on them with crystallized plastic mini-globes around each bulb.  They had to be cheap.  It's the only way someone in their rational mind would buy them.  With a cringe, I picked the lights up and put them in my cart.  I also picked up a strand of white lights to tone the colored ones down.  Both sets of lights made it on the tree again this year, along with every single ornament my children could find.  They even made some additional ornaments to adorn the tree.  When that wasn't enough, Nolan tried to hang Corinne's linking rings on there.  (That's where I had to draw the line.)
Amazingly, I am truly enjoying my kids' tree.  In fact, I find it to be more beautiful than any I've had in the past.  Macy's can only dream that they could conjure up one with so much pizazz.