Christmas 2012

Warning: This will be a long post. But, it’s full of pictures of an adorable little girl, so it’s well worth the read!

Our Christmases are always “messed up.” We spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, which is when my family has traditionally opened presents, so, rather than dragging all of our presents for Lucy to Tennessee, we modified our celebration and open our gifts here on Christmas Eve morning.

This year, we opened stockings on Dec. 23. I picked up a bunch of little stocking stuffers at Party City for no more than $1 each and a couple of little princess toys, and they were a HUGE hit! We also got Lucy a Hello Kitty digital clock off Amazon for her stocking but, after a couple of minutes, it stopped working. We’ll be calling them to get a refund.

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Lucy was SUPER excited to open her presents the next morning. She did really well this year by not disrupting them as they sat under the tree. She really didn’t go near them as well. I was one of those kids who sat by the tree, shaking presents and trying to guess what was inside the wrapping, so I was pretty impressed with my girl. She got some awesome things – an Ariel doll, a train set, a shopping cart, some Strawberry Shortcake DVDs, play food, a Barbie karaoke machine and a personalized Minnie Mouse blanket. Her “big” gift was a train table, which she loves. Yep. That’s my girl – princesses and trains.

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A few hours later, we headed to my parents’ house. Although it fell on a Monday, we chose not to go up on Friday because we didn’t want to ask someone to come check on our cats.

When we arrived, we hung out and Lucy made cookies with my mom for Santa. It was quiet since my brother and his family weren’t there, but Lucy loved getting all the attention. After our traditional dinner of Chow Mein, we headed to the living room to open presents. Lucy was SO excited to give everyone our gifts (she had been trying to ever since we walked through the door). And, of course, she was excited to open her own gifts!

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After all the presents were opened, Joe, my brother and I headed out to see a movie (The Guilt Trip. It was pretty funny.) When we returned, my dad read Lucy her 24th book, “The Night Before Christmas.” I feel like I should have had Joe take the picture. He says he’s their adopted son.

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And, Lucy put out her cookies for Santa and went to bed.

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On Christmas morning, Lucy was SUPER excited to see what Santa had left for her. She waited fairly patiently for almost an hour until we knew my parents were awake and could go over to their house. She was not disappointed! Santa brought her a princess mp3 player that play music and the princess stories, a Cinderella doll, and a box with a bunch of princess dress up clothes and accessories!

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She and Daddy also read her note from Santa (thanks, Uncle Randy, since Mommy and Daddy forgot to write one!)

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And, Snow White joined us for the rest of the day.

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Joe’s parents came up for lunch, as they do every year, and we had a great time. I love that our families get along so well and spend the respective holidays together.

I cannot wait until next Christmas. Seeing the magic through my daughter’s eyes makes it so much more fun.

Handprint Menorah Craft

When I was interviewing an interfaith family this week, the mother told me her son had made a menorah out of handprints at his preschool. I thought that was such a cute idea. It was definitely something I wanted to do for my in-laws, who are Jewish.

So, today on our way home from my sister-in-law’s house, we stopped by Hobby Lobby and grabbed some supplies. We spent around $10 after two 40% off coupons for two canvases (two pack for $3.99), 2 bottles of paint and a pack of brushes. I didn’t realize the yellow paint was more expensive but, I figure we’ll be able to use the paint and brushes for many, many other projects, so spending $10 isn’t too bad.

Lucy was psyched to paint. She talked about this the whole way home. Thankfully, it was only about a 10 minute drive. :) After we cleared a space on the table, we put down some paper towels and got to work. The first step was to paint her hands. Rather than painting both and then putting them both down at the same time, we did them one at a time. I think that was much easier for a toddler. Mom tip of the day. You’re welcome.

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We put her left hand down first and then the right, putting her right thumb on top of the print from her left thumb, which made a candle holder for the middle menorah candle.

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While Joe washed Lucy’s hands, I painted the base for the menorah. It was fairly simple, which is saying something coming from someone who has no artistic abilities whatsoever. I just painted a line from one hand to the other, then added a thick base. Then, Joe and Lucy added the flames.

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Want to see the finished product??

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Seriously, how cute is that?? And the best part is that it only took about 10 minutes to make! I have plans now for a Christmas-themed painting, which we’ll do when Lucy gets back from her trip with the grandparents this weekend. Can’t wait!

Lucy’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Birthday

My sweet girl turned 3 on Wednesday (seriously, WHERE does the time go??), and we had an awesome day planned. After she played for a while in the Power Wheel we got her, we were going to grab donuts for breakfast (our tradition), and head up to Dalton to watch trains and let her take pictures with her new camera.

After Lucy went to bed on Tuesday night, we set to work wrapping presents and putting her car together. I set up a pretty nice display with which to surprise her the next morning and headed to bed.

Around midnight, Joe woke me screaming that Lucy was having trouble breathing. He gave her to me and called 911. Apparently, she had been pointing at her mouth and nodded when Joe asked if she had swallowed something though, of course, we had no idea what it might have been. We were scared to death. I seriously have never been that scared in my entire life.

Lucy calmed down a bit when she saw her gifts, so we rushed her to the car and sped to the hospital. When we got there, they didn’t seem to think there was anything seriously wrong with her (um, HELLO, my daughter said she swallowed something and was still having some trouble breathing), and we ended up waiting for more than an hour in the waiting room. Once we were taken back, we waited another 30 minutes or so for her nurse to come in. Joe had to actually go out twice to ask if our daughter was going to be seen.

When the nurse walked in, she saw Lucy walking around and said, “Oh, she’s fine.” Let me tell you, this momma was LIVID. She listened to Lucy’s heart and lungs, and then left. I was pretty P.O.’d by then and told Joe in no uncertain terms that we were never going to our local hospital again. We’ve never had a good experience there, and this just sealed the deal.

So, we waited. And, we waited. And, we waited. I went out and asked WHEN the doctor was going to come in and was told that Lucy was on the list to be seen. Obviously. However, a time frame would be awesome.

We waited another 20 minutes, and when Joe went back out to the desk, he was told it would be another 30-60 minutes before Lucy would be seen. So, we decided to leave and go to one of the hospitals in Rome.

Once we arrived, the girl at the front desk took one look at Lucy and called back, telling them there was a croupy child they needed to come get. Now, I know there wasn’t anyone else waiting, but I was impressed with their staff from the get-go.

When we got to our room, we had three nurses taking care of Lucy, and the doctor came in about 10 minutes later. She had an xray taken (and, apparently, Lucy had to be strapped to a chair with her arms held up because she wouldn’t stand still — definitely nothing that would hurt her but she was pretty traumatized by it) and diagnosed Lucy with croup. She gave her a steroid shot (traumatizing event No. 2) and a prescription for an antibiotic, and sent us on our way.

We got home around 6 a.m. and, after we let Lucy sit in her car and open her presents, we crashed for a few hours.

When we woke up, we tried to salvage Lucy’s day and took her to breakfast at Waffle House (her request). Afterward, we ran a few errands (and picked up a new toy for her) and then came home to nap. Then, we took her to Chili’s for dinner where the staff sang to her and gave her a brownie sundae. She was thrilled!

So, I think we made up for how her birthday began. We ended up having a really nice day celebrating our little girl.

How my Child Voted for the Wrong Candidate

I’m a big proponent of teaching kids the importance of voting early. Ever since Lucy was born, I’ve taken her with me every Election Day.

This, however, was her first Presidential election. In 2008, she hadn’t been conceived. I was excited to take her, and she was pumped to “vote for Daddy!” Luckily, with the number of people who voted early, we were in and out in about 10 minutes, which was nice considering it was rainy and dreary.

When we got to the voting machine, Lucy wanted to push the button, something I had planned to let her do anyway to involve her in the process. I showed her who to vote for (Barack Obama, for those who are curious), and she pushed the button — for Mitt Romney! I pushed the “previous” button and tried to fix the mistake. Wasn’t happening.

So, I went to the end of the ballot, followed the instructions to fix a vote by clicking the race and — BAM! My ballot was submitted. With a vote for the last person on Earth I would want to be President.

I think everyone in the precinct heard me gasp, and I rushed Lucy out, lecturing her along the way. But, when it comes down to it, it wasn’t her fault. I was the one who let her vote. And, though my mistaken vote makes my stomach churn, I get a bit of peace in knowing that, as a Georgia resident, my vote wouldn’t have mattered anyway. A Democratic candidate doesn’t stand a chance here in the deep South.

But, as we watch the election returns tonight, I will be watching our state’s results closely. My Dad said it would be hilarious if the entire election came down to one vote in Georgia. In that case, I’d be writing a book titled “How My Toddler Decided the Presidential Election”.

That won’t happen. Now, I can only hope that, as Lucy exuberantly said as we left our precinct, “We’re gonna win!”