Spending the Christmas season with a 1.5 year old has far exceeded my expectations. It's been mostly delightful, you are very excited by lights and trees. We decorated ours while you were sleeping and when you woke up, all you could say was "WOW. WOW." We have a very strictly enforced rule in the Bernardi house where no one touches the tree, including Mommy and Daddy. You've done really well with it and we've only caught you trying to touch it or the ornaments a couple of times.
You have an Advent calendar that you love to do each night. It has velcro ornaments that go on a tree and you help to place them, which is why most of the ornaments are on the bottom half of the tree. We have been reading Christmas stories and THE Christmas story before bed. We also lit the Advent candle at church together as a family with Mimzy.
We went to the tree lighting downtown at Klyde Warren Park. They had a fabulous big band and you loved running around and playing on the lawn while they played music. I think you might have been too little to really understand the tree lighting so we'll try again next year. You also will probably get more out of the drive through the lights of Highland Park next year when you aren't rear facing in your car seat.
We missed Daddy's company Christmas party this year, which is where we normally take you to see Santa Claus so we made the big visit at the Neiman Marcus downtown. This might have to become a new tradition before the Klyde Warren tree lighting because we had a great time. Well, Dad and I had a great time. You did not enjoy Santa. You call him "Dee-ta" and as soon as you saw him and I started to get you out of your stroller, you started growling. The photographer warned me to just put you down and walk away quickly and he'd try to snap some pictures quickly. This is what we ended up with:
As you can see, you were not happy about the situation. We put the picture up on our fridge at home and we had been looking at it almost daily and talking about Santa (Dee-ta). I thought you might be getting over your issue with the man in red until we went to dinner at Chuy's after HP lights. They had a big inflatable Santa in the lobby and you and I were looking at him while Daddy was getting the car from the valet. I told you that you could hug him, to which you replied with a curt, NO. Then I said, "It's ok, you can just touch him if you want to." and again I got a big fat NO. You were facing Santa with your back toward me and I said to turn around and I'd pick you up and that was when you melted down. It was basically the same as the Neiman's Santa experience so I grabbed you and we made a quick exit to find Dad.
The next day we were at home and you got a choo-choo train cookie to eat after dinner. I started telling you that we'd be leaving out cookies for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and that you have a special placemat for him. It was then that I started to fully grasp that you understand a lot of what we are saying these days, even if you can't articulate it. Our conversation went like this:
Me: We'll be leaving out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve! You even have a special placemat for them.
Me: Yes! He comes to our house.
You (looks at front door, starts to almost cry): Dan-ta?
Me: It's ok! He comes while you sleep and leaves presents! Presents in boxes! (You are in to boxes these days.)
You (tries not to cry)
So, you understand me! This is both exciting and scary! But Bud, Santa is your friend! It's gonna be ok! I'm assuming we'll try again next year.
For Christmas, you got a bunch of great stuff from everyone! You got a bounce house for outside and a great play kitchen for your playroom. You love playing with everything and we had huge bags of toys to go to charity after we organized your playroom. Our house was full of people. Papa was here for a week, Uncle Preston for five days, Gram for two days and Grandpa River (Bop-A-Boo) and Grandma Bean brought your great-grandfather with them when they flew up. We had a great tamale party at the house on Christmas Eve and you and your buddy Lilah broke in the bounce house an had a grand ole time. On Christmas Day, you ate your fill of Daddy's BBQ brisket and my mac-n-cheese for your Christmas dinner. We saw the Nativity pageant at church and I'm thinking you might be old enough to participate next year!
Hopefully next year will be as good as this year, we were very lucky to have such a great Christmas 2014.