Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Wrap (up)

Well, it’s a wrap.  Christmas has come and gone.  And 2013 is nearly done too.  What a year it’s been.  To say it’s been busy would be an understatement.  But we made it across the finish line. 

Christmas was really special for us this year, and it was a wonderful reward after a year in which our family was apart a good deal of the time.  I was traveling constantly for the first half of the year, including a two-month period when I traveled nearly every week.  Ken was filming in Los Angeles for two months during the summer and I think we didn’t see each other for almost six weeks.  He was also away from Cornelia for a month during the summer and then we were both away from her for a month while we were India in September.  Our travel continued even after we brought Margot and Flynn home at the end of September.  And all of that on top of just the daily rush.  So, although we missed having grandparents, aunts and uncles with us for Christmas, five consecutive days as a family of five in the same place and without work was really memorable.

On Christmas Eve day we all took the train downtown to find Santa.  Coco wanted a new whiffle ball and needed to tell Santa.  A dog chewed her ball in the country and she needed a new one.  So when Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas she told him right away: “a ball.”  Then he asked her if she wanted anything else.  “A bat for Daddy,” she said.
On Christmas Eve we prepared for Santa’s arrival.  We baked cookies and put them out with a cup of milk for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.  Santa must have enjoyed them because they were gone the next morning when Coco came downstairs.  The carrots too.

We also coined a new term on Christmas Eve this year.  Early in the day Coco spotted a carton of eggnog in the fridge.  "I want some leche! I want some leche!" she demanded.  I told her that it was special leche and we had to save it for later for the party.  So that night when the guests for dinner arrived and she wanted something to drink, Coco asked for "party leche" and that become our term for eggnog this year.
Coco’s Christmas morning was everything it should be for a two-and-a-half year old.  She found all the presents Santa left for her and it was quite a bounty – a piggy bank, a ferry boat with cars, a tea party set, a box of crayons, markers and other art supplies, ballerina slippers, a tool box, a Play Mobil pirate ship (assembly required!) and of course a bag of white whiffle balls.  Because Coco's only two-and-a-half she played with each toy as she opened it – and we had to remind her that there were more to open.  In fact, we didn’t finish opening presents on Christmas Day and had to finish up the following day.
Many thanks to the family and friends who sent gifts for all three kids. They were all very much appreciated.

The holidays were also filled with friends popping in or coming over for dinner.  Some friends we had not seen for six months or more.  On Saturday Ken and I attended Chip Grant and John Moore's wedding which was a beautiful church service.  (Maybe it made up for missing midnight mass on Christmas Eve.)  We wrapped up the holiday weekend with a family trip to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park to see the reindeer, the penguins and all the fish in the aquarium. 

Happy New Year to everyone!   

Coco (2 years), Flynn & Margot (4 months)
Coco's Christmas Eve dress

Margot & Flynn - Only spectators this year

Coco helping Daddy make gift wrap for Papa's presents.

Papa and Coco assembling the pirate ship;
three hours and two glasses of wine

Friday, December 20, 2013

A lot like Christmas

Yes, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.  The Christmas tree is up, with lights and decorated, and the garland is up too.  The Christmas cards are addressed and in the mail, and the Christmas shopping is done -- at least for the kids it is.   We've watched Rudolph, Frosty and the Grinch.  Even the trip to see Santa is scheduled.  The Advent calendar is nearly finished.  It's hard to believe we've pulled it off amid the year-end evaluation process at Perkins Coie, holiday sales at Kenneth Wingard, appearances on Home & Family, pre-school and bottles every few hours.    

This year we didn't haul a Christmas tree back from our place in Boonville for the first time in six years (since we bought the place, actually).  We decided that with three kids, the annual "Christmas tree hunt" - which includes me traipsing across the hillsides while Ken points from the driveway -would be a bit too much.  And the fact that we miraculously . . . um, I mean . . . mysteriously didn't have anything in the barn to use to tie the tree to the top of the Explorer pretty much cinched the decision not to bring a tree back to San Franciso.  So, it was the Christmas tree lot in the city for us, where you simply point to your chosen tree and they put it in your tree stand for you, throw it up on top of the car and tie it down for you.  Worth every nickel, if you ask me.

Coco helped put the lights on the tree and helped decorate it too.  A few days later she helped put presents from Grandma and Grandpa (Gothams and Wingards) under the tree.  Last night she helped hang candy canes on the tree (and this morning she wanted one for breakfast). 

Of course, the annual Christmas festivities have started as well.  Mark McCormick's dinner party, Bob Sundstrom's cocktail party, the Daddy's brunch in Piedmont and Christmas caroling with the Potomac Street neighbors - to mention a few.  This year we added pre-school events to the schedule.  The highlight was the holiday party for all five Hola Kids campuses at the Randall Museum.  The fete included the kids -- about 40 of them between the ages of 2 and 4 -- flamenco dancing and singing Christmas carrols in Spanish.  We didn't realize that there would be a performance so we didn't have our video camera with us (total rookie move!) -- but we managed to get some footage of Coco's first stage appearance on our iPhones.  I'm sure someday it will be nostalgia video on American Idol, the Voice or So You Think You Can Dance.

Hanging the Red Santa
Editor's Note: Okay, I realize there is no report on the twins in this post. I'll post something soon. Rest assured. They're alive and well!

Coco's outfit for the school party

A special drink at Uncle Mark's annual holiday dinner

Practicing for Christmas Eve with a new flashlight from Grandpa Roy

The best part of Christmas?  The bubble wrap.