Friday, December 30, 2011

Winding Down the Year

We're almost at the end of 2011. So I'm now ready to spend another six months trying to remember what year it is when I write checks. It takes about that long for the new year to sink in. Either that or I write '2001' everywhere. 2010 was really hard to remember because there was a '1' and a '0' just like in '2001'. But I digress.

We had a nice Christmas. I got the only thing I really wanted: Doug had a great Christmas. I also got some new Vera Bradley gear. We got to spend Christmas Eve with my Dad's family and Doug was really into my Grandfather's trains. Christmas morning we stayed here and my parents came to us in the afternoon. Doug got a lot of cool stuff. Our house looks like Santa just decided to stop at our house and dump all the toys from the rest of the block here. We had Christmas dinner over at my Grandma's house and Doug enjoyed a nice roaring fire in the fire place. Fires in fire places are evidently the most awesome thing ever. It was busy, but over all nice.

Doug's Grandparents in Kansas City sent him enough track to choke a hippo and we had a lot of fun on the 26th building track for his trains.

I decided that we were going to start the new year out with a clean house, so for the past few days we've been cleaning and taking down the decorations. We cleaned out the closets and pantry and donated things we didn't need or want anymore. I feel like it's a little easier to breath without the clutter, dust and decorations around. We're planning a very laid back New Year's Eve. We plan to go out for a late lunch and then come home and put on our pajama pants and watch movies and eat cocktail meatballs. I've been looking forward to this for weeks, it should be great!

Happy New Year!

Doug doing his part in the clean-up effort. Not pictured is his dancing to 'Some Kind of Monster' (I told him it was about Cookie Monster). If you can picture 'The Elaine' dance from Seinfeld without the kicking, you can picture Doug dance.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New & Old Traditions

I have to say, that one of the most fun things about having my own family is determining the various traditions we keep during the holidays. This year is the first Christmas we're celebrating in our new house, so it's the first time we've decorated it. We moved in a year ago in November, but spent Christmas in Kansas City.

We decided we really needed something on our lawn, so we got an inflatable Santa. I think he must be kin with the Wicked Witch of the West, because during the day he looks like a puddle.

We always hear about the Garden of Lights in Wheaton, but usually after the fact. This was the first year we made it out to it, and it was a blast. Doug loved running around and looking at all the light sculptures. He's wearing a nice coat that his Uncle John gave him last year. It finally fits!

Inside one of the buildings at the park they have a model train exhibit. Doug was completely fascinated by it and we spent a good half hour in there.

Here he's looking through the tunnel, waiting for the trolley to return.

Every year growing up we'd go with my Grandfather and Uncle and cut down a fresh Christmas tree. I was very excited to include Doug in on this tradition with my family. Below he's pictured with his Uncle John scouting out trees.

This is the tree that Jeff cut down. Doug is very fond of sticks, every time he picks one up I try to get him to say 'Expecto Patronum!'. No such luck yet.

After we cut down trees, we go for lunch. The place we eat is near train tracks. We happened to sit out on a screened in patio, about 10 feet from the tracks. We saw two trains go by and Doug was in heaven!

This is a picture of the tree at home. Note that Doug is diligently UN-decorating the tree. That's a train (with moving wheels) that Nan gave Jeff many years ago. Doug's pretty sure it's his awesome new toy. Also note the seasonally appropriate Darth Vader t-shirt.

My high school has a 'Cookies with Santa' event for Alumni and their families and this is the second year we've taken Doug. I've still yet to see any '01ers there (ahem), but we had fun. It's a nice no pressure situation for the kids to see Santa.

Last weekend we went with my family to to Strasburg PA to see Santa on a train. Maybe the reindeer were in the shop? Anyhow, Doug is very into trains and it was a blast.

Santa gifted Doug with a small engine, so I'm pretty sure any lingering anxiety about Santa is now completely gone.

I'm really hoping we'll add the Santa train ride to our Christmas traditions.