Sunday, December 30, 2012

In the Land of Yes

at the Writer's Guild Theater to see this movie
(with Poppy and Grandma, Benevolent Rulers of the Land of Yes)
Gargoyle party on the hearth at Poppy and Grandma's
(when Ander was little, he called any grouping of three or more similar objects -- especially at Poppy and Grandma's -- a 'party')
Nutcracker party on the mantel at Poppy and Grandma's
drawing Cirque characters between lunch and dessert
(every meal at Poppy and Grandma's -- even breakfast -- is followed by dessert)
(Grandma sent Poppy out early this morning, 
specifically to track down Cherry Garcia ice cream for lunch dessert)
Poppy telling his version of the kreplach joke
(in his version, the parents take the boy to a psychologist who s-l-o-w-l-y, 

care-ful-ly folds a handkerchief to illustrate that there is nothing to fear, 
only to have the boy freak out as the final fold is made)
Aliza under the dining room table, suspended above the carpet, resting on the oval built-in foot rest, just as Grandma used to do when she was little.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hand-Made Gifts

Last year Ander and Zaza gave their hand-made gifts on Christmas morning, after stockings, and before breakfast and the under-the-tree gifts. I think they usually give their gifts to each other and to Dubbadad and I on Christmas Eve, so I may have switched it to Christmas morning last year because they were both still 'elfing' on Christmas Eve. Whichever way we do it, the intention is to not let the hand-made gifts be overshadowed by the other Christmas presents. As Ander and Zaza finished their gifts yesterday, and as we have a slightly tighter schedule than normal tomorrow morning (we will be driving down to Coronado after brunch), tonight it is.

By Zaza, for Ander:
moustache duct tape bandolier with removable pouches
By Ander, for Zaza:
Story Stones 

(as she had requested both a trip to Paris and a new cat in an early draft of her letter to Santa, I appreciate that he provided her with the tools to imagine a magical Parisian adventure with a black cat in tow...)
By Zaza for Dubbadad:
diorama featuring a purple-clad superhero battling a saucer-riding green alien
By Ander for Dubbadad:
this Sculpey creation holds cards inscribed with various family sayings and Dubbadad outbursts
By Zaza for me:
brilliant coupons in a super-cool pouch with a spaghetti-thin shoulder strap
By Ander for me:
(the note was wrapped up in a brown bag, under the tree)
an incredible animated short story created on the computer using Scratch.

The Rest of the Afternoon Went Like This

I wrapped while they watched that beloved holiday classic, "Jurassic Park." 



A&A had never seen it, and films they can watch together are few and far between (their three-year age-gap feels wider than ever these days).  

And honestly, I couldn't convince Dubbadad to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" again (so I watched it after everyone was in bed).

As we had to deliver Baby Cousin's Christmas present around the corner, Poppy and Grandma had us over for cookies and cocoa and Christmas stollen.

(We measured today, and Ander is officially as tall as I am.)
That nutcracker is shrinking.  (It's the only bearable possible explanation.)

On our way home, we delivered mini loaves of chocolate chip gingerbread to some of our favorite families*, and again I realized that it really-truly feels most like Christmas -- like that Little Women or Little House on the Prairie version of Christmas that twinkles in my heart -- when I am watching Alexander and Aliza all giddy with giving.

*which reminded us all of this favorite picture book

Squeezing in Some Sweetness

While I was criss-crossing town, running last-last-last-minute errands (necessitated by spending a precious weekday housebound with poor, poorly Ander), Dubbadad made sugar cookie dough from the Trader Joe's box mix and let the dough chill in the fridge.

After I unloaded all my secret packages, I rolled out the dough, dumped my ridiculously large collection of (never used, multi-seasonal) cookie cutters onto a towel on the kitchen floor, let Ander and Zaza pick cutters, and raided the pantry for decorative bits whilst Dubbadad cut and transferred raw cookies.

As we didn't get to make gingerbread cookies with Tutu and Grandad this year, I am really, really happy we squeezed this in.  Butter cookies are not my favorite thing, but for Ander and Zaza it's really all about the decorating anyway (I would add lemon zest or cinnamon extract to this mix next time).