I have been working on our family scrapbook the past week, and in the process I've been reading over blog entries from 2010. I realized that without the blog, I would have no idea what we'd been up to three years ago. And that has motivated me once again to sign on and write something about our lives as often as I can.
So, I'll start with a quick recap of Christmas. This was the best Christmas that I can ever remember having, and it was primarily because we stayed home the whole break and just enjoyed being together as a family. Nanna and Papa came and spent a few days with us, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The whole two weeks out of school, the kids and I enjoyed our break from a daily schedule and just hung out around the house all day every day. We played board games, built Legos, explored outside, played Wii, built a marble race, and took just about every toy and puzzle in the house out of its box at some point in the two weeks. It was wonderful. It felt like when the boys were little, before Caleb started kindergarten, and we had no agenda except learning and playing together.
Another thing that made this Christmas fun for me is that this is the first year that I have been able to buy presents for our kids. Before this year, when Marcus was in med school and residency, everything under our tree came from grandparents or other family. And I have to admit I went a little nuts this year. The boys got new bikes, Star Wars and superhero Lego sets, books, toy guns, a few movies and the biggie, a zip line in our backyard! Lydia got a rocking horse, two Elmo movies, books, a new doll, and six stuffed Sesame street characters, which she surprised us all by correctly naming as each one came out of the wrapping paper. Nanna and Papa brought Caleb a magic set and a Mario Wii game, Ethan a wrestling pillow and a stomp rocket, and Lydia a beautiful wooden doll high chair and crib. I loved waking up in my own house and seeing their excited, sleep-fresh faces first thing on Christmas morning. They were all so cute in their Christmas PJs (except Lydia, whose diaper had leaked in hers, so she was wearing a Christmas dress). After they opened presents, I cooked Christmas dinner (first time to try a standing rib roast, and thanks to my friend's awesome recipe, it was amazing). All-in-all, it was the most relaxed and enjoyable Christmases that I've had in my adult life, and it reminded me very much of Christmas when I was a child.
In closing, a few words about the Santa thing. We had a lot of questions at our house about Santa this year. Neither Marcus nor I are big on the Santa thing, and I feel strongly about not lying to the kids, particularly about something that is so psychologically similar to their faith in God. Each year, I avoid the Santa questions. When Caleb was four, he backed me into a corner with his questions, so I told him that Santa is something fun that we pretend, like superheros and Disney characters. I don't think we got that far the year that he was five (successful dodging :), and by Christmas this year, he'd forgotten that conversation two years earlier. And he had totally bought into the whole Santa thing from movies and friends and just the culture around him. He talked about Santa like he talked about God, hoping that Santa would see his good deeds, etc. etc.
All of this really bothered me, because Caleb's faith in God is so pure and complete, and I hated hearing him talk in the same way about a fictional character. So this time, I forced the conversation. I told him that Santa was something that is fun to pretend, just like superheros and Disney. He did not take it so well this time. He reacted emotionally and accused me of "not believing enough" (thank you Polar Express). But we talked through it, and everything eventually seemed to be back on track. I even remembered to tell him that many of his friends believe in Santa and it would be better to allow them to talk to there parents about it rather than hear unpleasant news from him. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to have this same conversation with Ethan, Caleb took care of it. And before I realized this and talked to Ethan about bursting his friends' bubbles, he had already announced to his whole class that Santa was pretend, and argued vehemently with his teachers when they tried to redirect the conversation. Oh well, you can't win them all.