All These Holiday Firsts and Traditions

It has been a fairly busy few weeks in our house, as I am sure it has been in yours! In the midst of all the holiday related magical kid moments, and some less than magical tantrums, we are still having those every day baby firsts and preschooler big moments. Since I am coming out of the chemotherapy treatment fog, I am feeling a bit better and closer to myself (with the exception of my memory!) and it could not be better timing!


Some things we decided to forgo family tradition on this year. For one, we normally go out and hike around a mountain to find the perfect nine foot minimum tree, wrap well over a thousand of lights, and hang hundreds of ornaments. This year, we bought our first fake tree. I have to admit, I’m not as disappointed in it as I thought I would be. I only have a few hundred ornaments on the tree. We put our tree up pretty early, either the weekend after Thanksgiving or the first weekend in December, and this year I was not sure if I could do that hiking around and all that decorating plus all the taking down of the decorations. It seemed like a good year to scale back and keep it fun without any added unnecessary pressure. The good news is, I barely did any of the decorating! I tried to keep the tree as kid-friendly as possible so That Little Girl did quite a bit of the decorating. We sacrificed one Tricycle ornament in the process, but it was as stress-free as I can do decorating a tree. That Guy and I only had to do the glass and other delicate ornaments up high. While it might not be a perfect looking tree, I do love it!

This is the first year That Little Girl is really interested in traditions and what we usually do, plus she has in her mind how it should be done. For one, she has decided that it is going to be her job every year to put the star on our tree. She has also made it clear she would prefer if we could find an angel. I have only found really creepy or cheesy ones that are not insanely expensive. I might have to peruse the after Christmas sales in preparation for next year. So when she tried to put the star on top of the tree, standing on That Guy’s shoulders, the star fell bringing down a few ornaments. Maybe next year!

We are an Elf on the Shelf family, without the crazy creativity, but with all the 3 am “oh crap, did you move the elf?” halfhearted participation. Sometimes our elf, Snowflake, can’t even make it back to North Pole when That Little Girl isn’t cooperative at bedtime so that is why she is in the same spot for days. Obviously nothing to do with my forgetfulness. Somehow That Little Girl decided that Snowflake, who is a girl, must be a boy. She “only” had on a red suit. Apparently word had gotten around at school that the elves have clothing if they are girls. Guess who was at Target buying some clothes so Snowflake could show up and make her girlishness more apparent in her skirt and knee high boots. Snowflake might be a bit of a party girl at night!



That Little Girl is also learning a bit about giving and receiving gifts and how we can give to those less fortunate than ourselves. Not sure that our efforts are really sinking in since when I told her we needed to go Christmas shopping, meaning for others, her comeback was “Oooh, what are you buying me?” In between those give-me moments though, that I am hoping are normal for her age, she is hearing me. I know this because she is asking about why we are doing this or that when we donate toys and so forth.

That Baby saw Santa for the first time and did not shed any tears. Better yet, it might be the first year that That Little Girl was totally comfortable. Other big firsts include That Baby popping her first two teeth through with hardly a peep. Sadly, she had an all-nighter crying and screaming unless she was held as a result of what turned out to be a double ear infection. She has started eating more solids beyond rice cereal with varying degrees of success. That Baby is really into peek-a-boo most of the time. She started pulling a burp cloth off her head and smiling in a big “Here I AM!” sort of way while we were playing. Except the one time she just screamed as if, “Help! I’m stuck in here and you guys can’t find me!” She is raising her arms up triumphantly while playing So Big. There is a whole lot of babbling and giggling and generally happy baby things going on. The number of baby items she has outgrown, like the swing, gym, and bumbo seat, is amazing and a little sad. We need to find good homes for all of these things, but it makes me sad to know we are not hanging on to them for any future additions to That Family. Let’s not talk about the pile of too cute and too tiny clothes I am just not parting with yet! Someday their girls will want them, right? Just like I wanted mine, right Mom?

That Guy and I did not have our usual date night, but did have a babysitter (thanks Dad!) for a date day to do some holiday shopping. This is one tradition we started with That Little Girl’s first Christmas to make sure That Guy participated in some of the shopping and picking out for her. This year we tried the new Mexican restaurant and finished up the shopping. For those of you who are nearby, delicious and good service! Also kid-friendly so we will be going back. However, the day turned out to be too much for me and by the time we got home I was exhausted. At some point, we will have our annual viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.


With all that we are doing new and to keep traditions alive as best as we can there is some things we are doing differently as a result of my breast cancer. We will be trying some new baking recipes this year. I have found some alternative recipes that use less or alternatives to typical granulated white sugar. Our Christmas celebrations will be a little different as I wait and see about being in large groups. And obviously my level of fatigue is the greatest determining factor in what I will be doing and not be doing. Most of all, I approached the entire holiday season with the approach of “we do what we do and we enjoy what we can do”, instead of “must do all the things”.


  1. […] mentioned a bit ago that going into Christmas, I would be trying a couple new Christmas cookie recipes. We did and both were great! I just wish I had taken some pictures for you all.The first recipe we […]


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