Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Happenings

We have a lot of ground to cover. I had to work today, I got approximately 90 minutes of sleep last night, I have to pack our family of five for a trip to Colorado that includes 26 combined hours of driving, a day of skiing, a day of sledding, family portraits, and the entirety of Christmas. Our Suburban has never failed us, but I honestly don't know how it's all going to fit. For the first time this holiday season, I look at our laundry and clothes and gifts and voluminous ski clothes and holiday foods (also voluminous) and feel a bit overwhelmed. So rather than tackle that mountain, I'm writing this post instead. The last few days have been busy, happy (mostly), and full of happenings.

[Update: It's now 10:30 p.m. and the car is packed. I only cried once, midway through, and I didn't yell at anyone. We didn't need a roof rack or a trailer. Until we get to Colorado and discover something important is missing, I'm going to say we (I) nailed it, and sip this glass of wine while I type this update of important things before they're lost to future mountain holiday dispatches.]

Happening 1
: Cora gets her first haircut.

Yes! That's right! At 49 months of age, Cora has fulfilled the final milestone in her baby book.

Baby's First Haircut.

She was delighted by the process, though she was disappointed to find that there would be no manicure of faux braids installed. Having the Disney boutique be her first salon experience set the bar pretty high. Cool Cuts 4 Kids (which was actually the first time we've ever gone to a kids-only hair place, her pool big siblings just had to make do with Great Clips), with its lack of Fairy Godmothers and glitter nail polish was a bit of a comedown. She did bring her own princess dress, just to class it up a bit.

Her big siblings got their hairs cut too in solidarity. And need. Mostly need. It's unfair to everyone that Landon's hair grows the fastest of the three.

That was on Sunday morning. That afternoon she told us she wanted to "take her haircut off" because "it is boy hair." We assured her she had beautiful Cora hair and her curls were there and she sighed and lamented, "I just want big hair like mommy's." Poor girl. She actually does have my hair. I had my first haircut at 3 and my hair never grew past my shoulders until law school. It's why I can't cut it now. Sorry kid, but in 18 years you might turn out pleased.

Happening 2: Claire performs in the Talent Show!

Claire, proving daily she is very little like me despite her coloring, asked to be in the talent show again this year. We missed the info leading up to try-outs because of Disney so she showed up last minute to the last day of try-outs with a song she'd picked out the night before. She is so much braver than me. The show itself was only 2 1/2 weeks after her try-out and we were so busy we did not play her song nearly enough for her to practice, but she persevered, reading her lyrics over and over until she memorized them, and learning the timing of the karaoke version the few times we remembered to play it between swimming and dinner or bed. I was so nervous. SO NERVOUS. And she did SO GREAT.

Seriously so proud her.

She looked so little on that stage, but she loves to sing and she has a great memory (often to our detriment) and you would not know we only played her song for her like 10 times (it's been a really busy 2 weeks!). Cora was delighted with her big sister's performance ("That's CWAIRE!" she yelled when the curtain opened for Claire's act) and I was beaming. Love that girl.

Happening 3: History Fair Project, Part Claire

Due first thing the next morning was Claire's history fair project! She picked Sally Ride and worked very diligently all weekend on her project board.

It was 100% her work and I did my very best to not ask any questions that might be perceived as critical, no matter how helpful. I did finally break down at one point when I saw her portrait of Dr. Ride. It was a perfectly round face with two perfectly round eyes and a mouth. It was an emoji. On dark blue paper. Of Sally Ride. I asked, like I was just curious, if she thought she should add any other identifying feautures. "Ohhhhhh, her hair!" exclaimed Claire. "Great! And what about a nose?", I replied carefully mildly. "Noses are hard mom.", she replied, surprised that wasn't obvious. And so poor Sally has no nose.

Claire got to present her project at a real live history fair with the rest of her second grade brethren this past Wednesday night. All the kids sat by their boards and answered questions on their subjects. It was adorable and Claire was most pleased to share a joke she stole from a Talent Show act the week before.

How do you put an astronaut baby to sleep?

You rock it.

If you pressed hard enough she would also tell you a fact about Sally Ride.

Not to be outdone, Cora expressed an urgent need to work on HER project all weekend. We never saw it, but there was much intense scribbling and writing and supervised use of glitter pens. I have no idea what happened to those papers, but as soon as a meal was over or when we walked in the door from an errand, Cora would cry out, "Oh my project! I need to WORK on it!" and hunker down.

(Landon is participating in the official history fair and his project is due in late January. So far we've had an exhilarating and emotional discussion about why you can't copy a source word for word even if you put it on your bibliography. I am pro-education, I am just more "pro" it when it's all done at school.)

Happening 4: SEC Holiday Party

On Tuesday night, we had my work party! It was at work, which made it easy, and kids were invited, so I had Tara just bring the kids up after school. Claire insisted on going home first so she could change into proper holiday party attire, and Cora made a very careful outfit selection before school and then asked me to bring her "party bow" to wear after.

School is too serious for a party bow.

Quick stop in the office. Powerhouse legal team.

A coworker and his wife dress up as Santa and Mrs. Clause. After her great success with cowboy Santa at the Stockyards I expected Cora to be all over this new Santa, but she dismissed him as an imposter immediately and refused to converse. "I already SAW Santa. He knows I want two PRINCESS DRESSES." and then she turned away and went back to her cupcake. My coworker told me later his wife wants to adopt her.

I enjoyed an excuse to pretend like my holiday plaid yoga leggings are work appropriate (so festive!) and always love seeing the kids an hour earlier than usual.

At one point Landon looked up from his carefully selected plate of cocktail shrimp, pepperonis, tamales, and chocolate covered pretzels to say, "this is a really great party Mom." Can't do much better than that.

Happening 5: Secret Candy Grams

No pictures, but it makes me giggle. Our 5th grade classes are raising money to go on their 5th grade tip (a newly instituted tradition PTA helped start last year), so they are selling candy canes for $1 this last week before Christmas. You fill out a little form with your name and where you want your grams to go. Landon filled in his posse right away and Claire did hers. I went to get out the cash needed only to come back in the room to see two more names added. A boy, one of Landon's friends for Claire (basically every reason I always wanted an older brother), and a girl in his grade (one from this conversation) for Landon. I smiled, and went to find two more dollars.

Happening 6: PJ Reading Day

Yesterday was the big kids' last day at school until January 9th (SO much Camp Daddy happening after we get back because I don't have any vacation hours left; lucky James is far better suited to that than I am) and all the kids get to wear PJ's to school and parents sign up to come read a book to the classes. I came and read to Landon and Claire's and it was so cute.

I love that Landon was still excited to see me walk in.

I love that Claire somehow smuggled a giant unicorn stuffed animal out of our house without me noticing that morning.

Happening 7: Cookie Party!

Also yesterday, we had our friend's cookie decorating party. The party Landon had to miss last year because he had Mycoplasma and was sick forever and missed everything fun. This year he got to run around with his friends (because he is cured! Mostly! As long as he doesn't bang his knee again like he did earlier this week while playing tag when he wasn't supposed to, but like a phoenix, he keeps rising again, doing his exercises and taking his antibiotic. He gets to ski and we're all very happy about that.), while I occasionally yelled out, "BE CAREFUL!" and then decorate cookies. I love that all three of my kids set up shop right next to each other. Our little pack.

My pack.

Mulled wine and spiked cider and potluck appetizers for all. It was a super fun night.

Cora and Snow, Round 2

Not so much an event in the last week because seriously, we've had enough of those, but since we're heading north into the snowy mountains tomorrow, I have to leave you with this conversation we had with Cora at dinner two weeks ago. You may remember that she was not exactly a fan of the snow on our last ski trip in January.

Me: “Can you believe we’ll be driving to Colorado in just over two weeks?!”

Big kids, generally, “Yay! Skiing! Snow! Christmas!”

Cora, caught up in the excitement: “We are going to Disenney World AGAIN?!”

Me: “Um, no, to Colorado!”

Cora, suspiciously: “...with the snow?”

Me: “Yes but it’ll be so pretty and fun to play in!”

Cora, relieved, “because it will be warm this time.”

Cora, Family Ski Trip Jan. 2017

I'm trying to prepare her, but she seems to think we'll be going on an airplane tomorrow to warm snow instead of driving for 13 hours to something frozen. Wish us luck (I feel like somewhere around Amarillo reality is going to hit and she'll realize we are not on a plane to Disney World) and Happy Holidays to you all!!


  1. I can't believe the poise Clare has onstage! Love that she feels the music seemingly unsubconsciently - the ever so slight movements to the music.

    Lovely and heart rending photos and stories too as always.

    Merry Christmas! And even tho you'll have some splaining to do when Cora finds out the snow is still cold, have a lovely vacation.

  2. Long-time lurker here. (Way back before there was a Cora!) I just had to drop in and tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog and keeping up with your family. It's always one of my favorites. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

  3. Unrelated to this particular point: thank you for sharing the french dip sliders recipe. Made them for my family this weekend and they were a big hit!

  4. Happy holidays to all of you! Can't wait to hear about the ski trip!