Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

So despite the lack of posting around here lately, we've actually been incredibly busy on the home front.
This past weekend saw us taking a brief time out from the wackiness of Christmas prep to simply enjoy some of the anticipation build.

We headed out to Traders Point Creamery to do the annual Santa Visit.
And, to my complete and utter shock, I was able to get ALL THREE Munchkins up onto Santa's lap this year.

The Christmas on the Farm Weekends up at Traders Point are by far my favorite of the season. As a matter of fact, every seasonal celebration Traders Point hosts just goes above and beyond in regards to family interaction, ease of navigation, entertainment, etc. They're just the tops.

But I digress. Each year we pile into the big red barn, queue up to see the Big Man himself, then hop over to the craft stations to make whatever kid-friendly concoction they have set up. This year we did all three crafts and the Munchkins were in a good enough mood to let me browse around the Craft/Organics Market. What a treat! 

We listened and sang along to a few Christmas Carols, then swung around behind the barn to say a quick hello to the animals before scooting out quickly past the hot chocolate station while I did my best to distract everyone from the overly-tempting $4 hot chocolate. Don't get me wrong, the stuff's to die for, I just didn't have $12 on me. So we scurried. And I pointed and gestured wildly to the reindeer across the way.

If it's one thing being a parent teaches you, it's that distraction is often the key to getting through your day.

And, because we were feeling abundantly Christmas-y, we also tackled Gingerbread Houses this weekend.

I've learned my lesson in years past though.
It may be less authentic to buy the gingerbread kit, but it is infinitely more enjoyable a process.

The kids had a ball.
And I had to force myself to be hands off with the process.
Other than helping hold pieces together for basic construction, I just made up icing cones for each of them, laid out the pieces, portioned out the toppings and let them go to town.

They were terribly proud of their work.

And, because The Monkey is my daughter, she mostly sat around and nibbled bites and pieces off of her creation.

What a little Monkey.

Seeing how each of The Munchkins tackles the same problem/construction in different ways just fascinates me.  It makes me eager to see the kind of functioning adult they're growing into. Makes me eager to see how they're going to turn out... In movies you get that classic montage scene where you can so easily marry up the small moments in a persons life that led them along the path of becoming who they are. I constantly wonder which moments will run through on The Munchkins highlight reel. Which moments will they remember? I hope fervently and daily that it's more the Lazy Sundays lounging in our pajamas, bundled up together watching cartoons, building gingerbread houses; and less the moments where I lose my temper with them and send them to their rooms...

Mr. Man's level of concentration on projects just awes me. I wonder sometimes how his teacher can complain that he lacks focus in group settings. When that kid gets into a project he's lost to the world until he's perfected it. Then again, when he's not interested in something, mountains can't move that kid to participate. Sorry, Mrs. Bullock...Sorry.

And, since I couldn't just hover and take pictures and not participate at all. I made the least-desirable gingerbread house; the one The Munchkins all passed on. The Outhouse.

Pfft. Who doesn't  want to make the outhouse?!
I'm pretty sure I rocked it out.

The Munchkins were so thrilled with our little village that we've all made a pact not to eat it until Christmas Eve. I'm wondering who will crack first. I'd lay cash money on The Monkey.

After sugaring everyone up, I turned them loose on my parents.

We headed over to Nani & Pops' for dinner and a trip to see the lights at the zoo.
It was a sort of Christmas Traditions weekend, I guess. We've done Christmas lights at the Indianapolis Zoo for years and years now. You wander around the exhibits, all the walkways lit with an obscene amount of holiday lights.

We stop in to visit the dolphins and the tigers and the seals.
We sit for a while at the campfire and sing along with the period-dress Carolers.
It's quiet and peaceful at the Zoo at night. Despite the overflowing walkways and filled-to-the-brim parking lot, there's a hushed quality to the place. People saunter a little slower around the exhibits. You catch more smiles than is strictly expected when getting your heels run over with double strollers.

And it was such a mild night, Sunday, that we lingered even longer than we usually do, snapping photos and wandering about. Soaking in all the holiday cheer.

I'm a sucker for the tradition of it all. It's what I love most about the holidays. Truly.
It's the same Bing Crosby White Christmas tape played every year.
It's the same Bass & Rankin claymation movies that I watched as a kid being passed on and on.
It's these small things that tie us all together across states and time zones.
It's these small things that make the distances shrink, if only for a few times each season.
It's these small things that are Christmas for me.

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