First Haircut

Christmas Eve:

First, you should know there is a bit of redemption with the Great Christmas Fail. Madigan seemed to hate all the shoes she got this Christmas. (Minus, of course, the pink, old school converse shoes she got from Brett's aunt DeeAnn & family. Because those shoes rock, and even an almost 18-month-old knows that.) But she also got slippers from Grandma & Grandpa Hille, and more crock-ish shoes in her stocking, and both pairs were thrown by the wayside. She apparently only loves her too-small slippers she has now. Who woulda thought?

Now, onto the haircut:
A couple "before" shots:

(Christmas morning hair- of course!)

(dum-dum suckers... a god-send!)

A special thank you goes out to Madigan's Aunt Ashley, who is a professional stylist, and gave miss M her first hair cut. Although the fuzz that was trimmed hardly constitutes a "locket" of hair, we saved it anyway. Because we're silly first time parents like that.

I suppose this means that all the baby-type firsts have been "done"....


The Great Christmas FAIL.

Deep down, I think I'm a conflicted person.

I mean... I guess even superficially I'm conflicted.

Wait, that was conflicting in & of itself. Gah.

Let's start with Christmas. (Which isn't even here yet, I am totally aware.) I have exercised caution to make sure that people know how we feel about excess. I love that people want to give Madigan things. I love the act of giving and receiving presents. (After all- my love language is GIFTS!) However, we don't want our daughter to grow up thinking that the whole point of this season is to be showered in gifts. We've asked family to keep it to one or two things, smallish, that she will USE. We know that she's young and won't remember this Christmas, and that's coupled with the fact that in this economy, everyone could use a financial pass. We know that if we start a tradition of lots of presents, it only gets harder to keep up with later. So with all these things in mind, we chose our daughter's presents carefully.
First, a membership to the local children's museum. She loves it there, it's going to expand in the spring, and it's a chance to do something together as a family.
Second, we got her a basket of stuffed fruit. I was something to unwrap, it was educational, and it's full of colors and textures to just stimulate her little brain. Also, because we are "in the know" on the gifts from the grandparents, we know that the shopping cart she's getting from grandma and grandpa will go very well with this gift.
Third, we got her a new pair of slippers. Practical, useful, much needed. This little 17 month old is in love with her shoes; she asks for them right after "milk" in the morning! She is her father's child- she wants shoes on from sun-up to sun-down. I was so excited about these shoes!
We decided to have our little family Christmas this past Sunday. We plugged in the tree, we got Madigan up in her jammies and right after breakfast we let her open her gifts. The fruit was a success! She tore them out of the package and named each and every single one of them. (Too bad that she gave them names that most of us can't understand. But, whatever, we can overlook that...) She stood inside the fruit box, she pretended to eat a turnip. Score!
Then, the slippers. She peeled off the lid, and exclaimed "SHOES!" as she turned, sat, and then attempted to put them on. Next, she asked mama for "(h)elp". I also attempted to put them on her, without luck. They are a bit smallish, and also too thick on the bottom to allow her to walk normally. She took about seven steps, very reminiscent of a newborn calf, she scrunched up her face and said to her daddy, "no. No. NO." Then she sat and removed them. She scooped up her stuffed eggplant, and ran off into the Christmas sunset. Fail.
So... being primed for the season that isn't about gifts, can anyone explain to me why it hurt my feelings so much that the shoes we bought were such a fail?


Christmas Countdown...

Last weekend when we were home we "helped" decorate at the church. I say "helped" because I think that Madigan and I were there for a total of 15 minutes and we were both underfoot for 14 and a half of those. Brett did some real work though, I'm proud of him for pitching in for two congregations that he's never been a member of.

We also enjoyed the annual "Pie & Pipes" celebration, complete with bagpipers and pie. Notice that the people there listening were sitting in the back of the church... not our first rodeo. Bagpipes indoors are LOUD. A band of bagpipers indoors is LOUDER.

Tonight as I was putting Madigan down for the third time, she was at her wits end as to how to convince me to let her stay up playing some more. So each time I turned her onto her side to rock her, she just started blowing in my face. Because I'm childish and easily amused, it made me laugh every time. She capitalized by sitting up and saying "down?" She knows how to work her mom. I have no idea where she got the idea to start blowing. But it was funny.
Maybe you had to be there?
We're on the countdown to Christmas! I'll try to post a few pictures between now and then... I love how busy this time of year seems, and how quickly it goes by. I'm excited for another Christmas with Madigan, to watch her enjoy this one so much more than last year!


I Heart Faces Entry

Another entry for the "i ♥ Faces" contest for week 48, "sweet dreams" contest. Sleeping babies are truly the sweetest thing ever!
If you'd like to see more sweet dream pictures, then head on over to i heart faces right now!


Kid Pictures

Just a quick, light-hearted update!
As a "Family" gift for Christmas, we bought a membership to the local area Children's Museum. Madigan LOVES it there, so much to do and see, and she's (slowly) learning about sharing. Her 2 favorite things are the water exhibit and the little red & yellow toy car. I don't know why that toy car is just the best but it sure is! (Oh, yeah- please don't notice that my daughter had her mouth on about every thing I took a picture of her with.)
She's so active and into everything, it's good to have a place to go in the winter months that she can run from one place to another and just get some energy spent! We are so glad that they are building a bigger, better museum that should be open this spring. Since our family membership is good for a year, we should be all set till NEXT Christmas!


We Don't "Do" Santa...

Christmas is chalk-full of nostalgia inducing moments. In fact, I can't sing "O Christmas Tree" or "Silent Night" without belting out at least one verse in German, and thinking about caroling with the Byron youth group to the nursing homes in the area. When I think about Christmas, I think about felt advent calendars, tons of food, hugs from my grandparents, and wearing poster-board angel wings for the children's service at my church. When I asked my husband what images pop into his head when asked about Christmas, it's many of the same things- snow, food, family, and eggnog filled moose cups. As children, we were FULL to the brim with Christmas spirit.

In case you didn't notice, neither of us said Santa.

Brett says he doesn't know if the "Santa" phenomenon was ever really "pitched" to him or not. He remembers a neighbor dressing up as Santa and delivering presents, but says he always knew that it was just that- a neighbor dressed up as Santa. I think that with 2 older siblings (for each of us), the idea of this mystery man was never really pitched too hard to either of us because our parents had other, more pressing issues to attend to... like cutting out poster board angel wings and filling our moose cups up once again.

So now, as parents ourselves, we know we only have this year to solidify our own traditions. Let's face it- last year, when Madigan was still under 6 months old during the holidays, we were on the tail end of survival mode. We knew she didn't care that it was Christmas, and quite frankly, neither did we! This year, we better get our stories straight. She's going to have a lot of questions next year at this time, and if either of us flinch when she asks them, we will be in trouble.
Here's the catch: We aren't going the Santa route. And apparently, that's some sort of big deal.
Now, it wouldn't be a big deal if we were the religious zealots, Santa-is-satan, cram-my-Jesus-down-your-throat kind of folks. Because, that would be...expected. But for those of you who know us, you know that's not the case. So I guess that's why people are shocked when we say we're just not "doing the santa thing". Here's why....
First, I was a child sensitive to lies and have grown into an adult that is just as sensitive to being lied to. I hate liars, I hate being lied to, I am an actual-factual being. I'd rather be told a disappointing truth than a beautiful lie. If my parents would have tried to sell me a fake Santa story, I would have been furious when I found out. So I cannot willingly lie to my child for the sake of fantasy, only to know she'll be disappointed later. Secondly, I was raised to know the real Christmas story. One more beautiful than a man on a sleigh with magic flying reindeer. The first Christmas story holds enough magic for me, and it's real. It's not that I didn't know the whole "santa story", because I knew who he was. But to me, it was just another make-believe story. "Santa" still filled my stocking; and when "Santa" came to town on a firetruck to hand out brown paper sacks filled with dry peanuts, an orange and an unidentifiable lump of ribbon candy, I was first in line. I had fun playing along, because I was in on the secret.

As parents, our approach has nothing to do with anti-consumerism, over commercialism, or religious supremacy. I don’t care if she gets gifts from “Santa”, sits on his lap for a picture, or reads “The Night Before Christmas”. We have just chosen to forego selling a Santa story to our daughter, and instead focus on cookies, songs, family and Jesus (not necessarily in that order). Because those are the things that we cherish about childhood Christmases, and we want to give those same memories to her.

So break out the moose cups and eggnog, and gather around our tree for a rousing rendition of “Stille Nacht”. Bring your Santa hats, and help us make Madigan’s Christmas memories just as glitter-crusted as possible.