Friday, January 31

santa & giving.

the girls met santa for the first time this year.
in fact, i don't think they even really had a firm idea of santa until this christmas. now that they get it, they love him, but i think they still get the feeling that he's not quite all he's cracked up to be. we aren't very santa-centric in our house, even with the elves. we just don't take him too seriously, we treat him like the fun he is.

 they were so sweet and happy about sitting on his lap. not one bit afraid, but maybe a little bit shy. (maybe, somewhere deep inside, they realized that they had met this santa before...)
poppy just wanted to talk to santa about princesses.
ellie asked him for a lightbulb. again with the lightbulb! she said it was for me. i finally came to the understanding that she wanted me to have a nightlight in my room, just like hers. very considerate (but i wonder... because of how often she sneaks into our bed, she possibly just wanted a nightlight for her "other" room).

besides learning a little more about santa,
this christmas i tried to teach the girls about giving. i kept change in my pockets so that they could each put a little money in the salvation army buckets every time we saw one. 
the first time we did it, ellie was slightly upset. 
"no mommy, that's your money! that's for you!" she said. 
so we talked about how some people don't have enough food to eat, or nice clothes to wear, fun toys, or warm houses and beds. i told her that, because we have all those nice things, we need to help people who don't.
this made her more upset at first. 
"no! mommy, no! i don't want them to take our house! i don't want them to take my toys!"*

so i took the opportunity to explain to her that nobody was taking anything from us, because we were sharing what we have so that others can have more. the more we shared, the more she understood. in the end she loved knowing she was doing her little bit to help (and poppy just loved putting money in the bucket, maybe next year she'll be ready to talk about it). both girls loved yelling "merry christmas!" to the bell ringers and anybody else that happened to catch their eye.

and my favorite thing that the elves did was bring money to girls so they could go pick presents for toys for tots. the girls were so excited about the chance to help santa give toys to kids who might not have very many toys. it was great, and the girls loved it, but next time i'll have to leave a little more time to do it.

as soon as we told her the idea, ellie really wanted to give a train from ikea - and when she gets something in her head she doesn't want to do anything else. unfortunately, we didn't plan well enough to drive an hour one way into atlanta the saturday before christmas to get that train. she wasn't as happy with her second choice toy (a doctor kit), but surprisingly she wasn't even sad about giving toys away. she was just sad that it wasn't the toy she wanted to give. (as for her grumpiness, she was coming down with the flu and the fever started later that evening, so i don't blame her.)

poppy loved giving her toy (a magic princess wand) and she thought the greeter at walmart was santa. she kept trying to show him the toy she put in the box and said "dat's santa. he my best fwend."**
he didn't really notice but she didn't notice that he didn't notice so it was all good.

i can't wait to do it all over again. watching my girls being kind and generous just filled my heart. it really brought a special spirit to our christmas and i hope we can do even more next year.

*by the way, i'm so glad ellie is a girl who expresses herself and asks real questions. i know some kids go through that phase of questioning and asking "why?" until your ears bleed, but i can't think of a time that i have ever been annoyed with her questions. i don't recall her ever just asking "why?" instead she asks specific questions about what things are, how things work, and why we do things a certain way. and she really, truly wants to know and listens to and understands the explanations.
it's one of my favorite things about her. 

**gosh, penelope is cute. i mean, i just can't get over it. i think two is just the most adorable age.

Thursday, January 30

the day after.

these girls played in the snow for a surprisingly long time yesterday. 
i was beginning to think maybe they were meant to live somewhere snowy.

then we had another twenty minutes of panicky screaming because of frozen toes and fingers and i thought... nope. 

snow, you were fun while you lasted.
we'll see you again next year! 
(but can you make it on christmas day next time?)

Wednesday, January 29

the snowy day.

our wishes came true yesterday.
it snowed! 

**unfortunately for many, many people, this weather has really hit the metro atlanta area hard. people have been stuck in traffic almost 24 hours, sleeping in their cars or finding shelter at local businesses. (all metro home depots have been open to stranded motorists. i really appreciate that mr. fowler works for such a good company.) kids had to spend the night at school. at least one woman gave birth in middle of the traffic jam. for the most part, the weather is bringing out the best in people and they are taking care of each other well. but still, our prayers are for all those who are trying their hardest to get home right now.**

we have it made here in athens. the snow started late enough for every one, including our daddy, to get home safely from work and school. he even made it to work this morning without any trouble. we're just here enjoying every minute! 

we had the forecast the day before, and the girls must have felt the excitement because they woke up at 5:30 in the morning yesterday. 
after lunch, when the flakes started falling, i tried to get the girls to look. 
ellie: "no, those aren't snowflakes. snowflakes don't look like that. they should be sparkly and blue."
 when the snow finally started to accumulate, they got excited. we went outside to experience it. 
it was poppy's very first time in the snow. 

it was just like one of ellie's favorite books, the snowy day. she made footprints, hit the snow off the branches with sticks, and made the tiniest little snowballs. poppy discovered that the snow tasted like one of her favorite things: ice cubes. they loved it... until poppy's hands got cold and she didn't stop screaming for almost fifteen minutes after we came inside. 
 after daddy came home, everyone had a good nap (except mommy, but that's how it goes sometimes). we went back out - with gloves! - and played more. 
 ellie finally got to make a real snow angel!
 snowballs! run, ellie! 

poppy getting sneaky with a snowball.

they were so worried about leaving snowdog, but we knew it wouldn't be melting. they could hardly sleep, they were just too excited about the day.

the first thing they did this morning was check out the window to see if the snow was still there. 
it was! they begged to go outside in their pajamas. we started our morning off right with some snow cream and some snickerdoodles and we're getting geared up for another day of playing in the snow, followed by plenty of snuggles.


Tuesday, January 28

elves roundup.

i just wanted a little roundup of all of cookie & dot's fun hijinks and adventures leading up to christmas.
(that way all these ideas are in one place for next year, too!)

 the jingle bell necklaces were a hit! 
the girls spread christmas cheer everywhere they went for days.

they are seriously so much fun. the girls looked for them every day for about a week after christmas, they missed seeing them in the morning (but i was glad to have a break, honestly). i did hear one idea that i think i'll do next year: instead of leaving christmas eve, they stay through christmas day to watch the kids unwrap their presents. i mean, how adorable.

elf on the shelf may be our biggest tradition so far at christmastime. we don't really do anything that takes a big effort - except this. i just can't help it with the elves. i love it as much as they do and it's so easy to make their day whole day a little more magical.

Thursday, January 23

the great hibernation of 2014.

i bet you can't believe i actually got a "new year" post in before february, because even i'm not quite sure how this happened.

2014 has brought a case of the winter blues.
after all the fun and craziness of christmas, new years, and for us, daddy's birthday and our anniversary, it's kind of a bummer getting back to real life. okay, it's a serious bummer.
we miss the excitement.
yesterday poppy went into the living room and asked, "mommy, where da tree go?"
i told her it wasn't coming back until christmas again, and she was heartbroken.
"oh no! it ruined," she said with a frown.

it's hard when daddy goes back to full-time work after having a day off in the middle of the week for two weeks straight.
it's hard for us girls to get out of bed in the morning when it's a freezing polar vortex outside.
it's hard to do anything but snuggle on the couch at night when it gets dark so, so early. 
we take every opportunity to get out when the weather is nice (and it is nice every so often), but most times we spend the morning baking muffins, waiting for our sunny playroom to warm up, and the evenings reading and watching our favorite shows under our warmest blankets.
in other words, we're hibernating. 

  (it didn't help that we had the flu at our house for two weeks.)

okay, so january hasn't been all bad. it's just a little slow and cold and moody.
there is one really big bummer, though.
even with the beyond freezing temperatures, we haven't had any snow! not even a flake!
oh, what we'd give for just a morning of snow that melted by the afternoon. the girls have no memory of it ever snowing. they make "snow angels" on the carpet. some nights we put a bowl of water outside to freeze and it completely makes their day when we check in the morning and find a giant ice cube. actual snow would make the dreams of two little girls come true.

(sheets of ice on the inside of our windows during the polar vortex.)

come on, snow! we need a little cheering up!
and freezing rain doesn't cut it. it just makes everything worse. 

on a happy note, i think we're nearing the end of the blues. valentine's day is around the corner and it is less than a month until ellie's birthday!

(in the meantime, i'll be posting some of the things we did since i blogged last: christmas, parties, fun. anything to chase the blues away.)