After spending much of a Christmas vacation naptime (the kid's, not mine -- moms don't get to take naps) writing down memories from the past holiday season, I have decided that it would be much easier to do a week in review type entry on my blog, keeping track of things we've done, experiences I want to remember, cute kid sayings, etc.
Because I know that I will definitely want to remember, when she's 18, that a lesson learned at the rehearsal for her Sunday school Christmas program was that I needed to make a "no headstands in church" rule. You just don't think of these things in advance.
This week, I learned that, if you decide to incorporate kid-friendly New Year's celebrating by letting the four-year-old dig out a party hat and a noisemaker from her dress-up supplies and shout "Happy New Year!" on New Year's Eve, you will pay the consequences in having to listen to this at least 25 times over the course of the next couple of days.
Also, even though the temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit or below (I failed to check the windchill), if you force said four-year-old to dress for outdoor play in long underwear + shirt + sweatshirt + pants + two pairs of socks + snowpants + boots + parka + hat + mittens, you will end up with a sweaty little thing after an hour and a half of sledding at the really cool sledding hill at a nearby park.
It is a really cool hill, though: big enough to be fun, but with a gentle slope and a wide "landing area" that is mostly treeless -- and the park service has thoughtfully wrapped some foam "bumper pads" around the trees that do surround this area. Surprisingly, only one other family was out there sledding with us this weekend, although there were quite a few people on cross-country skis on the park's trails. This prompted the four-year-old to quote from one of our family books that comes out at Christmastime, Olivia Helps with Christmas, "Time to hit the slopes!" (She is also quite fond of quoting the page, "Olivia liked to let loose on the chorus, 'Gl-OOOOOOO-RIA!'" I do not have a quiet child.)
Since it's wintertime, though, we have needed some indoor activities -- we've played a few rounds of UNO this week (we could look at this as working on math skills...or sportsmanship), and have been regularly reading out of her new Mary Engelbreit Fairy Tales book. The pictures are beautiful, and it contains a nice selection of fairy tales to give her a literary/cultural base (plus, I really like fairy tales). It even has one of my favorites in it, "Snow White and Rose Red." Her favorite fairy tale remains "Sleeping Beauty" in all its incarnations, and we've also discussed how yucky it would be to have a frog in your drinking cup, a la "The Frog Prince." She has so far refused to read "Rumplestiltskin," on the grounds that, "It doesn't even have a princess in it!" and "Rapunzel," because of the "mean witch." We also still have a Care Bears Bedtime Stories collection checked out from the church library, which contains a Care Bear introducing each selection, among them another favorite fairy tale around here, "The 12 Dancing Princesses."
Our church had a few Epiphany activities on Wednesday night, including a bonfire outside on the snow which burned people's non-artificial Christmas trees. Several people gathered around to watch the bonfire and sing Christmas carols like "Joy to the World," "Silent Night," "Away in the Manger," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"... and "Rudolph." I really enjoyed this, and the four-year-old was impressed by the "sparkles" (sparks) we could see going up into the dark night air from the fire.
Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season in the church year, and things are getting back into a routine in the rest of our lives, too. The Avon bath paints from the four-year-old's stocking are all used up, and she has completed all of the dot-to-dots in the Crayola book from her stocking as well -- within the first day after she received it. (Santa knew she liked dot-to-dots. Santa didn't realize she liked them that much.)