Santa, Cookies, and All Things Merry 2011

12.30.2011

Each Christmas gets more and more exciting with my son. This is the first year that Little Lewie understood the concept of Santa Claus, knew how to unwrap gifts on his own, and vocalized passionately about how much he loved his presents. Even more, we were able to do some fun things together and start, hopefully, some long-lasting Christmas traditions...

The day before Christmas Eve, we went to Christmas Village and saw Santa Claus.  Lewie didn't know how to answer when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas.  Finally, as a last ditch effort, he said "toys."

Lewie was able to meet Rudolf too!

Still thinking about the Santa Claus question...

We practically had Christmas Village to ourselves...mostly because this was the last day.

Posing in front of the Christmas house...

One of the decorations Lewie used as a punching bag over and over.  Thankfully, no one saw him.
 Last year he was afraid of these things.  This year he's doing Karate chops.

Making Christmas cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

"This is hard work Mommy.  When do I get to eat them?"

"Just a little taste..."  Actually, I had to keep telling him not to eat the dough. 
If it was up to him, he'd eat it all.

Using our moon cookie-cutter.

Lewie's picture of me.

Lewie's artistic picture of our cookies.  I swear he's better at photography than me.

All dressed up for Christmas Eve with the fam.

Milk and cookies for Santa.

Santa's Note.  (He left some cookie behind for proof that he ate them.)

Presents after Santa's visit.  (We had a real tree this year!)

Christmas morning.  He couldn't wait to try out his Smart Cycle.  (It's like he has his own stationary bike at home!)

"Here I go!!"

Intrigued by his Santa presents...

Just being Lewie...

More gifts to open on my mom's side of the house...

Christmas Day picture in front of my mom's tree.

Visiting my best friend Mary Ann who came up from New Jersey. 
(She's on the left, and her sister-in-law is in the middle.)

Eating pizza at the kiddy table.

video

Little Lewie and the kids playing...

This Christmas was definitely one for the records.  It was nice spending quality time with our family and friends and nice to watch the magic unfold before Lewie's eyes.  I was really proud of our little boy.  He accepted all of his gifts graciously with a big "Thank you" and hugs for everyone.  In fact, he loved his gifts so much, he wanted time to play with each one.  Therefore, we "spaced out" the gift giving, so he wasn't bombarded all at once. 

The most memorable part of the weekend was when my mom gave him her gift on Christmas Eve--a Little People Wheelies Stand n' Play Rampway.  One of his friends had this toy, so he knew what it was right away.  He yelled, "Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Oh thank you very much."  It was one of those moments that I didn't get to capture on film, but I'll never forget.

Christmas Quotes 2011

12.23.2011

I'm not quite sure when it happened, but all of a sudden, one day, out of the clear blue, my little boy started talking in complete sentences.  Everyday his vocabulary grows and grows, and like most toddlers his age, he's starting to say the cutest things.  (I like to call them Lewie-isms). 


Here are some fun holiday "Lewie-isms" that I just had to post.  (I think I'm going to start a tradition and ask him the same questions each year...)

Me:      "Have you been a good boy or a bad boy this year?"
Lewie:  "I a good boy!"

Me:       "What do you want for Christmas?"
Lewie:   "Phones."

Me:      "But you already have a lot of phones..."
Lewie:   "Yes, I do!"

Me:     "Do you want to see Santa Claus?" (A question at the mall.)
Lewie: "No, I want to ride P2" (a.k.a. his word for elevator).

Me:     "What is your favorite holiday drink?"
Lewie:  "I like a the egg nog."

Me:     "Why are we bringing a Christmas tree in the house?"
Lewie: "Cause it's my Lewie's birthday."
Me:     "Well almost...  It's Jesus's birthday."

Me:     "So what do you think of the tree?" (Mommy asked this after decorating.)
Lewie:  "It's PERFECT!"

Wishing We Were Still in Vacation Mode

12.15.2011

As you can imagine, once our feet came off the plane and set foot in Connecticut, we were back to work and back to the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas.  Minutes have turned to hours, hours have turned to days, and days have turned to weeks all in an instant flash.  While I love this time of year, all the rushing leaves very little time to savor the moment.  If we're lucky, we'll finally have a chance to unwind  and appreciate the true meaning of Christmas on December 25th.  But before we can get to that place, presents need to be bought, gifts need to be wrapped, the house needs to be decorated, cards need to be mailed, and holiday parties need to be attended.  For a day that's about taking comfort and peace in knowing that Jesus, our Lord Savior, is born, we sure do get stressed out.  Each year I tell myself we're going to make Christmas simpler this year, and each year, we end up dropping the idea as we get caught up in all the buying hoopla.  It's a tough cycle to break...

Today I'm going to dedicate the last part of my post to reminiscing about our trip (which now seems ions away).  Besides the fabulous service at our hotel, we also had lots of fun memories going to the "Holiday Lights" at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, pretending to be a firefighter at Discovery Place, and visiting the University of South Carolina's Gamecocks Stadium, where my husband did his film and video editing internship for graduate school.

Each place brought unique experiences to our trip.  The "Holiday Lights" at the Botanical Garden were gorgeous, and while I took pleasure looking at all the beautiful plants, my little boy took pleasure in watching the electric toy trains, eating at the hot coco and cookies station, and riding the tram car to see all the Christmas lights.    

At Discovery Place Kids, we found ourselves in a world of pretend where you could be a firefighter, a banker, a pizza chef, a grocery store clerk, a farmer, a doctor, a stage performer, an auto mechanic, and even a crane operator.  Each area had it's own building, so if you wanted to play firefighter, you could enter the miniature fire station, grab your firefighter gear, and head to the truck; you could also take calls at the desk.  If you wanted to play pizza chef, you could enter the miniature restaurant and pretend to make pizzas in the back by the brick oven.  You could also serve customers at the stools and booths as well.  Little Lewie LOVED this place;  I wish I could have taken it back with us to Connecticut.

Finally, we spent our last day traveling to the University of South Carolina, my husband's old stomping ground as a graduate school student.  There he did a film and video editing internship for the University Gamecocks; he also toured in a popular band for a while.  Memories for him were bitter-sweet as he showed me the Gamecocks stadium, the bars and restaurants he used to play in, and the old "band house" where all the guys lived...  He's happy to be a daddy today, but when he was touring in the band ten years ago, both he and the guys in the band thought they were going to sign a contract with Epic Records.  Band politics got in the way of the big dream, and like many bands, they eventually split up.

Here are some final pictures of our lovely trip:


Visiting the Botanical Garden during the daytime.

The fine detail of decorating...

Let the lights begin!

Captivated by the train...

Inside the greenhouse.

Electric trains everywhere!

The best museum on earth for toddlers.

All the little buildings and great places for pretend.

Ready to put out a fire.

Money!!!  (Lewie seemed to enjoy playing with money a little too much!)

Opening the vault...

"I think I'll buy this ketchup please."


Ummm...more money!

"Oh yes.  Can I have more money please?"

The little cafe/pizza joint.

Hard at work...(Notice how he wasn't willing to give up his shopping cart from the store.)

"I'll just throw this in the oven for a few..."

"I'll charge this battery for you!"

Okay.  My husband enjoyed himself too.

Yup.  He enjoyed himself all right.

Gamecocks fever.

Inside the stadium.

One of the beautiful classrooms inside the stadium.

My future football champ.  (Actually, not really.  I'm not sure if he's interested in sports yet.)

Lew and his former internship supervisor.

Words can't express how large this stadium is...

Nice for my husband to go down memory lane with his son.