I've intended to write this post for quite a while...but hey, why not
on the last day of the year?! And right before Laura's birthday, upon
which she will receive a bunch of art supplies. Coloring, and drawing,
is clearly not a passing fancy with this little girl, and she grows more
proficient with each page. Well, maybe not with each page, given that she is quite prolific...but she is making her Grammy proud!
Laura and Mommy
She's also making her Mommy proud, because this marvelous past-time keeps her busy in a self-directed way. Even at the airport.
For Laura, coloring someone a picture is the highest form of flattery - and denying someone a picture her greatest insult! When she hears of evil-doing in the world, local or far-away, she often tells me that she will NOT color that criminal a picture. Would that her sense of justice could pervade the rest of the world!
We were definitely dreaming of a white one when we made our plans to spend Christmas in Buffalo. Mother Nature didn't cooperate, but that didn't stop us from having a wonderful week of family fun. It was relaxing and cozy, filled with games, books, food, wine, and conversation. What more can you want?
How about a personal visit from the big man in red himself? Laura opened the door to him and was beside herself! We thought it was very considerate of him to drop by and confirm that our gifts should be delivered to Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Almost as exciting as Santa was the presence of Baby Ryan. Danny pronounced him "perfect" as far as babies and cuteness go. He and Laura developed a "Happy Snowman Dance" to perform during his fussy moments - and occasionally just for fun.
We were all very happy to just spend time together (and ok, on the new Xbox and playing with the My Little Pony castle). Six more months until we reunite in the Outer Banks!
Enjoying some Starbucks before heading on the mission.
Service is a core component of Marist School, and something we
whole-heartedly endorse. The students have no shortage of opportunity to
broaden their horizons while serving others, and Clare seized on the
first such chance presented to her: a Christmas mission trip to Kermit,
West Virginia. This trip is excluded to roughly 20 7th and 8th graders,
and typically is awarded by lottery due to the high volume of kids who
would like to go. When Clare told me she submitted her name, she had no
idea who else might be on the list. As fate (?) would have it, Abby and
Hayden not only signed up, but all three were among the lucky kids
selected to go.
This was a no-frills trip. They went via bus, slept on the floor of a classroom for three nights, and were not able to shower or access their electronics very often. But they were busy! They put together meals, shopped and set up a warehouse for families in need to choose gifts for their children, toured the area to get a sense of just how privileged their own lives are. This would be a great experience any time of year, but heading into the abundance of the holidays was ideal.
Clare loved the experience, but she was also happy to be home - and not just because of her comfy bed and warm shower!
When we sorted through the boxes of hand-me-downs at the beginning of the fall, Laura was immediately smitten with this dress. While I instantly identified it as a Christmas dress, she believed it should go in the rotation of dresses to be worn any time. Happily, I prevailed after coming up with the compromise of letting her wear it for her Christmas party at school, too. Which, as time is wont to do, arrived before we knew it.
After awaking at approximately 5:30 a.m. (I knew this because I could hear her singing in her room), it was eventually time to get dressed. At which time, she began to muse about how a specific boy in her class was going to react to her in this dress! Oh boy. Here we go... Naturally, he has the reputation of being a bad boy of sorts. Paired with her current desire to be a pop star when she grows up, I think it is safe to say we need to start watching out...or run for cover, as one friend suggested.
A few weeks ago, I picked up Laura from school and she immediately began telling me what had just transpired at school: They received their parts for the upcoming Christmas program. From her tone, it was clear that this was not good news in her book, and I soon knew why: She drew the role of shepherd. She no sooner got out those words than she dissolved into tears. For an hour. I endured countless variations of "I don't want to be a shepherd!" and "I'm not going!" and, as you may imagine, soon lost my sympathetic ear. Basically, I told her that I understood she was disappointed, but that this is how life works, and that yes, she would be going to the program. Eventually, after sobbing in her room for a while, she stopped, and we didn't discuss it for the remainder of the evening. The next morning, however, as we prepared to head to school, she started up again. Finally, as we were pulling up to school, I told her, "OK, here's the deal. If you can do so very politely, you may ask Miss Debbie if there is any way you might be an angel rather than a shepherd - Mary is already taken, but they might be able to use another angel. If they say no, then you say 'thank you' and carry on with your day." She seemed to absorb this information, but didn't really respond, and as she got out of the car I figured that was the end of that. Until an hour later, when I received an email from Miss Debbie informing me that Laura had asked to speak with her, revealed that she did not want to be a shepherd, and that of course she could be an angel instead! Laura 1, show business 0.
And lo, the angel was a happy being for the duration of practices, sang her heart out, and earned her post-show Christmas cookie!
P.S. As mentioned in a previous post, here is Laura's Christmas list. The "MLP" is short of My Little Pony, because Mommy's patience for dictation only runs so long.
The entire family was looking forward to putting up our tree this
weekend. Much of that was due to the festive nature of the event, but I
think we were all excited for some family time, too. And the opportunity to wear seasonal garb, of course.
You know the kids are getting older when the ladder becomes a frequent tool for them.
All three kids maintained a steady, positive focus on the task at hand, and the results are quite lovely! One of my favorite moments came when we were finished. Laura requested that we join hands around the tree and sing Christmas carols, which we gladly did. Seems everyone is in the spirit!