Sunday, December 23, 2007


Since Max's first Christmas, I've thought about what traditions I wanted for my family. Growing up, Santa came on Christmas eve while we were at church and we opened all presents on Christmas eve when we got back. I think this mostly started when we were little and still living in Michigan with both sets of grandparents still alive. We spent Christmas eve "in town" with my mom's parents, then drove 4 - 5 hours Christmas morning to be with my dad's parents. My parents didn't want to try to travel with the presents or delay setting off in the morning after a big present opening session, especially at that time of year driving to northern Michigan you never knew what type of weather you would get. As we got older and moved away, the tradition stuck, partly I'm sure because my mom could never wait to have us opening everything. Christmas eve was always the big celebration in her house growing up.

One of the other big traditions growing up was that we would always get Christmas pajamas. Not only do I have fond memories of that as a child, looking back, it is really cool to see us all matching in our PJ's. Very festive.

I decided that Christmas eve I'd spend with my sisters and was willing to travel to one of their houses if they wanted to host, but I wasn't traveling on Christmas day. Max can open any gifts from Aunts, Uncles, Cousins on Christmas eve. And, he gets to open two gifts from me. One being his Christmas PJ's (so he can sleep in them that night) and one other one.

Santa brings one present and it is unwrapped by the tree. Then, he gets to open the "family" gifts. This year Santa is giving him an easel. I got a bit worried cause a friend got her daughter an easel as well and she said it took a bit to assemble. So, I figured I better tackle it tonight. Thank goodness, mine was much easier. Six bolts total were needed. Two for each of the side trays and two for the roll of painting paper at the top. As to where to store so Max doesn't see it tomorrow, she had the brilliant idea of in the shower. I'm copy cause Max will never look there. And, we will be gone most of the day anyway to my sisters. The only thing that would have made it nicer is if it would easily fold up with both trays installed.

Sometime within the last month or so, I read an article about food traditions. Something I had never thought about. We have a strong one for Thanksgiving. Grandma's (mom's mom) Cherry pie. For Christmas, there are a few Christmas cookies that usually got made every year, but nothing else really that sticks out in my mind. I thought about it and decided I wanted to get my hands on my Grandma's (dad's mom) Cinnamon Twist recipe to make for Christmas morning. I was able to get the recipe, and I'd share it, but it was clearly written down by someone already very familiar with what they are doing. I attempted them tonight since there would be no time tomorrow and thank goodness I didn't wait until Christmas morning. There is a lot of punching down and waiting for it to rise involved. Three phone calls to my sister and I think I did a passable job. I started around 3 when Max was still napping and finished up by 9 pm. After the initial mixing, it was mostly just waiting around until the actual rolling out and cutting of the dough, which I didn't start until after Max was in his crib for the night. When I tasted them tonight, there were fine. Not exactly how I remember my grandma's tasting (seemed like hers were sweeter), but I also have (yet another) cold. All and all, I was pleased with the results.

Here is a short video (taken with my new camera) of Max "helping". I had to push down once while he was awake and he was all over that, getting the stool out, and laughing while I did it.
Here he is continuing to help once I was done with what I needed at that moment. It is only 1 min 16 seconds and ends somewhat abruptly when I take a picture that ends the video clip. My first two attempts at video were much shorter and involved Max running over to "see" and to tell me it was "his" camera and he wanted to touch it so mostly it is blank video of a messy house alternating with he popping his head in to try to grab the camera.

(add video here. having problems uploading video)

Anyone think there was a mess to clean up after that? He had a great time and moved flour back and forth for quite awhile. Much longer than it took me to clean up his mess. Then, I made almost as big of a mess later while rolling out the dough. Hey, it's all worth it. That's what traditions are for, right?

I'm really loving this new camera. It is just so easy to use and takes great shots/video. And, very easy to offload to the computer. Now, all I need to do is remember to take it tomorrow and actually use it over the next two days. I have spare batteries all charged and ready to go, just in case I should need them.

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