Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lights, Cookies, Caroling!!!

We have had a lot of fun this Christmas just staying close to home. Here's a few things we've done lately, some new and old traditions!

LIGHTS: Every year--even before we had kids--we've gone driving around Ojai looking at Christmas lights. One year before the girls were born, Eric blindfolded me and took me on a drive. I had no idea where we were going. He drove down Burnham Road in Ojai, pulled over and untied my blindfold. I opened my eyes to see several houses decorated with lights. I will never forget that wonderful memory!

Speaking of not knowing where I was going, a few days ago--as we set out as a family to look at lights--I decided to drive the car so I wouldn't get a headache with all of the winding and sudden stops. I had a specific route in mind and asked Eric if he would just let me drive the car and not comment on my driving or where we were going. He obliged. We made our way down La Luna to Lomita to El Roblar and eventually to the most brightly decorated house in downtown Ojai (on Ventura St. near Grand). The girls loved getting out of the car and spending time looking at the display. Then we headed to Drown Street where there were two more big displays. Then back to Grand Avenue and down toward all of the houses behind Vons. I kept driving and driving and finally--rather timidly--Eric said, "So, where are we headed next?" I said, "To the houses behind Vons." He said, "Oh, because we just passed Gridley Road." For those out-of-towners, I was driving away--far away--from my destination. I said to Eric, "Why did you wait so long to tell me I was going the wrong way ?" He said, "Because you asked me to not say anything about your driving."

COOKIES: This year I decided to get out the cookie cutters (for something other than pretend play) for the first time since Amber was born. I have been somewhat intimidated by the thought of making cutout sugar cookies with the girls, and for good reason. But I could not avoid it any longer if I was going to start making Christmas memories with the girls in the kitchen. So we got out the cookbook, flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, cream of tarter, vanilla and almond extracts and made the dough. Then we got out the rolling pins, cookie cutters and sprinkles and started to cut out shapes.

I was already exhausted from making the dough with two little girls, but I decided to press on. I put a handful of dough in front of each child and went to the kitchen to get more flour. I returned to the dining room just in time to see Autumn pour out the nonpareils sprinkles all over the table and floor! (Those little balls can bounce and travel far!) The rest of the time, you could hear me say things like, "Autumn, don't eat the dough!" And, "Amber, please wait for me to help you with that." And, "Autumn don't eat the dough!" And, "Oh Amber, I'm sorry your angel's head got cut off." And, "Autumn, don't eat the dough!" I'm convinced that cookie-making is a two-adult sport, at least in our household! I took lots and lots of pictures, just in case I never attempt this by myself again. In the end, Amber said, "Mommy that was SO MUCH fun!" I thought to myself, "You really think so? Even after all of the yelling and chaos?" Okay, maybe I will do this again next year. After all, I have 11 months to recuperate!

CAROLING: This morning we went Christmas caroling around Ojai with our church family. Some of us were on a horse-drawn carriage and some on bales of hay on a flatbed trailer. We drove through Ojai singing carols to those who were outside on a Sunday morning, and we stopped at a few nursing homes to sing to the residents (that was our main purpose). It was sheer joy to watch my girls and the other children go up to the seniors and hold their hands or give them a hug. It was even more joyous to see the delighted faces of the older ones in their wheelchairs. It was the most fun I've had at Christmastime in a long time!


frisky said...

How fun! Hopefully we haven't started a new tradition for our family this year... painting the inside of the house! What were we thinking?!
The caroling looked like fun, we love looking at lights, too, but the cookie thing would not be an enjoyable experience in our house.

Michele said...

That all looks like so much fun, I'm very jealous! I pray your Christmas is full of joy as you celebrate His birth! Much love to you and Eric and the girls!!!