Christmas Recap

{ Monday, December 28, 2009 }
Our first christmas with the bean was amazing and maybe a bit overwhelming. We opened presents on christmas eve with the bean's 6 cousins, 5 of whom are under the age of 6, and it was a completely different experience looking after the bean with so many other children running around. So many kids plus presents meant there were many new and interesting (and dangerous!) things on the floor for her to get in her mouth. Not to mention that the bean and I usually spend our days alone in a fairly quiet house. She didn't know what to make of all the noise and excitement and, as a result, didn't sleep much at all for two days. Santa didn't grant my wish and end the teething, but we kept a big supply of teethers on hand during our travels and, despite teething pain, chaos, and sleepiness, she was in pretty good spirits.

And her moms had so much fun! The bean was much more into the present thing than we expected, helping to rip some of the paper and playing with each new toy as we opened it. We loved playing with her toys almost as much as she did and she was given so much stuff that we've put half of it away to pull out little by little over the next couple months. We were so grateful for the things the bean was given, but at the same time we're struggling with worrying about not going overboard on presents, especially when she's older, in order to give some meaning to christmas other than just getting stuff.

For our part, we really tried to choose quality toys that the bean would play with for a long time. We don't have a very large house, and this has helped us to really think about each purchase. We consider the safety--we prefer toys made of wood or fabric, we feel that these are safer, although you really have to take the manufacturer's word on the safety of wood finishes; we think about how much use the bean is likely to get out of it--blocks, stacking cups, toy foods, and dolls are play staples throughout most of childhood, in my opinion; and finally, there's an aesthetic component--large, brightly colored plastic toys that play music or make a lot of noise just don't do it for us. As I'm typing this right in front of our big plastic exersaucer, I feel the need to say that there are definite exceptions. We originally had a "no plastic" rule, but found it very difficult to follow so now we just try to limit it. Two brands that we love and that meet our requirements are Melissa & Doug and Plan Toys. These are the brands we directed our family to when they asked us what to get.

The bean was given some really great things, including this little rocking horse that she loves:

But by far, her favorite present right now is this pull toy, which we thought she wouldn't use for a few more months. As you can see, the flag is her favorite part.

The boy and I like the idea of all the presents "arriving" under the tree on christmas morning, so we stayed up on christmas eve putting the presents out. Obviously, this was more for us than for her, since she had already seen all her presents (and helped us wrap them), but its a nice tradition that we wanted to get in the habit of practicing. We opened presents christmas morning just the three of us.

Ha, I just realized how huge the bean's feet look in this picture. She has room to grow in those PJs!

The boy is really the toy expert around our house and started early (was it September?) working on the bean's christmas list. We wanted to get her a big present, but there really weren't any "big" things that are age appropriate, so the boy had the great idea of getting the table and chairs set. We hope she'll get lots of use out of it in the next couple years.

Soon, little one, you'll sit at it without Mama's help!

And we had yet another celebration to attend late in the day on christmas. I love this picture of the three of us because the bean's expression says it all--she was done and ready for christmas to be over.

This time of year, especially, I miss my family on the West coast, but I have to admit that there was a little part of me that was glad that we didn't have 4 christmases to attend.


Plans... What Plans!?! said...

What an awesome family Christmas it looked like you had!!! :-) Your little one is soo cute!!

Ohh... I LOVED my table and chairs when I got them for Christmas so long ago. I used the set well beyond my capacity to even fit in the chairs!! :-) I'm sure she will enjoy!!

Strawberry said...

Lovely pictures, especially that last one. Looks and sounds like a wonderful christmas! She's such a cutie.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful family!

I'm also a fan of Melissa & Doug - my nieces love them.