christmas at home.

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We go see family in either Texas or Utah every Christmas, but we always plan a little Christmas morning at home when we return. We wait to open presents from each other, and Santa comes to leave Eliza gifts, so in the morning she can run out for a little more Christmas magic.

Santa brought her a little dollhouse for her Calico Critters bunny family, as well as a pink scooter. The dollhouse has been a hit for months now, especially after mama figured out a storage system for all of her bunnies and doll furniture. Teeny-tiny gingham dresses and lace-trimmed aprons for teeny-tiny bunnies were floating around the house for weeks. I love walking through her room on days where I see a little scene set up in the house- brother bunny and sister bunny eating dinner, or baby bunny stripped down and sitting in the bathtub. I also love, love listening in on her imaginative play. Her tiny high-pitched voice bubbling through a made-up world that her toys inhabit. It's always funny noticing myself in her play, like when she is playing the mom. Her bunnies and babies often go to "time-out" (whoops), and are always running off to "Young Women's" (the youth group that I serve with). But, the mamas are often always hugging and kissing and squishing their babies, so that makes me happy. These made-up worlds are getting more and more beautifully complex, too. I overhear adventures involving castles and escapes, and more. I think Eliza loves her alone time. Like I mentioned, she goes down for a "nap" every day, whether or not she actually falls asleep. She will play in her room for hours after that, and I really think she looks forward to that time to herself. I think it's a little bit her feeling "sneaky," and also her playing by herself with no distractions. When I hear her up and about I feel like I should go let her out of her room, but then I realize that she is deep in play and loving it. Sometimes I sit outside her door and just listen. 

The scooter has been special. Living in an "urban" area can be difficult, since most of us don't have yards or driveways to play in. We go to the many, many beautiful parks to play. And, it's not like she can scoot around on our busy street or our super-not-smooth sidewalks. But luckily, we live across the street from a community center, with basketball and tennis courts. So, Eliza straps on her little helmet and scoots around the courts in her glitter shoes. She has learned how to use the brake and turn slightly. Some of my favorite moments lately have been when Sam gets home before dark and takes her to scoot across the street before bed. I sometimes sit and watch from the window as he rides around her on his skateboard and she laughs on her pink scooter.

Other favorites were clothing and shoes (this girl loves dressing herself), and play dough! That stuff was a super hit for months. She would play for an hour without needing anything at all. It was a nice addition to the mix.

Eliza is a very grateful child. I like to think that I taught her that, since we are big on "thank you"s. We always take the time to handwrite thank you notes for gifts and things. I feel like it's special and she loves it. And I want her to have connections with her family who all live so far from us. So, she is very aware of who gives her things. She always talks about these people when she plays with the things they gave. One of her favorite questions lately is, "Who did give this to me?" She asks it about everything, though. Like her carseat or her crib or a toy. It's funny though because a lot of the time they are just items we have purchased, so when I say I gave it to her she squints her face up happily and says, "Thank you, Mama!" 

I love seeing my family during the holidays. But, I also love being home. I love that we always get a real tree, and that the house smells like fresh pine. I always ask the tree lot if I can take extra branches home from the pile, and I place them on the mantle and buffet. I love our random ornaments and our sweet, little collection of nativities from our travels. I love our Christmas party that we throw every year, bringing our friends together for a candlelit dinner. We don't have very many Christmas traditions yet, but what we do have is special. 


  1. Thank you for letting her be so expressive.....being herself.