christmas in berkeley.

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Following tradition, we had a "second" Christmas morning at home in Berkeley after we got back from our trip. This was the first year where Eliza was really interested in the idea of Santa. To be honest, it's so weird to me as a parent! I don't know why. It's just funny and awkward to answer all of her questions about this old man and his little elves. But, I also think it's totally a part of being a kid so I'll follow through with it.

So, when we were in Texas we suddenly realized that we hadn't made a plan to explain why her presents wouldn't show up Christmas morning. My family gave her some wonderful gifts, of course, but we hadn't brought any of her "Santa gifts" from home. So, we quickly wrote her a fancy letter from Santa explaining that she would get her presents in Berkeley and that she had been a good girl, and a good big sister. We also included a bag of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, because that is literally all she wanted from Santa for Christmas. We actually got to visit multiple Santas around the holidays, and every time she told him, "Chedd-aw bunnies!"

The night before our Christmas morning in Berkeley, we realized we had nothing to offer Santa since our fridge and pantry had been cleared out before the trip. So, we put out an old piece of celery and a few stale graham crackers. Luckily, Santa wasn't too picky. The next morning, Eliza woke up sooo early because she was still on Texas time. It was still dark outside, so we could hardly see her reactions as she bounded into the living room. Santa brought her a pink balance bike, and she rode that thing up and down the same 15 ft stretch of our house all day long. It was raining for days, but on the second day we bundled up in rain gear and let her cruise around the tennis courts across the street. She was so excited about her bike. She rides it to school every day now, and loves taking it on bike rides with her friends on the trails around the Bay.

Other gifts of note: a mermaid for the bathtub, a book featuring her favorite stuffed animal "Eleanor the Bear" (of the Walnut Animal Society), a new fuzzy jacket, a soft nightgown, and new ballet slippers. She was so excited! Most of these things were from her very curated Christmas list that she sent to Santa. So good! I do love Santa, I guess. If not just for the letters:

Dear Santa,
I have been good this year. I like Baby. I like our family. What's with the reindeer on your sled? I go to school! I go to ballet! I don't watch too many shows or eat too many treats.
I want:
-pink bunny slippers
-a game
-a toy trolley
-a new fuzzy jacket
-mermaids for the bathtub (plastic ones, with hands)
-cheddar bunnies
-an angel dress-up
-a flower
-a butterfly clip (for my hair) (pink butterfly with pink jewels and pink sparkles)
Merry Christmas!
Love, Eliza

Sadie got a few new toys, a bonnet, and some shoes. She lounged quietly surrounded by her goods, while Eliza bounced off the walls with excitement.

Eliza LOVES holidays. She loves any sort of holiday. She loves the decorations, the activities, the crafts, the gifts, the books, the food, and the special times associated with them. Christmas is such a beautiful time of year with children. I love watching her play with her nativity, or "activity," as she calls it. I love seeing her pour through the box of Christmas books when we pull it out every year, as if she has never seen them before. I love all of the attention and excitement over the Christmas tree. I especially love helping her pick out gifts for all of her loved ones. Gift giving is, I believe, her favorite part of any sort of holiday or party. When we go to birthday parties, she will not leave until she gets to watch the birthday child open her gift, even when the parents are trying to be classy and take them home to open them or something. Eliza is such a giver.

This post is obviously very late, and there are more later-posts to come. But, I am so happy to have my little family to celebrate the holidays with. We recognize that we are extremely blessed in so many ways. And, we hope that you had a beautiful holiday season, as well!

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