Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday Highlights

2011. Can’t believe we’re finally here. It always seems like the year traipses along normally until around the time of Halloween/Thanksgiving and everything just goes into warp speed after that. You’re left with little room to breathe or think, trying to catch up with friends, family, cooking, baking, shopping, etc. etc. etc. Sure, there are people who can breeze through the holidays effortlessly with pearls on their neck and perfectly coiffed hair the entire time. The fact that I’ve been MIA on my own blog this past couple of weeks is proof that I’m not one of them – I’m lucky I have any hair left at the end!

Yet here I am. Breathing normally again. At last. Instead of a play-by-play (you’re welcome) I’m going to cheat and just dive into the highlights. After all, this blog is for Little Miss (and the future Little Someone); she probably wants to know what her two-year-old self did for the holidays (apart from her usual toddler tantrums that is).

P.S. Please forgive the mostly impromptu camera phone pics.

Highlight 1: Holiday haircut
My Guy started it. Then it was my turn. When Little Miss saw that we both went to auntie Liz (our family stylist and friend), she demanded, “I need a haircut too! I want to go to Auntie Liz.” And that’s what she got. She sat by herself and looked up, down, left and right as requested.. Wish she could be this obedient with me on normal days. Even the hairdryer, which usually elicited a complaint - “it’s too loud mommy” - whenever I used it at home, didn’t faze her this time. I have to say, she quite enjoyed it. And so did we.




post haircut dinner – Vietnamese pho (also Little Miss’ favorite noodles!)

Highlight 2: Playing dress up

We don’t always get the chance to get gussied up for a night at the museum (no, not like the dizzying Ben Stiller movie. Ours was a little more subdued - more cocktails (for him since I’m pregnant) and lobster (for me); less animated figures running amok, messing with our hair. OK, my hair) so it was a nice to step into the night in our better-than-Sunday best for a company holiday party at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute.


Highlight 3: Christmas magic

This is Little Miss’ third Christmas but the first that truly meant anything to her. She was involved in the buying and trimming of our tree, which made a long process even more arduous as we wrestled ornaments and lights out of her hands. But once the tree was up and lit, so were her eyes, and the spirit of the season became palpable on her impish (angelic would be a stretch) face.


She was enthralled every time we drove past homes adorned in twinkling lights, resulting in too-frequent requests of “Mommy more Kissmas lights?” which meant taking the long way home or driving around our neighborhood for five additional minutes in search of lights and magic. If there was a rise in global warming in December, I’m sorry. Blame my daughter’s zeal.

Naturally, the season wouldn’t be complete without Christmas music. Thank you 93.9 FM for playing Christmas music all day and night because that’s all Little Miss would ever request (apart from Black Keys, Hot Chip and White Stripes). The jingling bells and cheerful chorus are a quick cure to irritable toddler syndrome (ITS). It’s quite uncanny.

All of the excitement of course culminated on Christmas day, spent with close friends who live 2.5 hours away in Small Town, USA. It was also the whitest Christmas I’ve ever seen!


With a ten-year-old, eight-year-old and two two-year olds who believe in Santa, Christmas took on a completely new dimension for me. It struck me that, together with my friends, we were the only adults there who were responsible for creating the joy and illusion for these kids who really, really wanted to believe in the magic of the season. And for once, this holiday was no longer about me. It was ALL about them. And I have to say, I prefer it that way.

My favorite part of Christmas morning was watching my daughter beam at the sight of presents and exclaiming with each and every gift that she gingerly opened, “Look mommy! Look!” although her “look” sounded more like Darth Vader’s “Luke” (as in “I am your father”), only far less creepy and exponentially more adorable.


Highlight 4: Musselmania
I guess it wasn’t a fluke - our girl really does love mussels. In fact, we ordered it as an appetizer for us to share but she cleaned the plate mostly by herself. I would complain but I suppose there are worse things than a greedy two-year-old devouring mussels.

musselmaniayum yum chomp chomp 

Highlight 5: New Year’s eve
Our New Year’s eve by most adults’ standards was pretty pathetic. My Guy was out babysitting for a family in our babysitting co-op (we figured just because we don’t have exciting plans doesn’t mean some other parents with a life should have to stay home too) so when the clock struck midnight, I was actually too busy brushing my teeth while my daughter slumbered in our oh-so-quiet house to notice.

However, it didn’t bother me because we technically rang in the New Year earlier that evening, when we went to Navy Pier (a big tourist attraction on the lake, meaning large crowds – we’re crazy, I know) for dinner and a visit to the Winter Wonderfest where my daughter threw foam “snowballs” at other kids, jumped precariously in a bouncy house, rode around on a train and a carousel, and indulged in gelato and funnel cake. Sugar is the quintessential ingredient to any celebration after all.


The rides and sugar were followed by fireworks at 8:15 (for families like us with kids who can’t stay up till midnight), which was the main reason we dragged ourselves there. Bundled in her fall jacket (thanks to a rare and balmy 50-degree weather) our daughter whispered “fireworks go boom” in our ear and occasionally pointed out the colors that erupted in the sky. We hugged and kissed our new year greetings after the finale and that, ladies and gentleman, was how we heralded the arrival of 2011. Only a few hours early. I’m sure it was midnight somewhere in this world at that time, like some marine life in the Atlantic, so I don’t think we were that far off. Just celebrating (and secretly pledging solidarity) with a different species is all…


Highlight 6: Birthday surprise!
It took a month to plan but I did it – he was surprised!

Surprise what’s all this?

I booked one of my favorite concert venues in the city, hired a live band and invited My Guy’s friends/coworkers on the sly, hoping that my own big mouth wouldn’t give it a way the entire time the planning took place. I have to admit, putting the details together was easier than trying to keep it from him, since I seem to always want to tell him everything. I’m surprised (and so was he) that it didn’t slip and that the plan worked without a hitch.

My Guy got to sing on stage (who wouldn’t want to be rockstar for a day/five minutes?) and I got to dance my heart out – something I love but haven’t been doing in awhile.

rockstar rockstar dreams do come true…even if it’s only for a night

We may have stayed home on New Year’s eve, but that night, we partied long and hard enough to make up for it. And it showed the next day, when we both thought, “we’re too old for this” as we lethargically left for work that dreaded Monday morning - one with a massive hangover, the other with aches in long forgotten muscles. But if you ask me, I’d do it all again. It was totally worth it. And I don’t mean the party, although that was certainly awesome (if I do say so myself – ahem). I mean the birthday boy, sorry, birthday man. Old habits, ya know?

Honestly, the holidays weren’t all peaches and roses, but since this post is titled highlights and not lowlights, I think it’s OK to leave the “other stuff” out. Besides, they hit you no matter what, so who wants to dwell on the negative anyway? I say let the new year begin with roses, peaches, sunshine and lollipops.

And lots and lots of love. Some money would be nice too. Just sayin’.

Happy 2011 my friends!

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How was your holiday season? What were your highlights?