25 Days of Christmas, Days 1 through 5

Well, I have so much to tell you, but I’ll start with 5 days worth of my 25 days of Christmas updates. If you didn’t read my last post, I got the 25 days of Christmas idea from a fellow blogger, Courtney, on her blog, Baby Boogies. In short, I’m trying to do something engaging and holiday-related with the kids every day of December (up until Christmas). Courtney’s version deserves a Pinterest pin. She preps and decorates 25 envelopes so that, each day, she and her kids can pull out the mystery activity and use their opened (or unopened) envelopes as a visual image of the countdown to Christmas. I would have loved to have done it that way, but, unfortunately, I’m extremely unorganized. In fact, I’m kind of just thinking things up as we go along each morning. I guess it’s better than nothing, so here’s a quick rundown.

Dec 1: Visit the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
My best childhood friend, Lensie, had come to the city that weekend with her boyfriend for his birthday, and since they were planning to do a Top of the Rock sunset visit, we figured the Christmas tree would be the perfect place to meet them. It was so so good to catch up; it’s just heart-warming to have a friend that goes so far back in your life and knows you to your core (and on top of that, is such a lovely, giving person).

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We did, however, underestimate the crowds and crowds of tourists that would gather there that weekend, the first after the tree-lighting ceremony. It was absolute mayhem. Mayhem even for a single person, let alone Mike and me with our giant SUV of a stroller. By the time we got to the tree for a snapshot,

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both babies were fast asleep and missed the whole thing. Note for next year: visit on a weekday morning.

Dec 2: Watch The Grinch with Uncle Joe.

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This one was kind of an unexpected surprise. My friend, Lea, who I met when Mike was stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, was in the city for work and asked if she could treat me to a girls’ day of a Broadway show and lunch. Yes! Yes! Yes! She’s truly amazing–amazing in the way that, when Cam was born, she let us stay with her for two weeks–while Cam screamed with colic the ENTIRE time–and then when Mike deployed, flew back to Kansas with me just so I wouldn’t have to fly alone with my newborn baby. She’s another amazingly giving person, and another who has seen me at my worst (think post-labor, exhausted, engorged me, sprawled out on her couch at 6 am letting my cracked, sore, bleeding nipples air out. I know, I know–TMI–but you get my drift).

Our day in midtown was fabulous

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(the Lion King was simply spectacular) and Mike’s brother, Joe, watched the babies for us. He’s been an absolute treat for the kids to spend time with. They just love him, and so do we.

Dec 3: Go to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre to watch the Three Bears’ Holiday Bash.
The theatre is an adorable, cozy little cottage situated in Central Park around 80th street that presents seasonal plays.

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This particular one was a 45-minute show, and Cam devoured every. minute. of it. I learned a thing or two as well. It drew from The Night Before Christmas and focused on the idea that Christmas isn’t just about giving, it’s about FORgiving. It explained the traditions of Hanukkah, such as the lighting of the Menorah, the fried foods that are typically eaten, and the dreidel. Finally, it drew from Kwanzaa, a holiday about which I knew nothing before seeing the show. It’s pretty awesome, if you ask me, and is centered around seven guiding principles: togetherness and harmony, self-determination, accountability and reliability, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and hope. An event like this is one of the greatest aspects of NYC in my mind. I love that my kids are able to be immersed and educated in so many different kinds of cultural traditions, even if they’re not ones in which we participate. Their being able to empathize with and respect people and views different from their own is probably the most important value I think they can learn.

Dec 4: Go to a holiday benefit for a good cause.
I didn’t do anything holiday-related with the kids this day. It was a rare 60 degrees, so we just spent the afternoon playing at our beloved Central Park.

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That evening, however, my lovely sister-in-law invited me to the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe’s Gin Mingle. Housing Works is a non-profit organization that fights AIDS and homelessness through advocacy and a variety of services, and their bookstore cafe is run almost entirely by volunteers, all of its merchandise is donated, and 100% of its profits goes to Housing Works. Pretty. Freaking. Sweet. $20 and a gently used book bought me a fun fun night of dancing, gin, and good company, and contributed to an incredible cause. This is what the season is all about, right?

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And I just love the quirky candor of literary types. While standing outside the bookstore waiting for Britt to arrive, I chatted with a British history writer who focuses on Winston Churchill and who knows a crazy-scary amount of info on Kansas and college football. When greeting a friend who walked up to the door, he asked what she had been up to lately. “Just working for Yahoo News,” she replied, to which he responded, “Well that sure pays the bills!” I loved her follow-up to that. “And nourishes the soul,” she said, and dramatically entered the door.

Dec 5: Eat popcorn and read Christmas books.
After a late night at Gin Mingle and an early morning with two relentlessly early-risers,

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20121214-094736.jpgit was a day to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Mike’s oldest brother (Uncle Tim) brought over one of those giant holiday popcorn tins the night before, so it was the perfect day to snack on it with the babies, snuggle, and read stories together.

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And even take time to train Baby Bear to go poopy on the potty (why oh why can’t he take his own advice?)

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Cam looooves Curious George, and two of my favorites are David McPhail’s Santa’s Book of Names and Holly Hobbie’s Toot & Puddle’s Let it Snow.

20121214-093848.jpgIt was a day in which I was able to be present with them–to not worry about cleaning the house or what activity we would do next–a day to just love on them and watch them. I’ve really been working on taking time to cherish these moments with my two beautiful babies–who are growing ridiculously fast. To steal a line from Puddles, I’ve been making an effort “to take [these moments] and put them in my pocket and keep them forever.”

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Even some of the stressful ones.

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4 thoughts on “25 Days of Christmas, Days 1 through 5

  1. Kendra, Please keep writing!! I love reading about your NYC adventures and you are so talented…and, an awesome mom!! I regret that the time I shared with you was so brief (and busy) because I admire you much and wish we could have shared more conversations and outings. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Eagerly awaiting the next Canty adventure.

    • Those are incredibly kind words, Cathy. I’ve often thought the same thing about wishing we’d been able to become better friends while we were there. It’s lovely how writing has been able to bring us together on a deeper level now, though! One of the many reasons we’re language arts lovers, right? Hope you have a joyful holiday with your babies and grand-babies. Give them some extra squeezes. 🙂

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