Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our week

Frances spent the past few days with Nana and Pop in Lynchburg while George and I bonded through our mutual love of Christmas music and napping.  It’s a toss-up as to who had more fun:

Frances and Marie-Grace unpacking from their long trip.  Both of these girls have a better wardrobe than me.

At one point during her stay, Frances told Nana that she loved her more than she loved me “because you let me have butter on everything and my mommy never does.”  The honesty of a five-year-old.

That would be hot chocolate with sugar cubes in it, of course.

But when she wasn’t indulging in butter sandwiches, butter oatmeal, and butter everything (apparently), Frances was pampered to the nines with her first trip to a real beauty salon.

George did get to have some fun, particularly when we visited Monkey Joes with cousin Trey.

Both equally fascinated/frightened.

But just like all good things, the “only child for a week” for both had to end.  I couldn’t be happier to have my girl back home.  And after a few reentry fights and toy arguments, the kids couldn’t be happier to be together again.

At least until next year.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Christmas

We had a great Christmas this year—but, of course, how could we not?  If I had my way I would want everyone to spend the holidays through the eyes of their three- and five-year-old.  Children make Christmas and mine are no exception.

This year, we (or more accurately “I” and Will graciously went along) wanted to spend Christmas day at home—a lazy, relaxed, happy, in our jammies, chocolate for breakfast, fireplace ablaze all day kind of Christmas.  So Will’s parents kindly changed our usual Christmas afternoon visit to Christmas Eve morning brunch.

Frances in her new boots from Grandma and Grandpa that happen to perfectly match her Christmas dress.

Exactly two pictures, people.  This is where I need to apologize for my lack of photographic evidence of the holidays.  I really missed the ball during family visits, but I was honestly having so much fun with everyone.  And because as these kids get older, their new toys require much more manpower.

We went to our church’s children’s Christmas Eve service.

They do a fantastic job—coloring books and crayons for the kids, singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus by the nativity scene, glow sticks and candles during “Silent Night,” and jingle bells during the other Christmas carols.

After church came dinner and ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Milk and cookies for Santa; a red apple for Rudolph.  George reminded us of the napkin.  Apparently he was still vying for Santa's good graces up until the very end.

Twenty minutes later, both kids were sound asleep.  And before we knew it, Santa had come.

If only I could bottle the happiness I feel at this moment each year.  Does it get any better than Santa?

The next day, my parents drove over in time for my first official Christmas dinner as a mother.  I needed all the help I could get by the time my own mother stepped into our house (and a word to the wise—turkey always takes longer to roast than you think … at least two hours longer, in fact), but it ended up pretty good.

No pictures of the food, but here is the result of 2 ½ hours of dish washing.  I say, the more cooking vessels you use, the better the food.

Two days later and I think I’ve finally recovered.  Frances is off to Lynchburg to spend a few days with my parents (the highlight of her year) and George and I are having some quiet mother/son toy organizing bonding sessions sprinkled with a few playground visits.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and a happy Thursday!  Next up, Frances’s visit with Nana, to include her first beauty salon haircut (complete with a hair washing extravaganza) and high tea (complete with lots of sugar and lots of buttered rolls).  You can see why she does not miss her mother when she’s away.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all the happiest of Christmases!

Love, The Homiller Family

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting there

Did anyone else’s heart just skip a beat?  I know mine did and I look at this countdown every day in the kitchen.  Three days until the most wonderful day of the year just doesn’t seem possible, but we’re making the most of these last days of calm before the wrapping paper storm.

Thursday was Frances’s last day of school so we spent a bitter cold and windy Friday morning at Monkey Joes, George’s favorite place for celebrity spotting.

He is totally infatuated with Monkey Joe in a “keep your friends close and creepy looking purple monkeys closer” kind of way.

Friday afternoon we decorated gingerbread cookies.

The recipe yielded at least 12 cookies, but not for the Homiller clan.  We were able to squeeze 8 huge gingerbread men, one bunny and two “eggs” with the leftover scraps.

I’m certain as much (if not more) of the icing and sprinkles ended up in little tummies as on the cookies themselves; but what’s Christmas without a little cheating in your diet.

They aren’t pretty, but the kids love them.  Honestly, this might be the one area of the kitchen where I completely let go and let Frances and George do whatever they want.

Including dumping half a bottle of Easter sprinkles on his first cookie.  That’s my George.

Happy Saturday, everyone!  The elf is in my favorite spot today.   

I guess he’s trying to hang on until Tuesday as well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our week

This week, I’ve been doing a lot more hugging and kissing than normal (if that is even possible).  I’m sure Frances and George are wondering what has gotten into their already overly emotional mother (I can almost feel Frances’s eye roll as I’m telling her one more time “I LOVE YOU!” at school drop-off.)  But I’m not one to be easily dissuaded by an embarrassed child.  So I squeeze, I hug, I’ve kissed the top of their heads so much I wouldn’t be surprised if I create a pucker-shaped bald spot.  And even with a daily heavy heart, I’ve tried my best to carry on Christmas as much as possible this week, including:

The Nutcracker with Nana

Brunch with Santa (and Grandma, Grandpa, Trey & Justin)

"Look, Ma, no tears!"

School Christmas parties

Elf on the Shelf spottings

Frosty costumes

The inspiration.

George’s “Baby Jesus” rendition

Christmas cookie baking

And sporadic napping.  At least by one member of the family.

Or maybe not-so-sporadic.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Small things

One of my fellow R-MWC sisters lost her six-year-old daughter in Friday’s tragedy.

This is Catherine Hubbard.  Although I didn’t know her (or her mother who graduated 6 years before me), I feel like we all would have been fast friends.  She was an animal lover who dreamed of opening her own animal shelter, one of the most selfless and toughest jobs I can imagine.  And she had red hair, Frances’s favorite.  Frances would have idolized her and I would have praised her choice in future careers.  Her mother asked that in lieu of flowers her daughter be honored through the local Newton, CT. animal shelter.  So, today I made a donation to The Animal Center in Catherine’s name and on behalf of Frances.  Even in her wake of indescribable grief, Catherine’s mother has given us bystanders a way to feel a hint less helpless.  No doubt, her beautiful daughter was following in her noble mother’s footsteps—both of them Macon women to the core.

I’m having a lot of trouble getting over what happened last Friday.  When I’m alone, my thoughts are wandering and my eyes are watering.  Constantly.  I keep thinking about Catherine’s mother and all of the other parents.  As I go about my day, I’m noticing more and more my children’s small things that have crept into my everyday life—the family pictures in each room, Frances’s hairbands tossed in my purse, George’s tiny Buzz Lightyear underpants waiting to be folded in the dryer, the Christmas gifts hidden not-so-slyly throughout the house.  I keep thinking about the parents of those children who will discover the same small things and how much their hearts will break each and every time.  The premade snack bags that won’t get eaten.  The toothbrush that is no longer needed.  The forgotten pebble or stick absent-mindedly tossed into a coat pocket while at the playground.  To find these sweet, small reminders of your sweet, small child for weeks or months to come must be beyond brutal.

In honor of their small things, my family made a small donation.  I wish we could give more—much, much more.  But, like many small things, it is given with the greatest of love and hope.  I also made a silent request to our Max to greet Catherine with his warmest of wet kisses.  I know they will get along famously—he is partial to sweet little girls. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The littlest angels

Dear Universe:

All I can think is to talk with you.  I’ve cried, I’ve hugged my children so hard their ribs are sore, and now I’m reaching out to the Unknown to talk about the unimaginable.  Because when something that should never happen does happen, you have to talk about it; you have to figure out how to make sure it never happens again.  Dear Universe, please, this can never happen again.

In so many ways, those babies who perished were all of our babies; they were all of our angels and now they are your angels and I ask that you take extra special care of them.  I’m sure you will, but just asking makes me feel better; a little less hopeless and helpless.  They are loved and they are cared for.  Thank you for that.

I think that we are at our best when we are the ages of your newest angels—between 5 and 10 years old.  We are innocent, loving, caring; we don’t see flaws as faults; we believe in Santa; we see wonder in the wonderful and the ordinary.  We are the human ideals we spend the remainder of lives trying to emulate.  And we become our best again when we are lucky enough to be the parent of those ages.  We relive that wonder, that unconditional love, the innocence, the magic of Santa.  That is the real tragedy--the absolute best of all that is a human being were the ones who were most directly affected.

Dear Universe, those closest to this unreal event are suffering, are hurting, and their lives will never be the same.  I can’t ask you to take that away from them, to heal their pain, because nothing will do that.  All I can ask and all I can hope for is that they know and feel, really, truly feel, the immense amount of love and empathy that every person that ever has been and ever will be a parent to those “best ages” feels for their loss.  Please, let them know how much we all loved their babies.  And how much we love their babies’ parents.

Thank you, Dear Universe.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa pictures

‘Tis the season to traumatize my George.


And no, apparently I did not learn my lesson from last year to ensure I looked even remotely picture-ready in the event I was forced to participate.  Sheesh.

Frances, not surprisingly, was a trooper.

Of course, she is asking for American Girl doll clothes (holy $ticker $hock), so her motivation is fairly high to be as courteous as possible to St. Nick.

In all seriousness, this Santa was terrific and figured out pretty quickly that George was a hopeless cause.  He asked in a loud, Santa-like voice, “How would you two like to sit in my seat by yourself?”

With just his sister nearby, George loosened up a little.

And then sly old Santa Claus slipped back in from stage right.

Aaaaand *SNAP!*

Not perfect, but at least I’m not in the frame this year.  And it ended on a good note.

Hugs and stickers.  You can see why George is terrified of this man.

Happy Thursday, everyone!