Sugar cookies, snowmen, and Santa

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Over the last year I’ve created a bit of a sugar cookie tradition. We have cookie cutters for most of the major holidays, and it all started with last Christmas. The kids love helping to roll the dough and decorate the cookies. If I’m being completely honest, the photos make it all appear much more peaceful than it truly is: there’s generally a lot of me barking orders and asking them repeatedly not to touch that or squish that or eat the sprinkles and did you just have your fingers in your mouth? Go wash your hands again, with soap please!

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Despite my desire to control the uncontrollable, the kids truly do seem to love being a part of this. I feel like last year they lost interest at some point and I ended up doing most of it myself, but this year they cut every cookie and decorated until they were gone.

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Rolling might be their favorite part, so we take turns.

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It’s a constant battle to get Jude to put the cookie cutters in sharp-side down, and to get all three of them to work from the edges and not from the middle, but we’re getting there.

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I love that baking together is becoming a family tradition, and tonight we walked around to neighbors’ houses and dropped off bags of cookies. We’ll make more later on this week so that the kids can take them to school for their holiday party, and so that we’ll have a few extras to distribute to friends. I may do that batch myself in the interest of efficiency and sprinkle-control, but I’m glad that we did this one together.

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Whoa, sprinkles.

After cookie baking we went outside to play in the snow a bit. It had warmed up just enough for the snow to be fairly wet, which was perfect for snowman construction. Last year we attempted one when it was far too dry and ended up with a horizontal snow person, but this year we nailed it.

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Tonight Vivi insisted that we remove the hat because Olaf (from Frozen) doesn’t wear a hat (or a scarf, but I kept it anyway).

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This afternoon we took the kids downtown to see Santa, which isn’t something that I ever thought that I would do. Kristin has fond memories of the magic of visiting Santa, but strangely I seem to have none at all. I honestly don’t know if it’s something we even did as kids (but we probably did?). This particular element of Christmas isn’t one that I like to emphasize for the kids, but peer influence has taken over and it is what it is, and I’ve always agreed to let that magic run its course as it may (but without a great deal of additional theatrics or maintenance). Kristin expressed interest in taking them, and Jude had even written in his letter to Santa that he wanted to meet him, so I could hardly disappoint a two-year-old.

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I wasn’t at all sure how it would go. I’ve seen more photos of crying, terrified children on Santa’s lap than I’ve seen happy ones, and it wouldn’t be unusual for at least some of our kids to change their minds about it once the opportunity was in front of them. At least in our case it didn’t cost anything besides the time spent in line (thanks, Downtown Kalamazoo!). When we first rounded the corner and Santa was in sight, Jonah immediately said that he’d changed his mind; he didn’t want to go. I convinced him to join us in line and watch Jude and Vivienne and he seemed fine with that.

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Jude and Vivi seemed fascinated immediately. They waited in line for awhile before planting themselves on a bench where they had a clear view of every child who visited Santa, and were rapt with attention. To my surprise, as we got closer to the front of the line Jonah changed course again and decided that he did want to visit Santa. He said that he would stand to the side, and I was truly shocked to see him do it so comfortably. Vivi was singularly interested in making sure that Santa appreciated her tutu choice for the day. She ran up and began chattering immediately, and Santa was sure to tell us that we ought to be concerned about her shyness.

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At the start of the weekend we took the kids for a drive to see Christmas lights. I turned the twins’ car seats around to face forward because it seemed like a perfect occasion (and believe me, the work of moving car seats is way more worth it when you get to see their amazement at the brand new view of holiday lights). At some point, Jonah said from the back seat, “When it’s close to a holiday my heart turns into a smiley face.” So does mine, buddy.

We’re headed into the final week of school before the holiday break and I’m excited to do more wrapping, a little more crafting, and a lot more soaking in the season.

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