Holiday fun

We’ve been doing our best to make the most of the holiday season. How fun it is to have a 2-year-old this year! Christmas is so magical for a child that age… and it’s the littest things that make the most difference. For example, Patrick’s been glued to the Christmas lights we hung on our house since the night we put them up. Now, given, we have some very cool lights this year – LED color changing icicles… He watches them and smiles whenever he sees them.

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Hiding ornaments behind the toybox

He loves the tree, too.. especially the ornaments.. and I’m finding that my investment in Ikea’s unbreakable ornaments has been a blessing because then he can take them off and carry them around without worrying me, and then we put new hooks on and hang them back up. (One disclaimer – they do break if you push a full toybox into them repeatedly.)

Of course, we took him to the Festival of Trees again this year. Last year, this really was a test of his patience. But this year, he loved the trees – especially the tree covered in Elmo dolls, and any tree with cars or trains under it.  He wasn’t so happy that we made him stay in his stroller so we couldn’t play with the toys in the displays and did his best to sweet talk someone else into taking him out.

We did our best to see Santa there, too… but we arrived as Santa went on break and by the time he’d made it through the crowd (giving hugs and candy canes along the way) we’d run out of time.

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Waiting to (NOT) see Santa

After weeks of snow, we had some unseasonably nice weather last week. Monday night I realized that it was probably the warmest evening we’d get all year. So, I called Brian at work and we decided to seize the opportunity to see some Christmas lights.

I made some taco soup and we picnicked in Daddy’s cubicle. For the record, soup is Patrick’s current favorite food. We stick to clear, mild broths. I’m not sure it’s the best thing for his tummy, but it he loves it and there are worse things for him, and so I let him have it from time to time. He makes a little sipping sound to ask for it and will eat until there isn’t a drop left.

After eating, we bundled up. I made a little tube warmer for Patrick because if the fluid in the IV’s gets cold on the way into his body, Patrick gets chilled really quickly. It takes about 5 minutes to do the 10 feet of velcro, but it seems to work. Then we added coat and hat and gloves. Patrick was more than happy to stay bundled and warm.

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Bundled and ready to go

We’ve got a zoo pass, so Patrick is familiar with the zoo… but looked a bit confused when we arrived there after dark.

And then, when we walked in and saw the lights, his eyes got big and he grinned from ear to ear!

 

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Posing with some of the lights (the little grey thing by his back is end of the tube warmer)

They had a really impressive display. Lots of lights everywhere, including full habitat scenes. And, where possible, we were able to walk in and see some real animals… mostly fast asleep. The leopard was sleeping sprawled in plain sight, but woke up to give us all a nasty look for interrupting his rest. And did you know that monkeys sleep all in a pile in the top of a tree?

Afterwards, we stopped in the gift shop to pick and ornament for our tree and let Patrick pick out a stuffed animal, too, that he’ll get on Christmas.

The next night, we finally got to see Santa. HopeKids had a big Christmas party for the kids. So big, in fact, that it took 3 sessions to accomodate everyone and there was still a huge crowd.

Meeting Santa- First Impressions

Meeting Santa- First Impressions

If I haven’t explained it before, HopeKids is an organization that plans free activities for kids with terminal illnesses. The idea is that if you have something to look forward to, then you have something to hope for and something to live for.

Well, we can’t really explain plans to Patrick. However, he’s beginning to understand one thing… the HopeKids shirt means fun is coming. I went to get him ready to go and pulled out two choices – a Christmas shirt because I knew photos would be taken… or the HopeKids shirt. Patrick caught one glimpse of the shirt and started to beg to wear it. When I tried just putting the Christmas shirt on him, he melted into tears.

 

This is what happens when mom says "No, stay there a little bit longer"

This is what happens when mom says “No, stay there a little bit longer”

Finally, I conceded and let him wear both. Which made him happy enough until that night when it was time for PJ’s and he fell apart again because I made him take it off… he carried it with him the rest of the night.

Why so much fuss about a shirt? Because Patrick knows that if we get out our HopeKids shirts… especially if we all wear them… that something really fun is about to happen.

This time, it came in the form of the biggest and most kid centered Christmas party I’ve ever seen. There were photographers, of course… and Christmas presents. (They let the kids pick their own… Patrick picked a fire truck). There was a magician and a juggler and pizza and so very, very many crafts.

Patrick looks pretty unhappy to see Santa in the picture we took. I think that’s cuz we put him on Santa’s lap and then made him stay there while we took pictures. As the night wore on, Santa came back a few times and each time, Patrick was less nervous. By the end, Santa could come get a high 5 or a pound on the fist and even a little grin.

Amazingly, Patrick even enjoyed the show. Usually he’s pretty unhappy when crowds laugh or applaud, but this time, he clapped and pretended to laugh right with everyone else, though I’m not sure that he really could see what we were all laughing at.

There’s still more Christmas fun to be had. We are almost caught up with shopping and half done wrapping presents. We’ve baked our goodies and visited the neighbors. Tomorrow is Patrick’s last appointment for the rest of the month… We had a busy couple of weeks trying to fit everyone in before offices closed for the holidays. But I’m hoping now it will be worth it as we have nothing left to do but play and enjoy the family and the holiday.

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