Cliff was asked by Josh’s preschool teacher to be Santa at their Christmas party. Cliff agreed, and kept it a secret from Josh.

On Friday, Cliff dropped off Josh at preschool, then later went back in a Santa suite. All the kids, including Josh, took a turn sitting on Santa’s lap telling Santa their Christmas wish.

That evening, Josh was still very excited that Santa came to their preschool. He said Santa was very kind and very nice, to which Cliff and I smirked. This is such a great age to believe in the magic of Christmas!


Day 16/365 {blur}

I know it has been a little quiet here.  We just got back from spending a week in Whistler as a family to relax and welcome the new year.  I have some catching up to do with editing and posting my 365 project images.  I promise to get them all up to date by the end of the weekend.

Here is day 16, what a Christmas tree would look like in the Whistler village after a few drinks.

Angela Chang Photography Day 16 of 365

Elf on the shelf, Part I

For my friends who are not on Facebook (you know who you are, Itti), you have not seen all the stuff that our elf has been up to for the month of December.  So I’m posting them here for you.

The elf is supposed to sit on a shelf, watch the kids, and report the kids’ behavior to Santa.  In our case, we just tell Joshua that the elf is here to hang out for the month of December, and it gets into things at night.  Every night we put the elf into position, and Joshua gets to look for him in the morning.  So far it has been lots of fun.  We might make this an annual tradition.

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Ok, Christmas does not actually stink

After waking up to poop everywhere and pee on the carpet, the rest of Christmas Day was actually a fun day.  At this age, Joshua does not yet understand where the presents come from or the quantity of presents he received.  He was quite happy after opening his first present.  I handed him another, and he was quite happy after that one.  I handed him another one, then he started losing his mind.  I think he’s wondering when this is going to stop.  At the end of opening presents, he was so wired he barely knew what to do with himself.  He was buried under a pile of all sorts of construction vehicle toys.

Savanna mostly sat quietly in the bouncy chair, watching all the action.  Joshua helped her open her presents, and she was content just being in the middle of it all.

We were hosting my brother’s family for brunch.  I had a sausage and asparagus strata and a blueberry baked French toast in the fridge I made the night before, ready to go in the oven.  Out of all the days of the year, our oven chose to break that morning.  Luckily our neighbors were home, and they kindly let us use their oven to make the food to feed my brother’s family.

The boys played for hours together and watched a movie.  By the time they left, Joshua was completely exhausted and fell asleep in record time.

We went to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner.  She has a huge house in East Vancouver with a ton of room for Joshua to run.  Sam adores my mother-in-law because she always prepares a piece of chicken breast for him to eat every time he is there.  My mother-in-law held Savanna so we can all sit down and enjoy a dinner with my brother-in-law’s family.  That was a treat.  After dinner, Joshua and his cousin watched some Dora, got into a little fight, but ended the night peacefully playing toys together.

The best part of Christmas is being with family.  The best present I received this year is healthy baby girl in my arms.  There’s nothing else I could have asked for to make me any happier.

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Why Christmas morning stinks

I vaguely remember hearing Joshua waking up around 7 am today.  I had just finished feeding Savanna 10 minutes before that, so I was totally sleepy and groggy.  I poked Cliff, asking him to go check on Joshua.  He grunted in acknowledgement.  I fell back asleep.

When I woke up again, it was 8 am.  Cliff was sound asleep beside me.  I can hear rustling in the living room.  My mind was trying to make sense of what’s going on.  Did Cliff go check on Joshua and take him to the potty?  What’s that noise in the living room?

I got up and went to the living room.  There was Joshua, standing on his high chair, the top half of his body on the dining room table, reaching for the plate of cookies for Santa, with chocolate already smeared all over his face.  Last night, we had taken a bite of a cookie and put it back on the plate, pretending that Santa took that bite, so we can show it to Joshua in the morning.  But it was too late.  He already ate that half eating cookie by the time I saw him.

He turned around and saw me, and he wasn’t quite sure if he was in trouble.  He said, “Mommy?” with a question mark at the end.  I wasn’t mad at him.  I was about to say, hey, did you see Santa took a bite of the cookie you made?  But as I walked closer to him, I smelled something pretty foul.

My brain was still in first gear, trying to warm up.  What is that smell?

As if Joshua read my mind, he said, “I made a mess”.  He would say that if he has had a potty accident.

It turned out that he had pooped and peed in his pants.  What I smelled was, um, you know…his poop.  I have no idea how long ago he pooped.  It was all over his backside, down his legs, and everywhere inside his pyjama pants.  Obviously when I poked Cliff at 7 am, he grunted and fell back asleep as well.  Neither of us had taken Joshua to the potty.  So I woke up Cliff and gave him a piece of my mind because I am unreasonable like that.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Our place stinks on Christmas morning.  Literally.

Christmas traditions

I’ve been looking forward to Christmas since August.  August!  Seriously.  Work has been so stressful this past year, so I just mentally find things I can look forward to outside of work.  Other than Savanna’s arrival, I mostly looked forward to Christmas.

I didn’t grow up with a ton of Christmas traditions, because it wasn’t a celebrated holiday in Taiwan.  Although I’ve always loved the Christmas congee on Christmas eve.  Some years my mom would put up a tree, but for some reason it wasn’t very exciting for me to decorate a tree.  I think mainly my laziness overshadowed the fun.  I mean, really, you pull out a gazillion pieces of ornaments, put them on a tree, and a couple of weeks later you put them back in the box.  That sounds a lot like doing laundry.

When it was just Cliff and I, we didn’t bother much with trees or decorations or presents either.  But somehow having kids changed my perspective.  We go through the trouble of getting a tree, decorating it, and putting presents under the tree.  Just seeing how excited Joshua got with the Christmas lights makes all the trouble worth it.  Every morning he demands for the lights to be turned on, and he’ll literally stand there enjoing it for a few moments before he attacks his toys.

Joshua is now old enough to also understand the idea of presents.  He knows that if he rips the wrapping paper off a box, there’s something new and exciting waiting for him inside.  He knows that he’s going to be eating some of those chocolate chip cookies we’re making for Santa.  He also knows that his cousins are coming over for brunch on Christmas day, and that just means crazy fun for him.

I am excited about creating Christmas traditions of our own for our kids.  Tonight Joshua and I made chocolate chip cookies for Santa.  Of course he got to lick the dough and eat one cookie (and I helped him eat the rest of the 3 dozen we made).  I hope to continue this tradition in the future, and look forward to having Savanna join in the fun when she is old enough.

I think Joshua and I both look forward to the dough more than the cookies.

I think Joshua and I both look forward to the dough more than the cookies.

Mmm, cookie.

Mmm, cookie.

What?  Santa gets THREE?

What? Santa gets THREE?

I have been taking pictures of Joshua and I reflected in a tree ornament.  I was scratching my head about what to do with Savanna at this young age, and finally decided that we’ll play a “where is Waldo type of game” with her in a picture.  She was totally a great sport about it too!

Where is Savanna?

Where is Savanna?

I’m excited about tomorrow, seeing Joshua’s reaction to all the presents he’s getting.  I’m excited about having brunch with my brother’s family, and having dinner with Cliff’s family. In the back of my mind, though, I kind of wish I belonged to a church family too.  It feels a bit lonely without a church family to talk to about the most important part of Christmas–Jesus–the whole reason for the celebration.  Anyway, it’s late and I’m wiped, so I’m not getting into a big long post about that tonight.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Hope you all enjoy time with your family and friends.

Annual Christmas ornament picture

The year Joshua was born, I took a picture of myself and him reflected in a silver ornament.  The next year, I thought it would be cool to do the same thing.  This year, it has become sort of a tradition.

As long as we still have some of these glass balls survive the two kids (so far Joshua has only broken one), I think I’ll keep taking these pictures every year.

Joshua's first Christmas.

Joshua’s first Christmas.

Second Christmas.

Second Christmas.

Third Christmas.

Third Christmas.

Christmas week

Here’s a quick update on how our week has been.  We had Cliff’s family over for lunch on Christmas day, and my family over for dinner in the same evening.  It was a day full of food and fun with the family.  Having very few family members on the same continent makes me appreciate it more when I see them.  For the rest of the week, we are having a number of get togethers with friends.  It’s a non-stop week-long party!

Cliff bought me a set of Bodum coffee cups I wanted, and I got him an iPad2.  Joshua got the Pewi bike which he really enjoys, and some new books he couldn’t stop flipping through.

Tonight I felt a little sad when we put away the Christmas stockings and ornaments.  I’m sure Joshua is not impressed with us putting away his favorite–the lights.  I explained to him that we’ll bring out those lights again next year, but he held onto the strand of lights for dear life.

In the food pictures below, here are the sources of the recipes: