Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Like always, Zoe woke up at about 6 this morning and shook me awake. Once I remembered that it was Christmas, I was wide awake.
Our parents door was closed though, and they had told us last night that they didn't want to be woken up before 7. Zoe and I decided that we'd just go downstairs and look at everything until Mom and Dad woke up.
I ran down the stairs in my excitement, still in my pjs.

We don't have a real fireplace - just a woodstove, so that's where we hang our stockings. My mom told us that Santa has to come through the front door instead of coming down the chimney.

It was really hard to wait for an entire hour for our parents to wake up, but we did it. The moment that they came downstairs, Zoe and I ran over to see what was inside our stockings.

Zoe got a sock monkey with a green scarf and reindeer antlers, a stuffed black dog, a candy cane, and five pieces of saltwater taffy. I got a sock monkey dressed as an angel - she even had wings and a wand! - a stuffed brown dog, a hair bow shaped like a butterfly, a candy cane, and some saltwater taffy.

My parents always go for a run in the mornings, so Zoe and I had to entertain ourselves for another hour while we waited for them to do that. Then we had to endure breakfast - homemade Belgian waffles with blueberries, our family's tradition - and then finally, finally, we could open the presents under the tree! Zoe and I gave Mom and Dad the presents we had made for them, and then set to opening our own.

I picked up the little silver bag at the base of the pile first; it was addressed to both Zoe and me.

Inside was both a black and a purple scarf, made by Grandma! They were so soft; I had to put mine on.

The next box I picked up was addressed to me. It was from American Girl; I was pretty sure it was clothes.
Well, it was clothes, but they weren't bad! There was a velvety blue leotard and a skirt to match, and black warm up pants and a gray top. I love dancing, figure skating, and gymnastics, and I could use the leotard for all three!

The best part?
New figure skates! I needed a new pair; last year's pair was too small.

The next box was addressed to Zoe. She bent over to pick it up.

It was clothes again, but Zoe didn't seem to mind. It was a winter outfit; black tights, furry boots, a white headband, white long-sleeved shirt, and a red quilted vest. Cute!

The next box in that pile was mine again.

Cool! Mom had gotten me a winter outfit too! This was much more my style, though; a pink coat with a furry hood and a pair of pretty gray boots with pink ribbon!

Then it was Zoe's turn again.

A basketball hoop and a new basketball! This was the kind of hoop that you could hang on the wall in your room. I wasn't too sure I liked that idea, but Zoe seemed to.

The next two presents were identically, perfectly wrapped. They were from our grandmother on my dad's side, who I don't like very much. It's not that she's not nice; she is, but she's just so stiff, and her house is like a museum - it's beautiful, cold, and you can't touch anything. Besides, she doesn't ever give us very good presents - normally she sends us books that we've never heard of and would never want to read.
So we were both surprised when we opened the boxes to find...

A notebook and colored pencils for me - since I like to write - and a paint set for Zoe - since she likes to draw!

Finally, it was time to open the big box in the corner.

Again, full of clothes, but nice clothes! Mom had bought all of them from All Dolled Up - an online doll clothes store. The woman who makes them is really amazing!
The first thing I pulled out was a pretty sleeveless white shirt with flowers at the collar and a white skirt with pink, purple, and green flowers on it.

Zoe pulled out some jeans and a pair of capris next.

Underneath that, there was a blue-and-gray dress and a blue polka-dot shirt!

There were only two things left in the box; shoes! Black knee-high converse for Zoe and furry gray UGGs for me.

Zoe let out a cry as I was admiring my boots. I looked out the window to see that it was snowing - the first snow of the season! We hurriedly got out of our pajamas and into our new winter clothes to go play in it.

It was so beautiful! Mom says we probably won't get enough to go sledding - we're only supposed to get a couple of inches - but I don't mind. Sometimes a dusting of snow can be even prettier than a couple of feet.
Zoe ran out to the middle of the driveway and pretended that she was skiing. I just stood in one place and watched the snowflakes sift down.

Zoe came up behind me after a while - in a rare display of sisterly affection - and we just stood there for a while in complete silence. 

Of course, Zoe can only stand that way for so long, and soon we were in the middle of a colossal snowball fight. 

Mom called us in to lunch about an hour later, and when we had sufficiently dried off, told us that we had missed a package under the tree.
We went into the living room to see.

As I was bending down to open it, the box wriggled. I stepped back, my eyes wide.
"Come on, open it!" Zoe cried next to me. So I steeled myself and lifted up the lid.

And inside was - 

THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER FROM THE ANIMAL SHELTER! I couldn't believe that Mom had gotten her for us!
I picked her up in my arms and Zoe gave her nose a pat. 
"Let's call her Ginger; she's about that color," I said. Ginger barked. Mom laughed.
"I think she approves," she said.

I was really happy to get Ginger, but I still miss Shiloh. A lot. It's been almost a month, and I've pretty much given up hope that he'll ever come back. But Ginger's not a bad replacement.
Before I go, there's one more thing I want to say...
Merry Christmas to all! And to all, a good night!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Making Christmas Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve! Every year, we make a whole batch of sugar cookies on Christmas Eve, and this year was no exception. 
Mom made the dough and rolled it out while Zoe and I picked out the cookie cutters we wanted to use.

Zoe's favorites are the animal cookie cutters - we have an elephant, a giraffe, a monkey, a cheetah, a camel, a lion, a loon, and a rhino - but I like the generic Christmas trees and gingerbread families the best.

I started by cutting out a little gingerbread girl. I always have to make a full family, with a mom, a dad, a brother, and a sister. I hate eating them, though; I'm fine with eating trees and stars and hearts, but the gingerbread people look just too much like humans. Zoe knows this, and so tries to eat as many as she can right in front of me.

I set her down on the cookie sheet and went back to cutting out more cookies.

Mom put the first sheet in the oven after we had filled it and gave us another one. I think we ended up filling about four sheets, which is good - I love sugar cookies!

Once the first batch had come back out of the oven, we set to frosting them.

After the frosting had dried, we got to eat them! Of course, Zoe had already eaten at least an entire sheet, but she said there was always room for more cookies.

I can't believe Christmas is tomorrow! I'm so excited! Mom says every year that she's worried she won't get us enough presents, but every year she always piles the floor beneath the tree with mysterious packages. And this is just my pile! Zoe's is to the other side of the tree.

Merry Christmas Eve everybody! I'll try to post tomorrow during all the excitement!

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Tree!

We finally put up our Christmas tree today! It usually lives in the basement - it's fake; Mom thinks that real ones are too much hassle - among our boxes of ornaments and lights and tinsel and things like that. It's really big - at least twice as tall as I am! Zoe's glad for that; she says more presents can fit underneath!
Usually, Zoe and Mom help me decorate the tree, but Zoe was at hockey practice really late tonight and Mom was cooking dinner, so I did it myself.
I opened the box of glass balls first. It's our family's tradition to hang enough of these balls to cover about half of the tree, and then cover the remaining spaces with fun ornaments. I like the glass balls a lot - they're my favorite colors, and have polka dots! - but the fun ornaments are so much more, well, fun.
I sat down on the floor and picked up one of the ornaments. (Sorry for the bad lighting - our good camera was charging so I had to use the cheap one. It's not so great at taking pictures in the dark).

Then I started hanging them on the tree.
I finished that pretty quickly, but needed to call for help from Dad to hang the ornaments on the higher branches.
Next came my favorite part - opening the box of crazy ornaments!

I slid off the top...
In this box are two cookie ornaments, two chinese takeout boxes, two boxes of popcorn, two poptarts, two birthday cakes, a jingly pumpkin, and two strands of silver stars. Mom made them all out of polymer clay a couple of years ago (well, except for the pumpkin and the stars). Of course, in addition to these we also have the standard bells and angels and stars and things like that, but I like Mom's ornaments the best. Every year, when I open the box, it's like I'm being reunited with a group of friends that I had mostly forgotten about.
I think the takeout boxes are my favorite ones, but the cookies are a pretty close second.

I started hanging these ones on the tree. Mom put the dinner in the oven, and came in to help hang the rest of the ornaments.

We stood back to admire our handiwork after they had all been hung.

The last step was to turn on the lights. I plugged in the tree.

Zoe came home just as the tree lit up, and Mom turned off the lights in the kitchen so we could see better.
Zoe and I stood back to admire the tree, which looked very pretty in the dark with its colorful lights.

I'm so excited for Christmas! I already have ideas for presents for my family and friends. Mom got a big cardboard box in the mail the other day that she wouldn't let me look at, and I can't wait to figure out what's inside!
Do you celebrate Christmas? If not, what do you celebrate? What traditions do you have?

That's all for now! Thanks for reading!