The holidays are so magical in the eyes of a child. Madeleine was so precious the whole month of December. She couldn't wait to decorate the tree in her playroom. She elated in telling Santa what she wanted for Christmas (this was done at some distance, even though she insisted on stopping every place she saw him). We saw Santa the first week of December in an outdoor shopping center in Alabama. We met up with him as he was walking on the sidewalk. I think this was her first cognizant run-in with "the man". I was a little bit excited and went on and on about how great it was to see Santa out in town. I think this got her prepared for our future encounters. She would see him in the mall, at WalMart and most amazingly our driveway on a big red fire truck. Apparently the Escambia Fire Department does some PR work with Santa in tow. We were sitting down to lunch when I hear the alarms of a fire truck and police car screaming down our road. We live at the end of a street that has no outlet to the main road, so we rarely get traffic that isn't our direct neighbors. I immediately think that Joe and Bobby, our sweet elderly neighbors, are in distress. Matthew runs to the window and I ask if the neighbor's home is on fire. He was so funny and just said, "It's Santa"!! I swooped up Madeleine and ran outside. Sure enough, it was Santa, waving and throwing candy and stuffed dolls. The fire chief leading the brigade threw dog treats to our dog Jolie, who had by then joined us in the front yard. This was just wonderful, like something out of a great holiday movie. We were in the yard waving and talking with all the neighbors and children who had joined us to cheer Santa on.
My mom came and took Madeleine to her house in The Woodlands for a week. It was a very lonesome week during the day, but I was able to study for finals and have some date nights out with Matthew.
We joined Madeleine in Texas the weekend preceding Christmas for the "4 Christmas and 1 New Years shuffle". We spent time with my grandparents, my mom, Matthew's parents and my dad. It was a wonderful Christmas and we got more than we deserve, I'm sure. Madeleine and I both got the chance to make some cookies with our grandmothers. We had some great family days. We went ice skating for her first time and then we went out for dinner and ice cream!
We spent Christmas Eve with Matthew's parents. We went to mass together and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Grandma Rita and Papa Ron then helped Madeleine prepare cookies and milk for Santa. It was so cute to watch Madeleine tell Grandma what to write and how good she'd been all year.
Madeleine was so much fun this year with her gifts. She understood about Santa and the gifts and Jesus' birthday. I'm glad we videotaped the Christmas morning, because some of her reactions were hysterical. Her favorite gift, the one she was most excited about, was "Dora panties!!!!!!!" in her stocking. After opening Santa gifts, we took Madeleine back to Grandma and Papa Ron's house to celebrate with them. Santa enjoyed the cookies and milk from Madeleine and even left her a note in return.
We spent the days surrounding New Year's at my sister's (who is my godmother) house in Lafayette. It was nice to laugh so hard and eat so well. Madeleine really loves her cousins, especially Blake. They have been best buds since birth and they are only 4 months apart in age. Nanny Trudi and Aunt Kim got new puppies for Christmas! They were so precious, but we were glad to leave them there.
When we returned home, Madeleine began having hives. We ended up at the ER one day with her and she thought it was the best time yet. She was so cute with the gloves and wanting to learn all about the machines in the room.
We are looking forward to Matthew's completion of Primary sometime this month. At the completion we will know what type of plane he will be on and where our next move will be.
This is sure to be an exciting year ahead and I promise to be good and update you all more regularly with our antics. We hope all of our loved ones have a truly blessed year.