Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This is the first year that we have spent our Christmas vacation in Brookings with Misha (For the past two years we have gone to Colorado). Decorating our own house, playing holiday music, putting up the tree and stacking presents beneath it, and making all kinds of holiday goodies proved to make a very warm, cozy Christmas indeed. With my parents in town, piles of snow on the ground, and my sister Tanya and her husband home to visit, Misha has really enjoyed the full experience of Christmas.

Christmas morning was very exciting - once Misha realized it was Christmas. Like every other morning, he crawled lazily into our bed to snuggle. We said "Merry Christmas, Misha!" and he didn't seem to register. We finally asked, "Do you think Santa brought you some toys?" He looked doubtful, then he asked, "Is it Christmas?" We said, "Yes!" And then his eyes popped open and he ran for the stairs. "My robot!" he screeched, clomping up the stairs to see the robot from Grandma Kate and Santa. At the top of the stairs he saw his stocking with his old "We wish you a merry Christmas"-singing chipmunk from Grandma Kate last year in it, and he said, "This is not a present." I told him I thought Santa put batteries in it for him so it would sing again. At that, he grabbed the chipmunk out and pushed the button and began singing along happily to the music. Then he saw his basketball hoop-and-return collapsible catcher, and we played with that a bit. Just as he announced that he had to pee, he saw his robot out of the corner of his eye. It was bright red and sitting between the tree and the basketball. "Ah! It's my robot!" All thoughts of a bathroom break were forgotten and he cooed over his robot, saying, "I like him! He's my cool robot! No, he's not a cool robot - he's a super robot! How do I turn him on?"

So then he had to play robot for almost an hour, figuring out the remote, and watching him roam around on "auto-pilot," which is fun because you just watch him roll around and talk without bumping into things. He says lots of funny things, like, "This floor needs vacuuming!" and if he falls over, he says, "I'm seeing things from a whole new perspective." He has a lot of programs/games that are too hard for Misha, but he does have a few things that are easy and fun. His "guard" setting will guard a space and start whooping an alarm whenever something (Misha) runs in front of him. Misha always jumps at the sound and then laughs and does it again. Finally he went to the bathroom and played robot some more.

When my parents, Tanya, and Aaron came over, we started opening presents from under the tree. Misha is not much for keeping secrets; as he handed Aaron a present, he declared, "It's an airplane." Oops. Then, when he gave Aaron a very flat present later, Aaron asked, "Is this an airplane too?" Misha responded, "Yes, it's a flat airplane." Aaron unwrapped it to find, indeed, a flat helicopter that had to be assembled. Oh well!

Aaron, Tanya, Misha, and Josh experiment with the Lincoln Logs on Christmas Day. Misha loves anything to do with building!

In past years, Misha has been more interested in ripping open box after box than at looking at what was actually inside. This year, however, he has taken a much greater interest in the toys themselves - upon opening his new markers, he had to stop and get paper and draw for a good while. Same with the finger paints, the play-dough, the maracas, the Cootie game, the Lincoln Logs, his new books, and his treasure rocks and gems. At least he was appreciating them! That way, opening presents was an all day affair, some at our house, some at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Here are some more pictures to enjoy:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Meeting Santa

Misha got to meet Santa this year, when he came to Lewis with two of his reindeer. Misha was so excited. I thought he would be a little too shy to go up and sit on Santa's lap, but he had no reservations. He went right up, told him he wanted a robot, and sat on his lap with a big grin for the photo. As he walked away, he told Daddy, "Now I'm going to get TWO robots - one from Grandma Kate, and one from Santa!" (I told him that Grandma and Santa are going to work together and get him one extra-cool robot, and he seemed ok with that.) He also liked watching the reindeer outside, even though they were in a cage. They were chomping on hay and eating snow.

We got a whole envelope full of little wrapped gifts with bows and ribbons and the works from Grandma Kate. Misha said they were from Santa, and we said, "But Grandma Kate sent them to you." Unphased, he reasoned, "Santa came to Grandma Kate's and gave her all the presents, and Grandma Kate gives them to me!"

We bought a little fake tree and decorated it with homemade ornaments that we made out of dough, baked, and painted. Misha loved the whole process, patiently painting with such concentration and being so careful to not dip his brush into more than one color at a time. I was very impressed.

Christmas music now fills our house almost all the time - Misha rushes to blast Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, or Frosty the Snowman, or Jingle Bells, or We Wish You a Merry Christmas. He dances around the room and sings along to all the songs as best he can, making up the lyrics if he doesn't know them. He's quite a performer.

My parents took him out to Oakwood State Park for a drive and a walk a few weeks ago on a not-too-cold day. We walked around a little island/peninsula on a trail. Once Misha saw the trail, there was no stopping him. For some reason, whenever he sees a trail, his only instinct is to follow it as fast as he can. Grandma was not sure she was up for such a fast-paced walk, but I told her she was just lucky the trail made a loop! On the way, we saw deer tracks and turkey tracks in the snow and mud, and Grandpa had his binoculars to look for birds.