Though the tree has been put away and the twinkle lights are down, we still have a bit of the Christmas spirit  in our hearts.  This Christmas was a special one for us as it was the first time that Nate opened two packages (two!!!) and understood that there was something in them.  Prior to this, Nate had an aversion to the sound of or the look of paper being torn. (We’re not sure which….) We still wrapped birthday and Christmas gifts up but Chad and I always wound up opening them for Nate. This year, Nate took care of a few for us! :)

To start at the beginning…. Nate has taken great interest in writing.  He will ask anyone and everyone to write anything in a yellow highlighter so he can trace your letters.  Nate’s been going for weekly rehearsals at his dentist’s office in hopes of working up to a cleaning without sedation. In December, the dental practice gave $1 to Make a Wish, which was matched by the Macy’s Foundation, for any child’s note to Santa that was deposited in their special mailbox.  So I crafted this letter, Nate traced it and put it in the box during one of our visits.  He promptly wanted to take the letter back but I distracted him with his weekly reward of a balloon.

Letter to Santa

When I grew up, we always had real trees.  In Hawaii, there’s only one or two shipments of them, so everyone races to get a tree as soon as they’re off the boat.  Unfortunately, this means that your tree is often dry by the time December 25th rolls around and needles are everywhere.  Before Nate was born, Chad and I had live trees but, after his birth, we were pretty fearful that Nate would eat the needles.  We scored this awesome fake tree from somewhere on clearance for less than $20.  It’s done us well over these five years and my favorite part is that it’s already lit!  This picture was snapped right after Santa Claus (and Santa Paws) left.


Santa brings one item for every child in the house.  Pete got a water fountain and Nate got….


…a new basketball hoop!  Santa brought Nate one a few years ago but now Nate’s the same height as the basket.  This one’s a bit more challenging and way more fun!

Shopping has become impossible with Nate lately.  He has memorized the exact locations of his favorite foods.  If we go to Target, we must stop by the Skinny Cow cone freezer and the Goldfish end cap and the aisle with cinnamon raisin English muffins.  It became even worse at Christmas time.  Target decided to put Imaginext City as a prominently displayed end cap item.  Nate has the Imaginext Castle and he loves it; when the City went on sale in October, Chad and I bought it and put it in a hiding place to save for Christmas.  We had an inkling Nate would like it but apparently he loves it because, when we rolled past the item, he freaked out and made Chad taken him out of the cart.

Before the Storm

After admiring the City for about five minutes (it does have a clock on it, after all), we explained it was time to go.  Nate explained we could go but only if we could take the City with us.  This resulted in the Meltdown of the Century.  It was one of those where the whole store stops and stares and is pretty sure you’re kidnapping a child.  When we finally got in the car, Nate and I debated if we should give him the toy when we got home or wait until Christmas.  Thankfully, Nate forgot all about it (but I couldn’t shop at Target for the rest of December with Nate) and he got the gift on Christmas day.


To put it mildly, it was a hit.  It was even more of a winner because Nate’s champion fan, Jill, surprised us by giving him two of the figurines that interact with the City.  The police officer and medic and their vehicles make the City say new phrases, set off alarms and alerts.

But the biggest hit of the holiday?  Daniel Tiger’s Transformation Treehouse. (And, PS, it’s way overpriced on Amazon.  We scored it for $20.) Daniel Tiger is a new show on PBS.  It’s a cartoon of what happens in the Land of Make Believe on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.  Nate loves the show (though Curious George remains his favorite) and we picked it up.  Knowing that Nate’s Mam sends money, we allocated this toy to her Christmas funding.  Turns out, Mam gave the best gift of them all!

Daniel Tiger MontageThe coolest part about Nate’s love of this toy is that he’d never seen it before.  Usually he needs to be around a toy for a week or two before he starts playing with it.  It has to become familiar, part of the background, before it’s welcomed in to the family.  Not this toy.  It looked familiar because it’s so similar to the show.  And Nate’s pal Emma (who’s a growing, talking toddler now!) gave Nate all of the the friends so Daniel Tiger, Miss Elaina, Katerina Kitty Kat, Prince Wednesday, and O the Owl were instantly put to use in this toy that transforms from a treehouse to a bedroom to outer space.

I also scored some Melissa and Doug Town Blocks on a great sale and, together with the Daniel Tiger Treehouse and Imaginext City, we turned a corner of our living room into Imagination Station!

Imagination Station

Nate’s doing a great job with pretend play.  He also likes to keep the Town Blocks in a perfect straight line.

Super Grandpa also sends Nate some spending money so we picked up this awesome 40-pound bean bag, perfect for jumping, crashing, and relaxing!


Nate also gave us some pretty special gifts.  His school has a shopping fair; we send Nate to school with money and a list of people to buy for and his teachers help him shop and wrap gifts.  From the fair, I got a cocktail ring (for all those dates Chad and I have) and a sparkle scarf; Chad got an MVP (Most Valuable Person) baseball, which Nate autographed; and Mam got two rings–a cocktail one and one with the cross (everyone needs church jewelry), a decorative bucket, and a compact mirror that said “Wise Granny.”  According to Nate’s teachers, Nate was adamant that he purchase that compact for Mam.  He knows his Mammy’s a smart woman!!!

With the help of Ms. Susie and the gang, Nate also made us a special gift that we’ll hang on our walls each Christmas.


Come on.  How cute is that!?!

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that 2014 brings you all things good.  Stay tuned for our next post….there’s a lot of potty training going on over here….