A New Year

Let me preface the best and funniest events of the last two weeks: One – it looks like I’m going to finish the regular season football pool in third place! That means I win money! That means that gambling to support my family IS a viable option. As soon as I get my winnings, I’m headed to Foxwoods… Two – after twenty years of using the name “chavallama” as my email address (and more recently, as the url for this blog) I was recently informed it means “call girl” in Spanish. I’m still laughing my ass off over that one. Call girl forever!

Anyway, the holidays. They always come and go so quickly. I had so much fun getting the house ready this year – I think I’m slowly going to turn into one of those people who starts decorating on Thanksgiving. We’ll see.

Ophelia with the sticker for the tree stand, pointing at Matt’s festive drink – “why can’t I have one of those?”
Hey wait a minute? What’s this?



Who can’t love this time of the year. Emerson got almost everything she asked for – which wasn’t much. I feel blessed to still have a daughter who has no idea about the mass consumerism of Christmas, and who is happy with only a few presents. She asked for some new dress-up clothes, as hers got ruined in our mold situation this past summer. Thus her Christmas outifit…

and her outfits for days later…

Emerson also asked for a headlamp, which she was fascinated with on our camping trip. Ophelia was fascinated too.

Emerson’s self-proclaimed favorite gift was her embroidery hoop, which she has been asking for all year, and which cost all of five dollars – materials and all. Ahhh – simplicity.

And the concentrating face…
The final thing Emerson asked for was a plastic baby doll with no hair, whose eyes open and closed. Her best friend has one, and it is the much coveted item every time they play. She has a doll with long hair, but in her words, “she is a toddler. I want a baby like Ophelia.” I was a little hesitant about getting a plastic doll, as we’ve been fostering the love for cloth dolls in our home, so I decided to compromise, and got her a cloth doll that could pass for a younger baby. Ophelia also loves babies, so I got her a heavy baby and left it unwrapped under the tree. Emerson saw it right away and asked to hold it. She showed it to Ophelia, who loved it.

and continued to unwrap presents, sure to find “her baby.”

Well… Emerson’s baby turned out to be a disappointment. Both to her and to Matt’s dad, who bought her. Her she is playing with it the one time she did that day.
Emerson immediately claimed Ophelia’s baby as her own. And that was that for the day.

Luckily, Ophelia has no idea who gets what. She spent most of her day tracking the headlamp, and turning up the volume and dancing in front of our new record player.

and stealing the baby too…
I went through mixed emotions that day. And there was a piece of me that wanted to go out and buy a plastic doll right away to make her happy. She asked for so little, I could at least give her that. But now I’ve decided to just let it sit for a while. Emerson has never taken to dolls right away, and now we have a lot of them in the house for both the girls to chose from. Emerson didn’t get everything she wanted, but when she went to bed that night, she said to me, “Santa must have thought I was really nice this year, because he gave me, like, a million presents.” I’ll have to remember that when she’s 14. It’s hard to not give her exactly what she wants, but I also think it’s an important lesson for her to learn. If she continues to want a plastic, no-haired baby, I’ll give her one for her birthday. Waiting for things she wants is a good lesson too.

And although the past few Christmases I’ve felt joy in watching Emerson open her gifts, this year I actually was thrilled with my gifts. Aside from the record player, my mom gave the entire family a three month membership to the YMCA. So I will be spending the winter swimming laps and doing yoga – for free! The most awesome gift ever.

Christmas is so awesome – even more for the build up than the day. I love watching my kids happy, bringing Em to her first Nutcracker performance, all the decorating and anticipation. It’s great.

Here is one last photo of Ophelia with her favorite gifts.

But the fun didn’t end there! The next week we left for Philadelphia to ring in the New Year, and it was full of fun for everyone. Emerson stayed up until 2am New Year’s Eve – holy shit – but most importantly it was just awesome to get away and see good friends. It’s a great way to start the New Year.

Emerson had a sleep over with her friend.
Ophelia found a New Year baby,

and a friend her size.She’s so cute!

Party girls.




Luna’s Michael Jackson dance routine – he lives!
The ball drops…
The New Year baby makes its rounds,


Laughter,Dancing,



Making noise in the streets.

And a new year is here.

And what is better on New Year’s Day than a Mummer parade,



and a new favorite game.

Sigh. I’m going to bed.

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