BUT....WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!
This Christmas season has been the BEST! I knew that this time was going to be different when we brought out our first decoration.....Ethan's little Christmas tree. He was SOOOOO excited! He LOVED the lights on it....he kept turning off the lights in the living room, and saying, "Oooooo! Look at the beautiful lights!" Then, he would turn the lights back on and energetically inform us that it was now sunny! LOL! I then pulled out a bunch of plastic candy canes, and I showed him how to hang them on his tree. He thought that was so much fun....and he hung the rest of the candy canes all by himself....and then the rest of our ornaments. That night, my hope was restored.....maybe we could do a little more this Christmas than we did last year? So, because of last year's difficult Christmas season, we have gone a little over-the-top this year...and we are ALL enjoying every minute of it!!!! These are some of my favorite things that we have been able to do this Christmas season....Ethan's Christmas gifts to me.....
|Building with Daddy|
1. Being able to participate in group Christmas activities - I have already talked about Breakfast at the Manger as well as Ethan's church Christmas program. However, his AMAZING school held 2 different events that the parents were able to attend with their child....and I was privileged to attend both of them! One Friday, the entire school participated in a Winter-Themed Activity Day. It was AWESOME, and so well planned out...which of course I love. We started out in the gym & participated in different stations at our leisure. Ethan first started by wanting to play with the big building blocks. This was my first GIFT from Ethan. When we went to Easter Seals, one of the questions they asked us....and we had been asked many times before by other professionals....was "How many blocks can he stack?" A developmental milestone....to which my response was.......I don't know. He would NEVER want to stack/play blocks with me. So, when he said, "Mommy to play blocks with you"......I really had to fight back tears. It was the perfect gift.
|Ethan & I doing a cake walk...standing right next to the music!|
|Ethan getting the hang of the parachute game|
2. Visiting Santa - Next, we left the gym & moved into the classrooms.....where we did a craft, had a snack, and saw Santa Claus. Did you catch that?! We saw SANTA!!!!!! And Ethan was sooo excited....he kept giggling. In fact, he didn't wait for Santa to call him up to see him....Ethan just went right on up! Santa's belt buckle said "SANTA", so of course Ethan loved that....since he can READ!....amazing. He also like the big basket of candy canes that Santa had.....he even tried to sneak an extra one! LOVE!!!!! Another GIFT!!!!!!!
|Ethan eating a gingerbread cookie|
4. Crafts - As part of our 25 Days of Christmas, we made our gift bags this year. I love crafting, and one of my favorite things to do with Ethan is make a craft using his little hand. I have done several hand print gifts over the last couple of years, but this year we painted his hand green & place it upside down on the natural colored gift bag. When it dried, we added a star on top (I glued & Ethan placed the star), and we colored a brown base....making it into a Christmas tree. What was this gift? Every time I do a hand print craft with Ethan, he has a difficult time. He didn't like the "messiness" of it....and he gets that from me. He would also keep his hands closed, so we could only do a few at a time....a little bit each day. THIS TIME!? I did hand-over-hand with him on the first one, then he pulled his hand away from me & said, "Ethan do it?".....WHAT!? I was sooooooooooo excited! And he did a GREAT job! All I did was put the gift bag in front of him, but he did the rest! YEA!!!!!!!! GIFT!!!!!!!!!!!!
|Brown Sugar Vanilla Body Scrub|
|Ethan's room & his Christmas decorations|
Over the last couple of months, I have really noticed big changes in Ethan. He is present. And he is present this Christmas. He is becoming aware of others, and not only himself. He is learning about Christmas & our beliefs/traditions, and not just playing with toys all alone. He is looking outside the window at the Christmas lights, singing Christmas songs, and participating in activities. And my heart is so full of joy. Ethan is doing so well, and that is the best gift for this proud mama.