Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas was low key and relaxing around the Sweet-Chavez household this year. Simone was excited about and also scared of Santa Claus. Every time a phone rang she thought it was Santa checking up on her. She got some very nice presents, one of which is this sweater/dress from grandma Sweet:

The day after Chrismas, we went to Ashevile in the western part of the state for the first time. It was nice to see snow and mountains again. Our original plan was to stay in a house for two days in the mountains, but there was too much snow to make it there so we stayed at a hotel near West Asheville instead. We ate at a few good restaurants and bought a nice print of a painting/collage made by a local artist at Early Girl, a very good breakfast restaurant. Here's Simone at two different locations in downtown Asheville:

On Christmas Eve, I put out luminarias, which are very typical of New Mexico. I don't think many people in Durham have seen them before, so hopefully the neighbors enjoyed seeing these:

Simone is wearing her Santa hat in that one.

Papa and Simone are off to Albuquerque together early next month, so we'll have a bunch of new photos after that trip to post. I can't wait to have more green chile and see the family!

Happy New Year!!!

Typical Two's

Simone is racing towards her 2nd birthday - 26 days and counting - and the Typical, sometimes Terrible, Two's are in full effect. This morning while Mama and Papa were embroiled in a discussion about healthcare reform, there was an ominous silence from Simone. Searching the house, we found one guilty looking toddler standing next to the toilet and the toilet jammed full of Kleenex and about to overflow. She had been happily transferring them from the Kleenex dispenser to the bowl and flushing away merrily - until she saw our faces. Her mouth immediately quivered and she burst into tears, throwing herself into my arms. It's hard to mete out punishment when the person to be punished is in footie pyjamas and crying like her heart will break. We've instituted the Naughty Chair (an old booster seat in the corner of her room) but when we threaten it she chirps "Naughty Chair?" and skips happily to it.

She also suddenly cares if what she is wearing is "pwetty" and will ask for bracelets and necklaces from my dresser, and believe me, this isn't something I've been pushing. And yesterday morning I heard a mysterious clomping from upstairs and took the camera to find out the source of the noise. This is what I found:
And here she is, admiring herself in the mirror:

We've been having lots of fun with our Advent Activities this year - my brother gave me a German Advent calendar, with little pouches for each day. We made a list of 24 things we wanted to do this Christmas season, cut them up and put them randomly in the bags. Each day we draw a slip of paper and do our activity. Sometimes it is as simple as baking a batch of Ginger Krinkles and sometimes it takes a little more planning - like ice skating, which we're saving to do this Sunday. Instead of being stressful, it's been a nice, relaxed way to check all the fun and Must Do's off of our list. I think this will be a permanent Christmas tradition, and hopefully some happy memories for Simone.
We'll update post-Christmas and share the fun!

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