Thursday, January 8, 2015

presenting the presents! (version Rowie.0)

I...may have mentioned here and there that money is tight now that I'm quite unemployed. To get by, we've halted all non-emergent house updates (as well as some slightly-emergent ones...sorry, bathroom sink), committed ourselves to free or low-cost date nights (more on those another time!), and scaled wayyy back on our food and clothing budgets, among other things. Thankfully, I was able to get through the Christmas season with my wallet relatively intact - mostly thanks to the gifts I chose for my two most important peeps: J.J. and Rowan.

Let's start with Rowan. So, being honest here: She's one. Barely one. Her concept of Santa Claus is limited to two things: "What does Santa say?" to which she responds with an adorably slow and low-toned ho... ho...ho, and avoiding the strange dude in red at the mall. Also, we had four different Christmas-present-opening family events aside from Christmas morning itself, during which she was lovingly spoiled rotten. Meaning: She did not "need" any presents from Santa or her parents. 

I successfully resisted the lure (harder than I thought!) of purchasing presents for her in a couple different ways. First, I put together an Amazon wish list for her and sent it, by request, to her aunts and uncles. It was perfect - they wanted to get her something that was appropriate and desired, and I still felt like I got to pick out some new toys for her. She got a bunch of stuff from the list, as well as other great gifts: a sled, a bunch of awesome art supplies, Melissa & Doug activity boards, a toddler-sized soft chair, new books and clothes, and - her favorite - two new baby dolls. They've nearly replaced Bunny as her nighttime lovey, which is a Big Freakin' Deal.

I'm not ready for Bunny to be replaced...but, also, come on. Rowan & Baby are HOLDING HANDS.

The other way I avoided spending money on presents for Rowan this year was by shopping...in our basement. The basement has become a cluttered warehouse for all sorts of crap - all things laundry, exercise, and DIY, along with all not-currently-in-use baby toys, baby furniture, and baby clothes. IT IS A SHIT-TON OF SHIT. Hidden amongst the piles was an enormous box of pretend food and dishes from family friends of ours...as well as an old (circa 1987-ish) Little Tikes kitchen that my friend's parents gave to us when I was pregnant and they happened to be downsizing. Score! I scrubbed everything down and perched the play kitchen by the tree for Christmas morning.

It was a. huge. hit.

Totally spent Christmas morning right here, cooking breakfast for [Original] Baby.

And THIS happened, which pretty much made our Christmas. And life. Poor little modern baby doesn't understand non-mobile phones (sorry it's blurry):

I know it's sort of trite to say, but having a child around really does make Christmas just a totally different experience...in the most wonderful way possible. And while it was fun to watch Rowan get excited about every single one of her presents from her thoughtful and generous family members, it was (GROWN-UP ALERT) even more fun to incorporate her into our traditions. We decorated the tree together, we drove around to look at Christmas lights, she got to see cousins and aunts and uncles from far away, and she got to eat her first pizza at J.J.'s mom's annual Christmas Eve pizza-making party. Considering that pizza is one of J.J.'s main food groups - and that this is his favorite Christmas tradition - well, watching the two of them spread sauce and sprinkle cheese made my heart grow three sizes for sure.

I'll be back with a tutorial on the canvas quote I made for J.J., including what I'll do differently next time. Cheers to cheap-o Christmases!

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