Christmas Karricatures

 I’m sitting here in our cozy, unfinished, NYC apartment, Christmas lights and tree sparkling all around me.  Graysen turned the Christmas lights on (and off and on and off and on), and though he is now in bed, I am enjoying the memory of his joy at flicking the switch.  Ted is off at his new job with world renowned architect Robert A.M. Stern.  I just finished a Don Borling sermon from All Saints Lutheran Church, so I am in a contemplative, philosophical place. 

 How well I remember all the preparations for Christmas at our house growing up.  Everything was so magical and ritualistic…we picked out the tree together, Dad and Jim would always do the lights, Mom, Ilene and I did the decorating…well mostly Ilene and I…well mostly me…Ilene would always do the manger scene in the kitchen window.  My Mom made cookies, upon cookies and we all made peppernuts or “bloop” cookies together.  They were renamed “bloop” cookies for the sound my Dad made when putting them on the cookie sheet.  I remember one year, during this ritual, it snowed a whole bunch, maybe 4 or 5 inches.  It was a school night, but at 9:00 p.m., my parents decided we should go sledding.  We bundled up and piled into the car and headed over to a forest preserve that had a huge hill.  There, in the moonlight, on a school night, we sledded until after 11:00 p.m.

 I have always carried on the memories of my childhood in my own little way here in NYC, but now that Graysen is in our life, everything seems more resonant.  We went to our regular sidewalk vendor who comes down annually from Canada and paid way too much for a Christmas tree.  Graysen couldn’t believe we had a tree in the house!  We decorated the tree together, although Graysen spent most of the time taking ornaments off the tree.  “Ball” he kept saying.  I guess I never realized how many ornaments are actually balls!  One of our favorite traditions is the Mardi Gras beads saved from our wedding that we put on the tree instead of tinsel.  Graysen has created his own ritual – daily – of taking beads off, wearing them around the house and putting them back on the tree.  There is actually a section of the tree near the bottom that no longer has ornaments or beads because Graysen keeps taking them off. 

 I wanted to make Christmas cookies, but the only cookie cutter I could find was a pig. So, we made Christmas piggies and Graysen shook the sugar, green and red, on to each piggy.  These piggies have a lot more sugar that cookie, as you can well imagine, some even have little fingerprints.  Those are my favorites.

 We went to see Santa Claus at Bergdorf Goodman’s – the ritziest department store on Fifth Avenue.  They take appointments and Santa has a real beard!  Real or not, Graysen wasn’t interested in sitting on Santa’s lap.  He wasn’t interested in sitting on my lap on Santa’s lap!  We all had a good laugh, Ted, me and Santa—everyone except Graysen!

 We took in the model train show and the Rockefeller tree with about a million other visitors.  The wind had all the flags around the skating rink standing at attention, red, green and gold – stunning!  New York is such an amazing city!

I think, I hope, I will remember this Christmas the way I remember Christmas as a kid.  I will remember this whole year that way. Graysen’s first steps, his first words, the inflection in his voice when he says “Mama” or “Dada” (it’s different from other words, I promise).  I wonder, is this how every parent feels those first few years?  Does it last longer than that?  When does what your kid does get to be ordinary?

 I think about my grandmother, Mimi, she was always telling us stories about my Mom as a kid.  Bedstemor, too, had her stories.  We knew them so well, we could recite them word for word.  Now, I know why they told them. 

The crazy thing is, Graysen won’t remember this year at all.  I guess that must mean that there are more amazing years to come for him to remember.  Or, Ted and I will just have to tell him the stories of this amazing year.  We will tell Graysen the stories, but we will just list the highlights here: 

v      Ted graduated with a BA in Architecture from Columbia on Graysen’s Birthday

v      Graysen turned one – now 19 months!

v      Karri was promoted to Director of the Columbia College Fund

v      Graysen took  his first steps – now running!

v      Ted & Karri directed Danebod Camp in August

v      Graysen said his first words – “Bye-eeeee” and “Wow” are current favorites!

v      Ted started with Robert A.M. Stern Architects this fall

v      The Ketelsens visited in September

v      Graysen says “Moo” for the cow

v      Found a new home for Nisse in September

v      The Quartemonts visited in October

v      Graysen learns to say “Memily”

v      Ted & Graysen visited Grandma Sara, Daddy Tom and the Youngbloods in Kentucky in November

v      Spent Thanksgiving with the Jenmans in DC

v      Visited Karen & Jim in DC, too

v      Graysen discovered airplanes at the new Air & Space Museum

v      Mom & Dad made several trips to NYC

v      Graysen says “Fa Fa”

v      Looking forward to Christmas in Palos Park and New Year’s in Florida

It truly has been a remarkable year.  We look forward to creating new stories in 2006 – hopefully with all of you!

 Happy New Year!












  Karri, Ted, Graysen & Tucker

for Information email  loripvp@gmail.com

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