12 days of Christmas with a 2-year-old and 5-year-old

12 days of Christmas with a 2-year-old and 5-year-old
Annual pilgrimage to Lincoln Park Conservatory with my Mom

"In the eyes of children we find the joy of Christmas. In their hearts we find its meaning." The Irish author Leland Thomas spoke those wise words.

My boys help me savor the simple joys of the season...

On the first day of Christmas, I remember a lifetime of special Christmas Eve celebrations thanks to my parents. Family and friends surrounded us over the years. We looked forward to midnight mass and tamales for a late night snack. As our family grew, the crowd evolved. There are more little ones today. We gather around the Christmas tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my parents' values ground me. They showered us with love and saved for our education. Christmas gifts were never fancy. We try and focus on giving more for others. We try to share our time to help. We admire the brights lights of the season everywhere.

On the third day of Christmas, there is song. Our boys perform. My husband helps with the melody and lyrics. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer also diverts a meltdown while we drive in traffic. I am eager to hear my husband sing Silent Night at church in the choir. We'll sing at my parents' this Christmas Eve, too.

On the fourth day of Christmas, we dance. The little guy moves are hilarious. My husband reminds our oldest to smile as he enacts the Rocking around the Christmas Tree choreographed from class. The boys cheer, "Mommy, dance!"

On the fifth day of Christmas, there are friends. My heart was full of happiness when I overheard our oldest tell his little brother, "I'll always be your friend." That's especially reassuring as there's been some talk about not being friends... Yes, little boys have time outs. Adults and kids reconnect with kindred spirits.

On the sixth day of Christmas, there are cousins. Our boys sing, "Declan the halls with boughs of hall," in honor of their baby cousin. They are thrilled to play with their cousin Anna. It's a bonus to look forward to a 2016 Christmas celebration with their cousins in Milwaukee.

On the seveth day of Christmas, there is Santa. Our boys look out the window for Santa as we drive. They inspect our fireplace to make sure it's safe for Santa.

On the eighth day of Christmas, we pray. We respect friends of every belief and faith or not. Our family home is full of so many nativity sets with the Holy Family, the boys try to count how many baby Jesus statues they can find. I pray for patience to enjoy our sweet chaos.

On the ninth day of Christmas, we practice gratitude. We are grateful for family, parents, friends, good health, careers, smart co-workers, our United States of America, our safe schools and so much more. There are hate crimes, but we hope and work toward a more peaceful tomorrow.

On the tenth day of Christmas, we play. The boys play for hours with their legos, super heroes and other treasures. They use their imagination to create their own stories.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, we embrace animals in our hearts. Our oldest has an imaginary cat named Whiskers. Our almost three-year-old has a pretend dog named Ace. They suggested I get a dog. My invisible dog is named Brogan, which is is my Grandma Gillespie's maiden name. We discuss how we walk our pets and clean up after them. They're the best pets ever!

On the twelth day of Christmas, we listen and read. We await Christmas Eve when my Dad will read Twas the Night Before Christmas to the kids. We review our library of holiday books in addition to new gifts.

How do your 12 days of Christmas look?

We wish you a Merry Christmas! XO

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