day after hump day nuggets: holiday

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

We had an absolutely fabulous holiday. At the risk of sounding like a crazy, over-thinking mom, I have been on the fence about perpetuating the lie of santa. Not because I think it is silly or because I don’t like the mucking up of the christian day but because I was devastated when I learned the truth. I couldn’t believe my parents had been so dishonest with me. I was teary and speechless. And when going to bed that night after the day when I Learned, I quietly whispered through more tears, mom, what about the tooth fairy? I was devastated. It was just last year…har.

But Margot watched The Polar Express with her gram a few days before christmas and then proudly declared I Believe! whenever she saw santa or a bell. And it melted me and, so, santa came to our house on December 24 and we’ll deal with the psychological fallout later.

Andy and I stayed up late setting up the kitchen. Or, rather, I sat on the floor surrounded by painted, red chunks of wood and told hilarious stories with his mom while he used his drill and manly problem-solving skills to make that flat box of goods into a functional toddler dreamboat. It was great fun.

CSN stores is a dig sponsor and sent me this KidKraft kitchen in trade for a product review and, I am relieved that I can give this kitchen an enthusiastic two thumbs up. It is well made and effing adorable AND my kid LOVES it. The assembly was surprisingly a snap. Even my carpenter husband was impressed by how well thought-out the construction was.

The details kill me like the phone and the how all the knobs and handles move and allow a two year-old imagination to take off. She plays with it all the time. Santa Claus brought a kitchen for Margot Bea, she declares. And the best part for us is that we like to look at it which is very important for kid’s toys.

Margot especially likes to cook her baby buddah in the frying pan. Hi baby buddah she says quietly in a high high voice while cradling the pudgy pink dude in a miniature metal frying pan. I swear.

:: I didn’t get any of the making of stuff done for gifts. Well, I got one item made. Just one. A doll for my bug. Margot’s luke warm about her but she does have a spot on her bed next to elmo and ducky so I am hopeful. I think she’s cute even if Andy thinks she looks like an old lady.

She likes to burp her.

:: I love the holiday season for the friendship, merry making, gift giving, love spreading and tradition. I get to make up some traditions all on my own like the girl’s holiday book collection that will emerge for only one month every year and bacon butter brussels spouts salad. But then there are the perfect traditions of my family, that needn’t be changed like monkey bread.

Christmas Morning Monkey Bread

4 tubes of biscuits (do not even attempt to make the biscuits from scratch. the tube is non-negotiable)
2 1/8 c sugar
2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks of butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I ask someone I know and trust to open the tubes. I find the unpredictability to be frightening.

Using kitchen scissors, cut the biscuits into quarters. Coat the quarters in 2/3 c sugar and 1 t cinnamon.

Place coated biscuit chunks in oven-safe dish.

Melt butter over low heat on stove. Add remaining sugar and cinnamon and pour creamy goodness over biscuit chunk pile. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

There are two reasons I don’t have a photo of the finished monkey bread: #1 People ate it. #2 I put the pyrex dish on one gas burner and put the coffee on another and turned the coffee on high and at least five minutes later realized I had indeed burned the puhjesus out of the monkey bread.

:: Since we’ve been home from the hospital, I’ve had a hard time wanting to leave our cozy home. I enjoy company but the getting out isn’t my inclination. I know my strong need to socialize will return but, for now, I am allowing myself to decline tempting invitations, hole up with my family and heal. The hospital stay was rough on Ruby and I have been worried that her insecurity and fear of being put down for a diaper change would stick but it is already dissolving and, as of this week, she enjoys being put down to kick, grunt and take the world in. We have some catching up to do because of the break we had in constant holding and nurturing. We’re getting there and Ruby is teaching us.

Other holiday activities we participated in include:

:: making dough hearts

:: drawing cats, dogs and faces (Margot’s favorites)

:: drying milk mustaches

:: throwing of heavy balls down slippery lanes and the eating of fried food with my old co-workers

:: dancing and singing

:: holding

:: opening and not picking up

:: loving

:: making food

:: cheers-ing, at the insistence of bug

:: adoring Ruby Jane and the simultaneous bounding Margot Bea

And so the next time I write it will be the New Year. Wishing you all so much love in 2010.

38 Responses to day after hump day nuggets: holiday

  1. loving the doll you made for margot. i think she’s adorable! learning how to sew is at the top of my list for 2010. i have my grandma’s bernina. she’s all set up, i just have to find the time (and courage) to get started!

    so glad to hear of healing hearts! happy new year, nici …

  2. j.j. says:

    love all the pics and tid-bits nici ~ you all look so happy, content and full of life! much love now in for a wonderful 2010! xoxo

  3. Katie says:

    Oh Nici~that last photo of Andy and the girls’ made me tear up.
    I, too, had a few cringes this holiday playing up the Santa jive. Alas, it’s magical and so are our kiddos. When the day comes, I hope to soothe my boys’ with the explanation that Christmas is for Believing in all things and Santa is the spirit of the holiday. We’ll see…..
    So much love to you and your beautiful fam. Happy New Year! xoxo

  4. Melinda says:

    Monkey bread is a Christmas morning tradition for us too. But I include the even worse cream cheese and confectioner sugar icing, as if it isn’t sweet enough! So glad to see you at home enjoying your little ladies!

  5. booksNyarn says:

    I have seen too many posts about monkey bread lately. To think I have gone without its presence in my life for this long!

    My niblets are reaching the far edge of their believing – but Santa still left them a thank you note for the cookies this year. The joy I see on their faces is so worthwhile.

    Nici, there is such beauty in the simplicity you show us here on your blog. Thank you for your words, your thoughts, your life thrown out to the internet ether. As this Wheel turns, I have resolved to live an authentic life, and I find you an inspiration towards that goal.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Joan says:

    It was all that and more. Happy New Year Cline family, I love you all, Grammy

  7. Sage says:

    Oh the santa lie. I know, it is a hard one for me too, only because I don’t want her to be let down. But I am going with it and finding the magic in it is so much fun for both of us! This was a good christmas for us too, especially since I got to announce to family and friends that next aug or sept annica will be a big sister and we will welcome a new love into our lives. What a very long journey this has been for me, and now I am pinching myself at the reality of it.

    Your pictures and words continue to mean so much, and even more so since I see them as a “map” for traveling down a path filled with two kids and living a life of love, beauty, & simplicity. Happy New Year and so glad to see you all healing.

    P.s I totally see the need to stay in. I would too. xoxo

  8. Kelly says:

    That cheers’ing picture made me smile. Enjoy your beautiful family! ! Xoxo

  9. jen says:

    ah … we are a monkey bread family too. yum.
    and your gift … it really is on the way … i promise … but now … i’m wondering if i should include the bell that your mom sent to stella last christmas … i kind of hid it away thinking that margot would get to that age soon … and you might want it back in the family. that was so sweet of your mom last year … but i feel funny having it here … when it should be there. for your girly-girls.

  10. Maggie says:

    I too worried about the Santa aspect. Until one of the kids’ friends here in town needed a lift home and my kids got to see exactly his situation. They volunteered each one of their presents for him and I jumped on the opportunity – “We could play Santa for Jon. We’ll go shopping and you can secretly drop his present off.” It worked like a charm and now the girls are as excited to BE Santa as to be the recipitant (spelling) of Santa.

    LOVE the stove and I still have a Raggedy Ann that my mother made in radiation treatment. The love grows.

  11. Kelle says:

    Glad you went with Santa. When I found out, I didn’t tell my parents because I realized how special it was for them to make it magical for us, and I think I always looked at it as love… How hard they worked to create this neat story that created magic…that eventually just gets transferred to other sorts of magic once santas gone. The pics eminate so much love. Hold away that ruby Jane. Xoxo

  12. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t mind finding out about Santa, but the Tooth Fairy & Easter Bunny crushed me.

    We told our girls that mall Santas are stand-ins because the real Santa is too busy getting ready. Then, Santa only leaves one present for each person, the big one. He has his own wrapping paper and everything. My older daughter 100% believed until she was 8 and ignored the teasing at school. At 9 she declared Santa was us and then a week before Christmas panicked and asked if she could believe again. We said of course, because Santa is like magic and who doesn’t love magic? A few months later she said she didn’t believe but she loved the magic and wanted to continue it for her little sister. Little sis is now 8 and 100% believes, ignoring the teasing at school. I’ll be sad when she stops, but we’re leaving it up to her when she’s ready. Magic gets harder to come by when you get older!!

  13. Conny says:

    What an awesomley love-filled post! Thanks for sharing your year with us. It’s good to be home. :>)

  14. Happy Happy New Year to your whole family. I know that 2010 has some wonderful things in store for you and your family!


  15. Catherine says:

    Your blog is such a treat to read. I feel exactly the same about Santa and felt devastated as you were when I found out. It was easy to not talk about him when we lived in the Yukon, near Alaska, 6 000 km away from family and at least 2 000 km from civilization, but now that grandma and the whole wild world in at our doorstep, it’s much harder to keep him at bay. We have tried to down play it as much as possible, at the risk of being party poopers (did Santa put that CD in your stocking, mama? No, honey, it was papa…), but the girls did leave a carrot out and cookie and milk for him. However, since we have lots of festival in the Waldorf pedagogy, I hope the coca-cola guy blends in with the rest (St-Nick, the fairies, the St-Pat’s leprechaun, and others).

  16. Amy says:

    Hah! Opening those stupid biscuit tubes freaks me out, too! But no one in my family is willing to humor me, they just look at me like I’m off my rocker when I hold it at arms length and start cringing the moment I start peeling. Glad to know someone out there shares my crazy.

    Happy New Year! And cheers! (for Bug)

  17. Tammy B says:

    ok, I’ve never made the monkey bread – but now I think I just might have to try it. Looks fabulous!

    I love Margot’s new kitchen. And I just love those big eye’s on Miss Ruby.

    Happy New Year!

  18. Britta says:

    Happy New Year! May it be filled with happiness and health.

    You are a gifted writer and photographer and mother. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m so glad you let us have glimpses into your life. It gives me support in subtle ways (we’re the only baby co-sleeper we know personally, etc.). You spur my creative side and in little ways help me be a better mom and woman.

    Thank you.

  19. Theresa says:

    very sweet blog

  20. Caroline says:

    I’ve got a great way to answer the Santa is/isn’t real question, while maintaining the magic. If you’re interested. Lemme know. Love you!


  21. Heidi says:

    merry christmas! glad santa made it to your house this year! love your photos…they always feel so real and in the moment.

    the doll you made for bug is adorable. loving the long stripey legs. monkey bread sounds divine and i want some and that little ruby is beauiful…like her sis!

    holing up with family is the BEST! enjoy.

  22. cjs says:

    smiling…feeling it all.

    I hear your point on the santa thing…though I was never devastated…just endeared to my parents that they went to that much work for so long without any credit…I am thankful they instilled such magic and wonder into our world and hope I never lose it.

    I believe :)

  23. TRB Holt says:

    Nici, what a wonderful holiday this turned out to be! All the photos, in that perfect light of a Christmas tree, are beautiful and bring back fond memories. I remember many a Christmas Eve trying to be a good elf and put together the anxiously awaited toys. ONE of the good things about believing in Santa is that if something didn’t work, on Christmas morn, you always had someone to blame!

    Margot….a stunning red kitchen! I’ll take a grilled cheese and a cup of Buddha stew please. You melted my heart last night when you said, “Happy New Year Grammy”, & later, “Good night Grammy”….the PERFECT end to 2009! I can’t wait to see what surprises you have in store for me this year! I love you a bushel and a peck!

    Ruby Pie, what can I say, you ARE this year’s Christmas and 2009 all rolled into one! I agree with you mama, none of us wanted to, nor did, put you down….I have to say if I was still there I probably still wouldn’t…….nothing better that being surrounded by my TWO granddaughters and your mama and papa! ( Alice, Sam and Olive too!). No I have not forgotten about the outdoor gals.

    Well my sweet Montana family, here is to a healthy, love filled, prosperous and breath taking 2010….I love you all

    XOXO, Mom/Grammy

  24. Melissa says:

    Happy 2010. It’s going to be a great year . . . here’s to healing and health and staying in until it feels good to go out.

    What a beautiful family! I love the way newborns stare! And am amazed at Margot’s growing beauty–inside and out. It’s such a fun age, isn’t it?


  25. Sage says:

    just came back to get the recipe for monkey bread as we are going to give it go tonight… and had to take another gander at your cuites and saw the clippy in margot’s hair. I missed it the first time around! So cute! fits her to a tee like I knew it would. xoxo

  26. What wonderful times!! Love the red kitchen, so cute. I too am scared of the popping biscuit containers!! Santa is real I swear!!! Happy New Year

  27. anne c says:

    Now that we’ve gotten through our first Christmas with the kids ‘knowing,’ they both agree that they are glad we played Santa for as long as we did for them; that they would much rather have experienced the magic and wonder than not. They’ve always known the mall Santa (or in our case, Christmas Stroll Santa) was a stand-in, since Grampa was one – we called him Grampa Claus. They are both interested in perpetuating the magic for their friends and relatives. Overall, I’d say you’re doing the right thing by going with what feels right. With Santa AND with the darn biscuit rolls!
    Happy New Year, you beautiful people!

  28. Nici! WOW! I cannot believe the life you have created for yourself. I’m so amazed. Its wonderful! I’m very very new to blogging and might seek your advice on it sometime soon. You’ve seem to got it down pat. (And I LOVE your husband’s paintings!)

    Happy New Year!!

  29. Dakota says:

    This is embarrassing to admit, but I believe in Santa right up through high school – until my mother admitted that a well-timed “Santa” appearance was actually my father. The part about him not actually leaving presents I figured out pretty early on though – it was the Santa “spirit” that I believed in – and ironically I got annoyed when things were addressed “from Santa,” because I knew darn well who the material gifts were from. Of course, I’ve got my own weird brand of spirituality, so believing in all that doesn’t, and never has, seemed weird to me. In my house I’m playing the “Santa spirit” card, and when my munchkin gets old enough to ask I’ll just tell him/her that there IS a Santa, but his gifts are the nice-feeling, generosity-inducing type.

    On the material front… that play kitchen is nothing short of awesome.

  30. Erin O. says:

    So glad that your holidays were happy. Here’s to a peaceful 2010. Go get ’em Dig.

  31. Tammy B says:

    Well, just had to let you know, the monkey bread was indeed as fabulous as it looked. My family loved it. And you know what made it even better? Some leftover, homemade buttercream frosting (from the cookie decorating!). Now, tell me about that brisket recipe I saw in your book. We’ve really been wanting to try a brisket, it’s on the list of things to make :)

  32. Laura F. says:

    Ever since I came across this post, I have bookmarked it, waiting for a time to try the monkey bread recipe. And that time came this weekend for brunch. It was FABULOUS!!!! I had one question… can you make it ahead of time? I want to have this ready for Christmas morning so I just have to pop it in the oven but I was not sure if it would work out well if I got it ready the night before. Thanks! Happy holidays!!

  33. I know this is an old post…but I wanted to share how the whole believing in Santa thing has worked in our house. My kids are 13 and 15 now and I still have not admitted that the Santa thing isn’t real. Of course they know…but as they started to ask and heard things at school I would just smile and say “when you stop believing Santa quits coming”… they would smile back and another year would go by. It sitll works that way…if they don’t believe he doesn’t come, and of course they don’t want that to happen… This, for my kids, has been a way for them to express that they know it is me without having to give up the magic of Santa coming. I hope that wasn’t too confusing…and gives you another approach to something that IS so magical and fun while they are little.

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