8 Crazy Nights – All Wrapped Up

i know chanukah ended almost a week ago – but with clean-up and a blog that needed back-end attention (hahaha) and a trip to chicago to prepare for (and now return from…oops), i’m just getting around to recapping now.  i have to say, i’m so glad i did some prep work this year – it was nice to have a plan for each night and to not be scrambling to figure out a way to make the celebration special and meaningful.  EBN seemed to love every minute of it, from the candle lights to her first bites of brisket to reading ELMO’S LITTLE DREIDEL each and every night before bed – i think she’s a fan.

night 1: i need that!…a friend hosted a family dinner and it was a great way to kick off the celebrating.  we lit candles and did a white elephant gift exchange (true to the theme of the night, i received a travel coffee mug – very excited!). EBN received a new shipment of diapers from amazon and ABN received a pair of new pajama pants – turns out, pacifica mornings are a bit chilly

night 2: name that tune…this time, we hosted a friend for dinner.  i served apricot chicken along with the applesauce and some out-of-the-box latkes.  we also drank wine.  but before dinner, EBN and i had an awesome dance party.  we grooved to a few chanukah classics as well as well as a bit of gaga and some raffi for good measure.  best of all, EBN was gifted with a small boombox for her bedroom which means that i no longer need to sing her all the way to sleep (i’m not giving up my lullaby career completely!).

night 3: books are for reading, not eating…we had family story time and EBN got a brand new book from mama and daddy and one from her nani and grandpa as well.  my parents recorded themselves reading good night moon and when you turn the pages, you hear their voices.  while i found the book terrifying, EBN was way more interested in hitting the “record” button than listening to the story so we quickly put that gift away and will save it for when she’s just a bit older

night 4: kehliah kadoshah…okay so this night was our only major chanukah fail.  we had planned on going to family services but it turns out that both of the synagogues close to us had held their chanukah celebrations the week before.  it’s probably for the best considering i was in the middle of my weaning melt-down.  instead of sitting in services i drank a lot of wine and ABN and i watched the first 4 episodes of season 2 of friday night lights – it helped

night 5: nom nom nom…we ate our huge holiday meal featuring brisket, carrot souffle and roasted veggies.

and EBN opened her gift from her nani and grandpa – a coco of her very own.  she’s sorta been in a state of bliss ever since.

night 6: heal the world, celebrating you…it started by lighting the chanukah candles, putting the wee one to bed and opening a bottle of wine – a big red…the way really good nights often start.  as we drank our wine we wrote notes to the people who have helped make our lives a little easier this year – the mail carrier, the trash and recycle guys, the cleaners and the garage attendants at ABN’s office.  we wrote short notes and put fresh, crisp, $20 bills into clean, white envelopes.  then we got down to the dirty work – deciding where we wanted to make end of the year donations.  after a bunch of back and forth and feverously waiting for websites to load, we settled on 3 organizations: one local, one jewish and one focused on breast cancer research.  we were looking for organizations to support that would really feel the impact from our donation.  we’re really excited about the work of these organizations and inspired by the difference that they make to the world that we live in.

night 7: because i love you…okay, this is where we get serious.  tonight was the night you would receive the gift that you had been lusting after (and might not even know it).  EBN got a laptop of her very own:

ABN received a small piece of inspiring art (as wel as a MUCH bigger gift that isn’t going to be ready until jan 9…sorta fail on my part…but sometimes we must wait for what we really desire.  and ABN gifted me with tickets to hear sarah vowell speak live in march.  so excited.  i love her.

and finally, night 8: shalom bayit…oh my god we were so ready for chanukah to be over.  8 nights is a long freaking time, hence, the miracle.  but we had to go out on top and so i finally found cushions for our kitchen chairs.  makes dining so much more delightful.  and while EBN’s room is still curtain-less, she did get mama-made bean bags of her very own.  how does this fit into shalom bayit you maybe asking?  well, EBN really likes to throw things down on our antique, wood coffee table and most of the things she tosses have hard or sharp edges that tend to chip this very special table.  the bean bags can be thrown every which way and there are no consquences.

so another chanukah has come on and gone.  2011 was for sure a celebration to remember, one full of new family traditions.  don’t worry, i’m already getting started collecting ideas for next year.

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