Saturday, December 23, 2006


When youngest son Max was a wee pup, much like the age of his niece Grace Helen (here with Candace), he loved the game of Hungry Hungry Hippos. It had been a Christmas gift from Santa.

His friends would come over to spend time. On most of their visits Tommy, Damon, Loren, Chris and Max would all take turns pounding on the Hungry Hippo levers to see who would end up with the most marbles in their cups.

When I saw the new and improved version of Hungry Hippos on the shelf of Target I couldn't resist but place it in my shopping cart.

The three of us often play games together. Cooperation, sportsmanship, dexterity, critical thinking skills - all stressed to Grace during game playing.

Grace delights in winning. I delight in losing when we play Hungry Hippos. "I lose! I lost!! I'm a loser, I'm a loser!", I chant.

Grace looks at me like I'm nuts and her look tells me that she's thinking that Papa has another screw loose. Keep 'em guessing, I always say.

For Christmas this year Grace has asked Santa for a mermaid make-up set . . . is it Arial, the cartoon character that this set is named after? How can mermaids keep their make-up on as they swim the high seas? One more thing to wonder about.

This is the first Christmas that Grace knows exactly what's going on. Her excitement is intense as she waits for Christmas Day.

When we visited with Grace yesterday the first words out of her mouth were, "Only three more sleeps until Santa comes!"Oh to be four years old again and to be able to take in the sheer magic of the season.

On the other hand, Grace has been taught well about the reason for the season. She can tell you all about the nativity scene we have next to the Christmas tree. Last year Grace would often kidnap Baby Jesus, spiriting away the figurine to her bedroom for closer inspection. She'd walk around the house cradling and singing to the Baby Jesus. When Grace went home the hunt would be on to find the missing figurine. We'd find the missing BabyJesus in the darnest of places.

Sitting here and blogging in my pajamas is not getting anything done this morning. There's more shopping to do, more people to bump into who block the aisles of the department stores who shop with their finger in their ear.

'Tis the season.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States