I also spent a fair amount of time at the sewing machine this December. I made those big cushions on the left hand side of the tree-- complete with piping. (That's unchartered territory for me!) Jude and Elie love them and, as I suspected, they work beautifully for story time or as implements of destruction.
Speaking of Jude and Elie, they had quite an accidental meeting with "Santa Claus" in the YMCA parking lot a few weeks ago. There is an older man who works out when I do. He has long white hair, a white beard, and a big belly. He also appears to be of Mediterranean origin with olive skin and a thick accent. As we were approaching our car, he was standing next to his minivan wearing a Santa hat. Upon seeing him, Jude and Elie gasped in delight, yelled "Oh Santa. We love you!" and then went on to ask the guy if he was going to bring them underpants for Christmas since they had been good girls. The poor guy looked slightly uncomfortable but played along with them.
And, lo and behold, look who got underpants in her stocking:
Jude looks a wee bit afraid of those underpants though.
We also were very busy at school. I signed up to be the classroom mom and as a result my husband got signed up to be the surprise Santa Claus at the end of the kids' Polar Express holiday party. Here are all the kindergarteners (and a couple of twin turtles) riding their train:
And here is Santa:
The kids loved it. Vivi thought it was hysterical that her Dad was Santa. Jude and Elie believed he was the real thing. That my friends must be a Christmas miracle.