A Delightful Decade

Five of Hearts turned 10 on Christmas Day! As her parents it has been without contest the best decade of our lives. We have felt so privileged to watch our little Christmas baby grow, learn, and create while bringing compassion and joy to the lives of those around her. Every year our family feels so fortunate to be infused with her enthusiasm for the Holiday Season. Our decorations shine brighter, our cookies taste sweeter, and our carols sound spectacular thanks to her vast holiday spirit.

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Last year Five of Hearts celebrated her birthday with a very refined tea party the day after Christmas. This year she was feeling a bit bonkers and decided to have a Mad Hatter Tea Party, which we all agree is much more fun! To start the day we created five very zany hats to help us get into character.

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It didn’t take long to get into the spirit of the party and soon the hysterical laughter and insane jokes were flying around the room. Luckily that was all that went flying and we managed to keep from flinging tea cups at the walls and each other in imitation of the beloved March Hare.

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Throughout the party we feasted on hot cocoa, vegan fondue with an assortment of lovely treats to dip, and for the grand finale a coconut cream pie. Five of Hearts was delighted to find that she liked the newest movie remake of Alice Through the Looking Glass and we were all happy to relax by the fire and cuddle up with our favorite 10 year-old.

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Lucca Holiday Potpourri

 

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While Christmas has come and gone here in Lucca, there are still plenty of reminders: holiday lights still span the streets, and our Christmas tree ornaments still hang on our lovely tree pictured above. In the spirit of prolonging that Christmas magic for a little while longer, we wanted to share both our holiday highlights of spending Christmas in Lucca as well as our annual Christmas poem.

 

What was your favorite part about having Christmas in Lucca?

Five of Hearts: Of course I liked Santa coming, presents, stockings, the Christmas tree, decorations, and most of all family. But I really liked getting to check out all the new Christmas things (like the lights and the decorations and watching the ice skaters in Lucca).

Five Ball: I liked when we played Labyrinth as a family.

High Five: I loved when I ate all the dates and Mom told Nana about it, that I ate my brother’s dates. [Parental Note: Let’s hope this doesn’t become a pattern; stealing his brother’s dates in the future will likely lead to high tempers and broken hearts.]

Five Spice: My favorite part was our Christmas tree. We all had a blast making and hanging ornaments together, and the fact that our tree was a lamp made it super easy to light up without having to fuss over finding that one burned-out bulb in the string.

Five String: I loved listening to the church bells as they chimed on Christmas Eve with a special holiday vigor.

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Lucca, Midwinter

Walking backwards on the wall,

Against the flow of feet and time.

The season heeds the church bells’ call,

In tune with carols sung in rhyme.

Piles of leaves have ended fall;

Winter floats on breath that climbs.

Lights are strung across the street

Pavement sings with booted feet

As window shoppers make the beat,

Hot chocolate keeps the skaters warm

To carousels the children swarm

As Santa grins in local form.

 

Another lap, the lights all fade,

Candles glow in drafty rooms.

Roasted swans in pans are laid,

As silent fall the heavy looms.

Children laugh while lutes are played,

Feet on wooden platforms boom.

On Christmas Eve the twelve nights start

In trees are apples, red and tart

The Mass of Christ, a solemn heart,

Which soon gives way to revelry

As gifts are passed from old to wee

Like Magi on Epiphany.

 

Around again, on roads traversed,

By sandals marching out from Rome.

It’s Saturnalia, roles reversed,

With public feasts and gifts at home.

The first are last, the last are first,

Decree the gods beneath the dome.

Masters cleaning out the stable

Servants at the master’s table

Eating all that they are able,

Saffron cakes with honey sheen

Poets capturing the scene

The lares and sprigs of evergreen.

 

A stream of Latin flooding all,

Splashing with its rise and fall,

On wooden tablet, marble wall.

The ink descends, part glue and soot,

Tucked away, in tree roots put,

Stretching forwards, underfoot.

 

A Holiday Happy Birthday

Five of Hearts is a Christmas baby and super proud of it! In fact she has always harbored a secret hope that she is somehow related to Santa. Her dream come true would be to live at the North Pole decorating cookies, hanging ornaments, and singing Christmas carols all year long. We as her family are so very glad that we don’t have to share her with Santa and the elves, and instead get to be with her year-round. She is our very cherished piece of Christmas magic and we all delight in her so much. She lights up every room and makes every day brighter with her generous nature, huge heart, and love of life.

As a Christmas baby she never complains about sharing her birthday. Instead she happily enjoys Christmas and then the next day lets the celebration of her birth begin. As she turned eight this year her father and I were very excited that she wanted to spend a special birthday evening with just us. So, after celebrating with her brothers all day she spent the evening snuggled up with us on the couch watching Chocolat. Five of Hearts adores chocolate as well as Johnny Depp, so she couldn’t have picked a better movie. Being in Lucca where they sell really good vegan chocolate (we stocked up) made the entire evening perfect.

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Five of Hearts has made Christmas infinitely more wonderful since she came into our lives, and we all hope that Santa understands if he ever wants her to join him at the North Pole he’ll have to take us along as well.

The Best Present

She is definitely the best Christmas present that her father and I could have ever received and she turned 7 yesterday!!! However, every year we set aside the day after Christmas to celebrate her birthday and give her a truly special day just like we do with her brothers. The whole family agrees that Five of Hearts having a Christmas birthday is a great thing because instead of feeling a little sad that Christmas is over we all get to look forward to a really great birthday party the next day.

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This year Five of Hearts decided to celebrate with a surfing themed birthday party. However, she didn’t want to go to the beach (have we been going to the beach too often lately?). Instead she wanted to stay close to home and hang out with her brothers in the backyard. While we didn’t do any swimming, we did listen to a lot of surf music and practice some surfing moves thanks to YouTube instructional videos. After eating a very large lunch of her favorite “make your own tacos” we all enjoyed sitting on the patio and reading through her presents, including a girls guide to surfing. Which will hopefully get us ready for a trip to a surf school for real lessons later this winter.

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Fives of Hearts cake is always an interesting affair and this year it was no different. As the last of our closely packed birthdays we are always looking for something a bit different to end off our season of “cake eating”. This year’s creation, a beach themed ice cream cake, just barely made it to the table as the warm temperatures and not-so-cold freezer quickly melted the end result. Fortunately the LEGO minifigures were spared from sinking into a sugary quicksand and no one had any objections to eating their pieces quickly before further melting could occur.

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All in all it was a very lovely day. While we still can’t quite get used to the fact that Five of Hearts is 7, we are so proud of every single second of her past seven years. From the newborn who came out alert and ready to explore the world, to our little girl who is constantly challenging herself. In just this year alone she submitted a top entry in a children’s film fest, mastered reading, and led us all up many hiking trails. We can’t wait to watch where this amazing girl will go in the future!

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