Today is St. Nicholas's birthday (Thanks mom, for the heads-up). "Legend has it that Sinterklaas (Dutch name for St. Nicholas) arrives in the Netherlands by way of steamboat from Spain 2 weeks before his traditional birthday, December 6th, along with his helper, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), who will help disperse the gifts and candy to all the good children... The bad children may be taken back to Spain with him."*
We celebrated by putting a pair of Chase's shoes outside last night. When she checked on them today, she found them full of little gifts. (Mom, sorry I didn't use the pretty pink shoes you sent, I did it so late last night it slipped my mind. I just used the shoes closest to the door. Chase LOVES the shoes you picked out for her.)
After the excitement of the gifts wore off, we decided to spend the morning at the zoo. We took in the usual sights and sounds (lions, zebras, giraffes) and the we found something new. A rock. Not just any rock. A rock that Chase could climb on for 30 minutes - and never wanted to leave - I eventually pulled her from it - at which point she cried as if I was taking away the most important thing in her life. It was a special rock. I'm sure we'll spend many mornings to come on The Rock.
From there, we drove to the Mental Health Center of Denver, where we dropped off a gift for a child. Then it was back home, for an afternoon of play (Chase didn't nap at all today) - complete with Cooper, her little beau, dropping by with some hand-me-downs for her.
Thus far, I have managed to steer clear of big, plastic toys, that make lots of noise. No longer. I now have four big plastic toys. One that spins (to a variety of songs), one that calls out shapes and numbers, one that can be ridden and one that helps kids learn to walk. In addition, I have a kid-sized plastic vacuum and a large circus elephant that Chase can rock back and forth. It's good to be a toddler these days. It's also good to live down the street from a family that has a child Chase's age.
* Information courtesy of http://holidays.kaboose.com/christmas/traditions/st-nicholas/xmas-around-stnicholas.html