About a week before Christmas, we changed our plans a bit. Originally, we had planned to celebrate Christmas morning at home. The Rose Petal Cottage played a large part in that decision. I had these visions of a special Christmas morning with the girls waking to find a play cottage assembled in the living room. A magical moment! Well, reality set in a bit and we realized that we had opportunity to see family on Christmas Day -- including out-of-state family -- so we altered our plans a bit. We DID have that magical Christmas morning...but we just did it on Christmas EVE morning.
Brett and I stayed up late the night before to wrap presents and work on homemade gifts (me) and to assemble the Cottage (Brett). We decided to cover the cottage up with a big sheet to prolong the surprise. Ella usually wakes up before us, and I didn't want her to see it without us there! Brett seemed to think that she wouldn't notice it right away...I however knew differently. The instant that she walked into the living room with me, she stopped dead in her tracks, stared at it for a second and said, "What is THAT?" Since Daddy and Lu were still sleeping, I told her it was a present that we would look at later. She was actually really fine with that and ate her breakfast as usual.
Once Brett and Lucie got up, we opened some presents. Lucie didn't really know how to open them so Ella was more than happy to help her. Lu got a few board books and a Sink for the Rose Petal Cottage. Ella was thrilled to get a Sleeping Beauty DVD and not quite as thrilled to get a table & chair set - it probably didn't look as cool as the sink that Lucie got. But, once we unveiled the Cottage, Ella was happy to have the table & chairs.
Ella's response to the Cottage was just as I hoped -- it was a huge hit! Immediately, she wanted to play inside. Brett even set her up with the portable DVD so she could watch Sleeping Beauty inside the little cottage.
It did take quite a few conversations about SHARING the cottage since technically it belongs to both girls. Eventually, Ella got the idea when Brett threatened to separate the pieces and make one side Ella's and one side Lucie's. Ella loves having the two pieces together so it is a closed house so she took the threat to heart and has learned to allow her little sister entrance into the little hideaway.
As a special treat, I also let Ella use a "princess cup" that I got as gift from my Aunt Cass. Cass gave me a set of 4 beautiful little liqueur glasses that once belonged to my Granny. Apparently, Granny gave them to Cass when she moved into her first apartment. I'm thrilled to have them as my own. I think I'll bring them out for special occasions. They are just too cute to keep in the cupboard.
Overall, I think the morning gave us some special memories!