I think it goes without saying that I love holidays. All holidays. Any chance to decorate, eat special food, and do silly things with the kids is a great day in my book.
Our children roused this morning to the promise of a fun filled day. Little sleepy feet hit the floor this morning and discovered that once again, our house had been visited by mischievous little leprechauns. Tiny sparkly shamrocks were found all around the kids bedrooms, their bathroom had been raided and toilet paper strewn across the shower rod, Anna's Barbie dolls were found sitting around a golden chocolate coin, and James' Sir Topham Hat had been relocated to the back of a monster truck, also with a golden chocolate coin.
After donning their proper St. Patricks Day fare, they followed a trail of larger shamrocks (and also sparkly tiny shamrocks) throughout the house to discover green M&M candies had been arranged in their initials, pictures had been turned upside down, furniture had been re-arranged, and toys had been strewn about. Finally, after following a trail of shamrocks through a pillow maze - they discovered an entire pot of chocolate gold!
After eating a breakfast of toasted Irish soda bread (and chocolate coins) they were shuffled off to their respective schools, excited about the promise of St. Patricks Day parties, activities, and stories.
Tonight we dined on our traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage (made in the crock pot with red potatoes, onions, and carrots - oh.my.goodness - so yummy and so easy!), crescent rolls (a treat for every holiday with the Party of Five), and of course, good Irish butter.
We ended our meal with non-traditional treats of mini-cupcakes (green iced of course) and shamrock cookies.
And what great day doesn't end with a dance party?
I found an Irish pub music CD - and we've been listening to it all evening. Anna danced her version of an Irish jig, coerced James to join in, followed by Jack.
I sit here now in the glow of our dinner candles, sipping Irish coffee, and reflecting on the day. It's been fun - that's for sure. I love that the kids are so excited about holidays. I love the innocence of youth that fully believes that leprechauns visited our house. I love that they are so happy to eat store-bought shamrock shaped cookies.
I love that they love the traditions my mom started years ago.
I miss the big holiday meals - the St. Patricks Day dinners of corned beef and cabbage that we shared over the dining room table of my youth. I miss crowding around my Aunt Maria's table as an adult child, visiting her home during my spring breaks from college - where she'd have to cook several briskets to feed the growing crowd. I miss the super-hot tiger mustard she'd serve along with the dinner that we ate on her fine china.
But I count my Irish (or Italian) blessings for my little family - for my Party of Five - and the dinners and traditions we share over our own kitchen table.