As Christmas draws near, I have one apology to make. I do have to apologize to Santa who I hope reads my column as Kathryn is still a little gun shy of you. We tried to convince her you are our friend and make our wishes come true, but she isn't ready to speak with you yet. It wasn't your fault when we tried to introduce her to you at the mall this year and she started that ear piercing scream. She really does like you but as with most children her age, she doesn't want to take any chances.

The second time you saw her, she cringed behind Mommy's leg cutting off her circulation with those little hands making mommy's toes turn blue temporarily. Don't take it personally. I would imagine when I was three feet tall, a six foot few hundred pound plus, white haired, bearded elf in a red velvet suit probably scared the life out of me also. It's a phase through which we all pass, I'm sure.

Other than that issue, Kathryn I think is ready to learn about Christmas anew. Last year she was one and while I'm sure it made some impression on her, I don't think she caught onto the pattern. After this year, I think she will understand it better, and probably after her ability to speak English improves we will wish for these past two years of relative calm and coolness.

Besides the Santa issue though, we were fortunate enough last week to be able to build our first snowman with that mess that was dropped on us. Kathryn is like her mommy and daddy in that she likes her feet to make direct contact with the sidewalk. Walking on snow was a new experience for her and she wasn't too keen on it. We got her ready to go outside and after some major convincing she followed me out the door with mommy in tow.

We made it down the steps to the main part of our deck and she stood there staring at this white stuff lying on the ground. I explained to her it was snow which was nothing more than frozen rain. She continued to stare at it not wanting to touch it. I showed her that this particular snow was like the Play-Doh we have been playing with for the last month or so. I picked some up, formed a ball and threw it. I repeated this and let her touch it, then gave it to her to throw or drop in her case.

Once she was convinced this snow was normal and okay, we headed down the remaining steps to the yard. I warned her not to step on the shiny parts as they would be slippery. Her mommy told her that was ice.

When we made it to the yard, I took a chance and gathered a big mound of snow between my hands and it formed a nice sized, sticky ball. I thought, "This is a good snow for Kathryn's first snowman" and I started rolling it around. The snow stuck readily and pretty soon we had a nice size bottom ball. Kathryn observed what I was doing, but I don't think she knew why until Mommy caught on and said, "Let's build a snowman." Fortunately, Katie always brings her camera with her and soon she was taking pictures in between smoothing our snow person.

I made the second ball and then the third and soon our raw snowman was complete. Kathryn stared at it as I started to take handfuls of snow to even him out and fuse the balls together. That's when we realized that having never made a snowman before today, there was nothing to decorate him, so we did what parents did best. We improvised. We found some round river stones for eyes and a mouth, a couple twigs for arms and a nose and an Uncle Sam hat we found in the garage, leftover from a magic show.

All of a sudden, Kathryn saw her own Frosty standing in her backyard and she was in love. It was no longer a cartoon but a real life snowman. She began picking up tiny handfuls of snow and lovingly caressing the snow onto her new friend cooing and talking to him the whole time. Katie took some pictures one of which made it into last week's paper.

Of course, it was soon time for her to go inside and get thawed out from her first experience. We convinced her that her snowman would stay in the yard and not run away. Although twelve hours later with the threat of high winds, Mommy convinced Daddy at 2AM to collect the snowman's hat and secrete it back in the garage so it would be safe for his little girl. I'm such a sucker.

Unfortunately, she also learned that snowmen are temporary in that within five or six days, our new friend is now almost a lump of snow again having melted in the warmer temperatures. In fact last night he looked more like Snoopy's Woodstock and less like a snow person. Of course, there is always the next snow. That's what is so great about winter.

Til next time, and Merry Christmas all…