If you’re reading this, I’m assuming that you also managed to pull off your to-do list and survived the holiday without strangling any irritating relatives. Just kidding! I’m sure everyone was the picture of restraint and all of your children were perfectly behaved, polite, grateful little angels, right?
Everyone was exhausted after we stayed up until 1am playing Risk on Christmas Eve. We laughed our asses off at Aubrey’s lack of a strategy (which in the end turned out in her favor), and eventually we called it a draw so we could go to bed. As tired as we were, Ron woke up at 7am, just because that’s when his internal clock goes off. Both kids were in a sleep coma, so we were able to put all the presents under, in, and around the tree, as well as in their stockings, without waking them.
The highlight of the morning was when we presented Amy and Pinky with their new squishies. Pinky is a squishy addict. She also has problems sharing. All squishies belong to her; Amy is occasionally allowed to play with one, but only if Pinky is in the mood to play with her. So this morning, she was VERY excited to get her squishy, since she’s been smelling the vinyl particles in the air for three days now (she cried at my office door for two days). However, her excitement was dimmed by the realization that Amy also had a squishy. What did she do?
She dropped the squishy she had in her mouth, and ran under the table to where Amy was lurking (hoping to have just a few squeaks before Pinky discovered her, I’m sure). Then she grabbed the squishy from Amy’s mouth, ran in Aubrey’s room and laid it on the dog bed. She ran back in the living room to get the first squishy, and ran back to Aub’s room where she proceeded to play with one squishy while she held the other one down with her paw.
For the rest of the afternoon, she carefully carried the squishies as though they were a litter of puppies; taking one, putting it down, then going back for the second one. She ventured out for a few minutes at a time, only to return to the dog bed in Aubrey’s room, where she eventually began to lay across both squishies. It seems like she may be trying to hatch them or something. Amy has long since given up any attempt to rescue hers.
Besides dogs and squishies, the morning was filled with AMAZING gluten free cinnamon streusel coffee cake, Starbuck’s Christmas Blend coffee, Owen’s Country Sausage, and mimosas (champagne and orange juice). The mimosas were cut a little short as the bottle exploded when Ron tried to open it; champagne spouted like Mount Vesuvius. Matt asked why I was laughing and I said Ron was trying to launch a ship.
In spite of getting several things that were on his Christmas list, Matt was typically disappointed. I think the last time he was excited at Christmas was the year he got a black pleather jacket with red flames; that was 8th grade. Today he got a new guitar and all the accessories to go with it, plus chocolate and a few other things.
Aubrey, on the other hand, was beyond thrilled with her haul. She got a Bamboo Pen and Touch, and Sketchbook Pro 6 to go with it. Aub refused to give me a Christmas list, saying she was easy to shop for. She is. Most of her gifts were fashion related; sewing lessons, a sewing machine carrier with wheels, a professional fashion sketchbook, and other random stuff…earrings, pajamas, chocolate, puzzle books, etc…
For us, Matt gave both Ron and I more Christmas Blend (it’s our favorite coffee, so we go through it relatively quickly). Both kids teamed up to give us dinner for two to the restaurant where Aubrey works, and a Sweet Treats card to go with it. The Sweet Treats is good for 12 desserts at Texas de Brazil; it’s not out yet, but Aub gave us a “gift certificate” for it when it starts. I also got a Starbucks card, which is always a favorite.
Ron gave me two Nordstrom gift cards that he was given when he worked at his old company (for winning two customer service awards). For years, we thought they were only worth $50 each, but it turns out they’re actually $100 cards! Ron has never used them, and figured that with my mad shopping skills, I could swing finding something.
I checked out the Nordstrom web site, including the Rack, but even their sale prices are outrageous. Out of curiosity, I looked at several of the gift card exchange sites. Cardpool (as well as two other sites that I saw) gives 92% of the card’s value if you are willing to mail it in in exchange for an Amazon gift card. I have one hell of an Amazon wish list, so I am totally willing to make that trade. I was motivated enough that I sent the cards out in today’s mail. Ron was impressed and said he knew I’d know some way to get the most from those previously useless cards. It’s nice to be appreciated 😉
Ron’s mom sent the kids HD video cameras. Aub was excited about getting some higher quality videos of her flying. Matt was actually happy about his because he’s going to need one for this semester’s video editing class. At least he liked one present!
After our lovely quiet morning, Matt had to go to work, but Aub, Ron and I all vegged and argued over who should go shower first. When Matt was done for the day, Aub picked him up while Ron and I finished wrapped the last two things for my mom and stepdad. After Matt showered, we headed to my mom’s for dinner. She lives about an hour away, so it was a late dinner. All four of us were completely wiped out, and I realized we just plain cannot do any visiting on Christmas day. From now on, I’m going to assume that we will all be too tired, and make plans for getting together either before or after.
My mom made an awesome dinner of ham, various veggies, and several pies. We let Aubrey have O’Mara’s and cream (it’s the same thing as Bailey’s), and I broke down and had wine from a box (it was all my mom had). It was surprisingly good for being a box wine. There was a little tension as my mom worried about stains on the tablecloth and the safety of her new china. I’ve never understood why people purposely stress themselves out by using something that they’re afraid will be ruined. Personally, we use paper plates for holidays; I don’t have to worry about things being broken, and it makes cleanup WAAAAAY faster. I do have to say though, my mom’s table was absolutely beautiful, and looked like something from Southern Living.
After dinner, we exchanged gifts; I was in sensory overload as four of the five kids were screaming and running around. They finally calmed down when Aub told them that no one was getting anything until it was quiet. My nephew was the only one who still ran around, but he’s the youngest, it was super late, and he was sugared out. The fact that he wasn’t climbing the walls was pretty miraculous.
Aub got a gift card to Jo-Ann Fabrics, I got one to Lowes (which I’d asked for), and Matt got new sheets and chocolate. Ron gets the same gift every year (because he LOVES it) of a gift basket of Sam Adams, corn nuts, cinnamon gum, and candy. I had been stressing about what to get my mom, but I’d found a beautiful gray sweater dress on Black Friday. It fit her perfectly, and she loved it. I also got her a necklace and earrings to go with it, and the kids gave her a Starbucks card (she lives at her local Starbucks). I’d also worried about whether my oldest niece would like her present. I made her a necklace with ribbons and a large pendant/charm that looks like a scroll and says, “Once upon a time.” To go with it, I got her a purple moleskin journal with her initial on the front. It was a complete hit, although I’d made the ribbons a bit too long. Fortunately, I made them long enough that she was able to wrap them twice and turned the pendant into a choker.
The little ones all loved their presents, as did my stepdad. I found a guy who made wind spinners from reclaimed fencing, and I knew my stepdad would appreciate the woodwork and design. We gave my youngest niece a doodle set (stamps, markers, and a guided doodle book), and once I showed her how to color the stamps with the marker and then make the stamps work with the “magic” breath (breathing on them reactivates the ink that dries out while you’re coloring), she was the most quiet we’ve ever seen her.
By the time we got home, all four of us were ready to drop. Poor Ron had to work on Wednesday, so he didn’t get much rest. On the other hand, Aubrey and I have both done little else. She worked on Wednesday and works today, but then she has Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. She is seriously looking forward to three days of staying in her dinosaur pajamas and playing with her Bamboo tablet. Today is my second day of not moving from my bed except to pee, but tomorrow I will start to clear the holiday disaster and work on organizing my office. I’ve decided there will be no new projects until there isn’t a single “box o’ junk” lying around. A large task, but a lot of motivation.
Aubrey’s first Bamboo/Sketchbook Pro creation after two hours of just playing around with it.
All in all, Christmas was pretty fantastic. There’s no telling where we’ll all be this time next year…Aub will be back at school, Matt may be in Seattle, and Ron and I might be finally looking at houses in the Northeast. Really, I’m just trying to enjoy being in the moment and hanging out with my family.
In case I don’t get another post written before next week, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you have a joyous and prosperous 2013!
“and a new one just begun”