Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Recounting Christmas

Is it too late to talk about Christmas? I can't believe it has taken me a week to catch up on all the holiday-and-returning-from-vacation mayhem. But it has. I keep blaming my lack of writing on Joel not editing photos, but I suppose I should take some responsibility. I'm using pictures just about out of the camera (except to downsize for quicker upload) and Joel said he wouldn't comment on my lack of editing and I'm holding him to it. (*looks pointedly at husband*)

So, where to start...Christmas Eve? We had a houseful of old and new friends and when all was said and done, I think the final tally was 23 people. We stuck all the kids in the kitchen and all the adults (and toddlers who required adult assistance) at a long table in the living room. Kids don't eat particularly well in a mob setting and this way I can actually enjoy myself. I was surprised to see Donovan outlast everyone and eat an entire meal. But then, the mashed potatoes were pretty fantastic if I do say so myself.

Adults' table

Kids' table

It was a lovely evening full of good friends and good food and a lot of hyperactivity. One disappointment was that there was no snow on the ground. This was the first time since we moved here that the ground was barren. Brown and barren. It just seemed a little wrong. But we made do. Another near catastrophe was realizing minutes before dinner was to be served that I was out of gravy mix. AAAAAAAH! What, I don't make gravy from scratch? No. No I do not. With a well-stocked and open grocer but a stone's throw (if you've got a good arm) from our home, Joel was out and back within minutes. Tragedy averted!

the Angel appearing to Mary

then having a little chit-chat with Joseph

After everyone had cleared out, we went through the traditional opening of one present (pajamas?! I had no idea!!), the telling of the Christmas Story (the ACTUAL one with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, not the leg-lamp one that plays for 24 hours on TBS - that's one we enjoy later between the kids going to sleep and the retrieval of presents), and placing treats for Santa. This year my kids made the genius suggestion of leaving bacon and chocolate milk for Santa, so as they changed into their new sleeping attire, I fried up some deliciousness.

Noah subs in for a Shepherd. Gemma is loving it.

I love that we have really great pictures of our kids. And then we have ones like these: proof that they are dorks.

Action candid! The offerings: Chocolate milk, bacon, and Gemma's cup.

Then into bed for the kids and finishing cleaning up for us. About an hour later, when we were sure the kids were asleep, Joel and I retreated into our respective stowaway areas and began pulling out gifts. But what was that?

Gemma was crying. I quickly went into her room. She had had some intestinal issues earlier in the week, but I thought she had been feeling better. The vomit that plastered her face, hair, pillow and pajamas suggested otherwise.


A frantic call to Joel and minutes later she was standing in our bathtub, miserable, while Joel poured warm water over her and I set about stripping her bed and getting the wash cycle going. Unfortunately, her beloved Ducky was a casualty and had to be washed as well so there was no immediate bed changing and back-to-sleep. An hour and a half later (and several episodes of 30 Rock, thank you very much), she had emptied her stomach one more time and it was back into bed for her. I was incredibly glad that I had had the foresight to wrap everything before Christmas Eve, so this game delay wasn't too horrible (being up until 3 am putting together a kitchen has taught me an unforgettable lesson).

(No pictures. You're welcome.)

Horrible is what I would describe the stench that punched me in the face when I walked into Gemma's room the next morning. With Ainsleigh and Donovan giggling and squealing behind the chair/blanket barricade outside their rooms at 7:12 am, I had to put the descent to the living room on hold while, once again, I carried Gemma at arm's length to my bathtub, left her for Joel to rinse off, and ran back to Gemma's room to strip her bed AGAIN. Apparently her stomach issues had worked their way south. I'm pretty sure I couldn't conceive again now, even if I wanted to.

Before the descent.

In between running back and forth from bathtub to bedroom to laundry, something caught my eye in the living room below. My breath caught in my throat and my eyes welled with tears. It was a Christmas miracle. And this is going to sound incredibly stupid and materialistic, but it was exactly the thing I hadn't even considered "asking" for, for Christmas. It's something we've talked about getting for years, but never have. Money has always gone for other things. And 2010 had been a crazy year as our financial situation was never really set. But there it was, big and beautiful and flat: a new TV. Stupid, right? To get so emotional? Yes, and no. As a friend said, it was a wonderful gift, but it was something that I wanted and was a total surprise, and the act of it being a surprise is what is so touching. How many surprises do we really get, as adults (outside of the, "WOW - I had no idea how much damage a 2 year old and a permanent marker could do!")? But there it was.

As I returned to our room, tears fresh in my eyes, I kissed Joel and told him he was a goober. He looked confused. And then it dawned on him and, disappointed, said, "You LOOKED?!" Uh, it was kind of hard to NOT.

How Gemma felt for a good part of the morning.

Kids, eager to see Gemma's Dora Silly Bandz as much as their own gifts.

How I spent most of the morning. Gemma insisted on the (barf) bowl, though she didn't use it.

In no time (at least to me - I'm sure to Ains & Dono it felt like another month), we were ready to go downstairs to lights and music and mayhem. Poor Gemma just kind of curled up in my lap and watched as Ainsleigh discovered her American Girl doll and Donovan discovered Santa had, in fact, given him Legos that were no longer available in stores.

How Ainsleigh spent most of the morning.

A boy who believes in miracles.

And here is where I'm going to reference "A Christmas Story" for the second time in one post - you know the end where the Dad is watching Ralphie load the gunpowder and shots and he's all mimicking it and starting to reach for it but then pulling back, allowing the next generation to do it? That's exactly how I was with Donovan and his Legos. "Ooh, ooh," I'd find myself reaching to show him how a piece would go, only to pull back when I saw him putting it in the right place. I looked over at Joel and saw that he was feeling the same way. I was amazed at how easily Dono followed the directions, considering he'd never had the "small" Legos before. But there he was, snapping and connecting, and then sitting back and admiring. My heart swelled with pride.

Ainsleigh was positively smitten by her doll, and I have to say I shared her admiration. It's an expensive doll, no doubt about it. But it also has to be the most beautiful doll I've ever seen. Ainsleigh has named her Charlotte and has already spent countless hours dressing her and doing her hair. Major props to my mom who sewed her a ton of clothes - wonderful since those outfits cost $30 in the store!

Gemma brightened up here and there, but would then sink back into my lap. It was so sad! But she loved her stuffed robot and almost immediately named him Weirdo. I think it suits him. She clutched him most of the morning and only left my lap so I could help Joel hook up the new TV. Even something like the Tinkerbell movie she got for Christmas is positively beautiful. It's almost freaky how lifelike the programming looks. I wonder if it's how people felt when TVs went color. I'm sure decades from now we'll all laugh at how impressed I am. But for now, I'm super impressed.

The obligatory brand-new fancy toothbrush.

Ok, that's it for Part I. This no-editing photos is great, even if they aren't the most artistic. Hopefully I'll get to the subsequent parts before February.


laura said...

Gemma's bedhead could bring about world peace. I also adore Ainsleigh's daintily crossed legs.

Lisa said...

How cute! I'm so sad that Gemma had such stomach issues :( But her facial expressions are kind of awesome.

TheKunks said...

Love the pics and curly hair. What a wonderful Christmas! Glad Gemma is feeling better.

Dawnette and Mark Coltrin said...

Oh my gosh... Santa must LOVE YOU! Bacon!!!!! I think that is why you got the new T.V.

Annie said...

Love the pic of the three kids in their Christmas outfits. Beautiful.