Friday, January 01, 2010

6 Christmases

Okay, so here's a little more detail on how our Christmases played out.

Christmas 1 - Christmas Eve with Jason's immediate family and maternal grandmother. Usually we do CE at my IL's with her extended family joining us later in the evening but because we wanted to include Jason's cousin who wouldn't return from Korea until 12/25 and Kelly's stepdaughter, Lydia, who wouldn't arrive from FL until 12/27, we decided to get together with just Jay's immediate family at our house. Everyone arrived around 4pm and we snacked on hor'dourves instead of a sit down meal. And then of course, PRESENTS! It was funny though, the kids were so excited for Santa to come that night and for their aunt/uncles/grandparents to arrive that they hadn't thought about the fact that there would be pre-Christmas gifts! They were very excited when the gifts started coming through the door.

The gifting begins:

Piper and Caroline model their personalized chefwear from Nana: (Bryce wouldn't model his that night)

This is why Bryce wouldn't model his chef gear - he had already opened a very interesting gift from Aunt Kelly/Uncle Jesse - superheros! True to form for Bryce, once he opens something he REALLY likes, he's not the least bit interested in opening other gifts.

Caroline and Bryce's main gifts from Nana/Big Dad were their Leapsters which went over VERY well and are being played frequently. (They helped a LOT on the car ride up to Christmas 4.)

Piper was in bed by 8pm and we let the big kids stay up until everyone left around 10pm. Bryce was asleep in seconds and Caroline held out a little longer. We kept telling her she needed to go to sleep if Santa was going to come. They left out their usual cookies/milk and were very insistent that Santa eat them all this year because last year Santa left a cookie with only a bite out of it and they've talked about it ALL YEAR.

Christmas 2 - Christmas morning at our house! I slept terribly that night because I was so excited for the kids for the next morning. At 6:30am, I rolled over and saw the light was on in the hallway bathroom and then saw Caroline come out. I figured that would be it, but instead, Ms. Maturity went back to her room and closed her door and quietly entertained herself for another hour. (I had told them gift opening doesn't start until it's light out and she remembered!) I must have dozed back off because I woke up at 7:30 to see Caroline digging in a box of stuff I'd brought upstairs from the gifts from the night before. She was looking for her Leapster and when I saw her I told her to come in She was SOOOO excited and ready to go. We got Bryce up (who wasn't grumpy!) and then Piper while Jason got the cameras set up. The kids were very excited seeing their "fat" stockings hanging on the banister below.

Opening begins:

Christmas wasteland:

The kids were thrilled with their gifts. Caroline liked that she had all of hers to open and that she was allowed to open Piper's for her. Caroline is quite the gift unwrapper and does it so quickly and gets a bit unhappy when the gift pile runs out. Something that frustrates me since her gift appetite will never be satiated, but at least with Piper at this age, it helps. Santa also wrapped all of her gifts, while he didn't wrap Bryce's main gift - the BAT CAVE! He specifically asked Santa not to wrap it and the funniest thing was, he didn't even notice it when he went down. He just started opening gifts and it took us to bring it to his attention. And once he noticed it, it took a little cajoling to get him to open the rest. Piper seemed to love her ball popper the most but she made lots of happy squeals for her baby doll and cash register too. After breakfast, we got cleaned up because it was onto....

Christmas 3 - Christmas day at my parents' house. I feel so lucky that we are able to split Christmas Eve/Day between my parents and Jay's. Early on, we used to do both sets of parents on Christmas day and it just got to be too much. So while it's still a tiny bit rushed, it's not what it was. We arrived at my mom's right after noon and had a snacky lunch. We were waiting for my brother and his wife to arrive before doing gifts, but my mom really wanted to let my kids open their big, special gift:

My mom saw a Lego table online and in one of the therapy rooms at work and showed my dad and asked if he thought he could make it. He did and it's WONDERFUL! I brought along most of their Legos too. It has these nice mesh drawers to make for easy storage/cleanup too. And it's homemade so VERY good quality as well. They were pretty excited about it but I don't think they can fully appreciate it at their age, but I know I sure do. Even Piper likes it. Nothing like a nice flat, solid Lego surface. Thank you mom and dad! Then we snuggled on the couch and watched A Christmas Story and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation while we waited for the final family members to arrive. I love doing that every year and love that now you can watch both!

Then my brother and Kelly arrived (Chrissa was already there) and the gifting began:

I just realized I don't have any pics of my mom or brother and Kelly - sorry guys. :) We then had a delicious dinner and let the kids play some more and then packed up and were home a little after 8pm since we had a long day ahead of us. A very nice day, indeed.

Christmas 4- Christmas with my dad's extended family at Mee Maw's. Sadly as of writing this, my grandmother (Mee Maw) is still in the hospital with a MRSA infection. It's still going to be a while before they can release her. We carried on with the day in her absence but it didn't feel quite right. The kids opened gifts first with some lackluster results on Caroline's part:

Getting mostly practical gifts after you've already gotten pretty much everything you wanted is a little tough on a kid. You could tell she was a little worn out. Bryce and Piper were their usual excited selves though. I know MeeMaw would have loved seeing their happy little faces.

Phil, Kev, Kelly, and Ms. C:

Then we made a quick lunch since we were having a mini-baby shower for my cousin, Adriane, who is due on Jay's birthday, 4/16! The kids even participated in a game of baby themed Pictionary and were able to successfully draw for their team. I was so proud of them! Then around 5:30, I went with my sister, brother, 2 cousins, and my SIL to the hospital to visit with Mee Maw. She was so happy to see us and we stayed for over an hour just chatting with her. She told my mom later that it was so nice to just sit and talk to us because under normal circumstances she would have seen us all but not really had much quality time to chat. So I guess that was a little unexpected Christmas gift for her. :)

We left Hagerstown around 8pm and got back to Baltimore around 10pm. Got the kids to bed to rest up for.....

Christmas 5 -Christmas with my MIL's extended family at her house. Thankfully we didn't have to be there until game time, so we had a leisurely morning in which the kids finally got to play with their new Playdoh sets. 2 hours of Playdoh later and it was everywhere but they were quite content. We left a little after noon (took longer than expected to leave since Caroline was spending so much time primping!) It was great to see Lydia and Ryan. The kids were thrilled to see Lydia! (No pics, forgot the camera.)

Then we had 2 solid days of doing nothing at home! I picked up all the boxes (it's cardboard city in my basement right now), I sorted gift bags, I put new clothes away. Then on Tuesday afternoon, the big kids went up to Nana/Big Dad's for the night and Jay and I stayed home doing some last minute chores we wanted to get done before having company on Thursday evening. (That turned out to be a bust thanks to C's fever.) But on Wednesday, we headed to Jay's paternal grandparents' house for...

Christmas 6 - Quite a subdued afternoon since it was just us with Kelly/Jesse/Lydia at his grandparents' for lunch. Although by the end of the afternoon the kids were acting like caged animals and we had to leave a little abruptly for fear of them breaking something. They were ALL over the place and I felt like I couldn't run enough interference.

So we got home and have been just relaxing, playing a lot of Wii, and trying to keep the kids from driving us crazy. All this unstructured time is not the usual to them and they tend to bicker a bit more than usual. Plus, Piper is climbing onto all the tables and pulling everything out as usual, she just has more opportunities since there is more stuff laying around.

Jason took down the outdoor lights today and tomorrow I will take down all the interior decorations. I think I'm saddest about the candles in the windows. I love how they make the house look from outside. I know some homes have them in year round but I think, for me, it would lose it's holiday festivity if we left them out. So another holiday has come and gone. I'm feeling refreshed and ready to go back to work and tackle the craziness that is deadline season. I even did about 3 hours of work the other night to make my first day back a little less hectic. I'm a glutton. I know.


Bracken said...

I am exhausted just from reading about your Christmas. Looks like it was a wonderful holiday season. I am still in shock that work is already coming on Monday!

Heather said...

I agree, I was about to post the same thing as BJ above...I am exhausted just from reading that post. Whew! I thought 4 Christmases were bad...but 6...with three kids, you are my hero!