Christmas 2013

So today is pretty much the last day of 2013.  I thought about writing a sentimental post today and proclaiming how sweet the year has been to us.  Then I remembered, “Yeah… my blog posts are more of a Saturday Night Live skit than a memorable Hallmark movie FOR A REASON.”  That reason would be because my spiritual gift is rambling on and on, until the cows get bored and come home, about nothing.

Unlike the lovely Ann Voskamp, who can bless an entire nation and make their hearts swell with joy and pride and love for Jesus in her blog, I can drag FLAT-OUT NOTHING on for two thousand words.

(No…  Essays in high school weren’t any problem at all.)

(My sophomore English teacher once asked me if I wanted my grade by the pound.)

Twenty-thirteen has been very good to us, but I’m ready for the new year.  I love the feeling of waking up on New Year’s Day and thinking, “I’m ready to start fresh!  Healthy eating!  More effort at keeping the house clean!  More reading of meaningful books!”  It’s like the best feeling in the world, thinking that the entire world is your oyster for fresh chances.

And then, somewhere around 2 PM on New Year’s Day, we always decide that, “You know what would go good with all this TV we’re watching?  A greasy pizza, that’s what.”

After that, discarding my resolutions comes naturally.

Anyway.

Christmas.

I’m going to try to get this post up this afternoon, because it’s New Year’s Eve, y’all, and I have some ENORMOUS PLANS, that include pajama bottoms, a sloppy T-shirt, and house slippers, while I sit next to Hubs on the sofa and wrap up the old year by watching a movie.

(This is where I should tell you that Hubs and I never agree on movies.  On Sunday, Pretty in Pink was on TV.  This might be my all-time favorite show of EVER!  Andie was busy hollering at Blaine, “What about prom?!”  He told her that he’d asked someone else a month ago, and he’d forgotten.  The show progressed, and there was Blaine, sitting alone at the table during prom.  Hubs wrinkled his eyebrows all up and said, “I thought he asked someone else to prom.  Where’s his date?”  And THAT, people, is exactly why Hubs and I are just better off watching our own movies, by ourselves.)

(Dear Hubs, Blaine was LYING.  I’m just surprised that you didn’t go on to say, “Stay alive, and I will find you!”  Or even, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”  Because I know how much you enjoy a romantic movie from the ’80s.)

The boy has plans for a New Year’s Eve sleepover tonight, because he’s thirteen, and he has a social life.  I just hope he has as much fun as we do, loafing around our house like slugs and dipping tortilla chips into all the queso.

On Christmas Eve, we always have a big pot of soup at our house.  Unless, of course, I decide to make chili, which is technically not soup.  That’s what happened this year, and my mama brought homemade cinnamon rolls.

After dinner, the kids stuck to tradition and made reindeer food, because it always lures the sleigh to the house.

IMG_0824 IMG_0825The recipe for reindeer food is simple.  It involves opening your pantry and finding anything edible that can be measured and mixed into a gigantic bowl.  Brown sugar and flour are the staples, but we’ve heard tale that reindeer also appreciate Apple Jacks and Lucky Charms cereal.

Except this  year, the deer didn’t get any of the marshmallows from the Lucky Charms box, because Thing 2 ate EVERY! SINGLE! ONE! out of the bowl.

IMG_0827 IMG_0843 IMG_0856All the cousins had a good time demolishing my kitchen with their legendary cooking skills again this year.

IMG_0850 IMG_0855 IMG_0840 IMG_0839 IMG_0841When all the mixing and stirring and sampling and fighting over WHO is going to put in the powdered sugar is done, the reindeer food is taken outside and scattered everywhere.

The wild turkeys and the squirrels and the white tail deer all appreciate this very much, and we have to keep telling them, “Save some for Rudolph and his team!”

IMG_0867 IMG_0870(Also?  Well, Sister’s skills at scarf tying are legendary, too.  I can tie a scarf in exactly two different knots, neither of which ever look as fancy as what Sister displayed on Christmas Eve.)

When the wild turkeys have been given the reindeer food, the kids come back indoors for a gift of some kind.

Thing 2 got a John Deere Gator, which ranks as a tractor in his book.  He couldn’t have been happier.

IMG_0882 IMG_0888 IMG_0890 IMG_0892 IMG_0893 IMG_0895 IMG_0896 IMG_0910The boy got a bluetooth earpiece, so that he can stop hogging mine and running the battery down.

IMG_0898 IMG_0899

Apparently, we’re not afraid to eat alligators raw around these parts.

IMG_0885Later, everyone dressed up, and we headed off to our church’s candlelight Christmas Eve service, which is MY MOST FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE thing of the year.

(I’m not even joking, y’all.  I LOVE and ADORE our candlelight service!)

IMG_0922 IMG_0926 IMG_0928 IMG_0936 IMG_0938 IMG_0940 IMG_0941This year, the hot wax from my candle actually dripped out of the plastic votive and ran down my hand while the congregation was singing Silent Night.

Because everyone was singing loudly, for all to hear, no one really heard me scream out, “Hot wax!  HOT!! WAX!!  I’ve been burned!!!”

On Christmas morning, for the first time ever, the boy decided to sleep in.  I think it’s because he’s thirteen now.  He was buried in his bed like a hamster in wood chips.  Hubs and I sent Thing 2 in at 7:00 to wake him up!

Santa Claus brought Thing 2 MORE tractors and excavators and dump trucks.  And then Santa saw fit to bring the little man a vacuum cleaner, because it’s never too early to train up a child in the way he should go.

IMG_0943 IMG_0945 IMG_0955 IMG_0971 IMG_0978 IMG_0984 IMG_0994 IMG_1028The boy got an Under Armor sweatshirt that he wanted…

… and then Hubs and I replaced his ancient, dinosaur-like, THIS-THING-DOESN’T-EVEN-GO-ONLINE phone with a smart phone.

The boy’s Christmas joy knew no bounds.

IMG_0952 IMG_0953 IMG_0957 IMG_0958 IMG_0962 IMG_1026Hubs and I were pole-vaulted right into BEST DADGUM PARENTS OF THE YEAR, thank you very much.

After that, we packed up and went to Mam and Pa’s house for Christmas breakfast and STILL MORE presents.  Sister and her family met us over there.

IMG_1044 IMG_1046 IMG_1048(“After reviewing the play, the touchdown STILL STANDS!”)

IMG_1051 IMG_1089 IMG_1079 IMG_1057 IMG_1059 IMG_1064 IMG_1067 IMG_1073 IMG_1074 IMG_1092 IMG_1091 IMG_1094 IMG_1100 IMG_1106 IMG_1115 IMG_1117IMG_1062Mam enjoyed some time with just The Littles.  They read their new Christmas books together.

IMG_1125 IMG_1131And then I made all the cousins get onto the sofa together for a group shot.

My error came in the fact that I did this AT THE VERY END of the morning, when The Littles were WORN OUT.  They were NOT.  AT.  ALL.  interested in sitting for their pictures to be taken.

IMG_1136At lunchtime, we loaded ourselves back up into the car and drove out to Hubs’ parents’ house.

THIS happened on the way there:

IMG_1146That was Thing 2’s entire nap for the day.  All fifteen minutes’ of it.

At the next stop, we scrunched all the cousins together on the sofa IMMEDIATELY and also RIGHT AWAY.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

There used to be Christmases when those kids all fit on the sofa with ROOM BETWEEN THEIR BODIES FOR MORE KIDS.  Now, they’re all legs and arms and teenagers AND WHO HAS A GOATEE, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE?!

IMG_1147After the annual group snapshot was taken, Grammy fired the race pistol and hollered, “Let the games begin!”

IMG_1157 IMG_1158 IMG_1159 IMG_1161 IMG_1162 IMG_1163 IMG_1165 IMG_1168 IMG_1173 IMG_1174 IMG_1177 IMG_1179 IMG_1184 IMG_1185 IMG_1189 IMG_1190 IMG_1191 IMG_1195EVERYONE got Thing 2 a new tractor or dump truck, and do you know what?  With every gift he opened, our toddler yelled in surprise, “OH!  Tractor!!!”  He couldn’t have been more pleased to see that he had an entire JOHN DEERE ARMY!

Oh!  And here’s BIG Cousin H.  He’s eighteen.  He’s a senior.  He’s growing something on his chin, even though he was just FIVE YEARS OLD last month.  What happened?!  How did he grow that quickly?

IMG_1193 IMG_1196 IMG_1197 IMG_1198Cousin B is EXTREMELY SHY in front of the camera.

IMG_1199 IMG_1202 IMG_1204 IMG_1205 IMG_1207 IMG_1209 IMG_1238 IMG_1239 IMG_1244 IMG_1211 IMG_1212 IMG_1219 IMG_1223 IMG_1221 IMG_1224IMG_1228 IMG_1230 IMG_1225 IMG_1236Cousin R and Miss A decided to swing Thing 2 back and forth and throw him into the GIANT, ENORMOUS, BUILT FOR THE INCREDIBLE HULK Sherpa bean bag that Grammy and Papa gave to the boy.

Once they started this game, our toddler refused to let them stop!  Those two girls swung Thing 2 until their shoulders gave out and dislocated themselves.

IMG_1232 IMG_1233 IMG_1234And that, people, was pretty much our Christmas.

We came home, stuffed to the gills with Christmas ham and sugar cookies.  Thing 2 was at the level of exhaustion where he just had to throw himself on the floor and sob.

I was tired enough to join him, which meant that it was a fantastic Christmas.

And with that, I’m going to hit the PUBLISH button and put this blog post up, because it’s 1:00 in the afternoon and I need to prep myself for my New Year’s Eve party tonight.

Basically, that means that I need to trade these jeans in for pajamas and make some cheese dip.

We hope that 2013 was a great year for y’all, and I pray that 2014 will bless you even more.

Happy New Year’s everyone!

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