Christmas ’14

I would just like to go on record and state that I’m reaching all of the goals for Christmas break that I set for myself right before school got out.  I’ve eaten enough homemade, frosted sugar cookies to threaten a potential shortage in 2015, watched umpteen-plus-one episodes of Raising Hope on the iPad with Hubs, stayed in my pajamas longer than was probably decent, allowed the dirty laundry pile to grow to a height that makes the Great Pyramids look like plastic toys in a sandbox, and taught Thing 2 how to Rollerblade.

My back is going to be forever impaired, due to that last one, because HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO HOLD UP A THIRTY-SEVEN POUND TODDLER WHEN HIS FEET ARE ENCASED IN WHEELS?

Bless my heart.

So.

Christmas.

It was a good one, people.

On Christmas Eve morning, I ventured into Walmart with both of our boys, because of this little thing called UNPREPARED.  We were hosting dinner for my family at our house at 3:00 that afternoon, and Old Mother Hubbard had little more than a box of white rice that cooks up in five minutes to offer everyone.  I can’t even put into words how much I regretted waiting until the last possible second to do my grocery shopping, because every single resident in Small Town and the outlying thirty-six miles of surrounding territories was shopping at the exact same time we were.

And they were all stopping their motorized shopping vehicles in the center of every aisle I needed to quickly get through.

And my boys protested loudly about the inhumanity of not being allowed to buy a box of glazed donuts.

And then take the longest line you’ve ever seen at a cash register in your entire life and ADD seventeen more shopping carts to it, and BINGO!

By the time we left, my Christmas cheer was sagging at an all-time low, and I wanted to just drive myself to a spa that offers luxurious, fluffy bathrobes, hot stone massages and unlimited access to the cheesecake buffet.

Somehow, I pulled myself together, and Hubs and I grilled steaks and chicken for dinner.  Of course, I really mean that Hubs did all the grilling, because OBSESSED.  And because no one can grill a slab of meat on a Traeger to the sweet perfection that Hubs can achieve.  You can take THAT to the bank.

My family showed up for an early dinner, and then the boys, along with their cousins, L, K and Little H, opened a few gifts.  Thing 2 had known which gift under the tree was his, so when he finished up with his grilled chicken and his mashed potatoes… he got down out of his highchair… left us… and came back with a semi truck carrying a steamroller on its flatbed trailer.  He was hollering for all the world to hear, “He got a truck!  He got a steamroller!”  There was a trail of wrapping paper behind him, which caused the other four kids to proclaim, “Well?  Do WE get to open a present now, too?  Because Thing 2 already did!”

Thing 2 is an accomplished gift-opener.

And yes… his binky really IS pink, but Thing 2 is plenty tough enough to have a pink one.

IMG_1080 IMG_1088 IMG_1081 IMG_1085 IMG_1090 IMG_1084 IMG_1091 IMG_1096 IMG_1092 IMG_1098After the fallout from the wrapping paper explosion had been picked up, we all got dressed for our Christmas Eve Candlelight service at church.

IMG_1101 IMG_1100 IMG_1108 IMG_1119 IMG_1111 IMG_1122 IMG_1120 IMG_1135The Christmas Eve service at our church is pretty much my favorite thing that happens all year long.  I get the goosebumps every single time that the lights in the sanctuary are dimmed and all of our candles are lit, as our congregations sings Silent Night together, so…

… you can imagine my joy when Thing 2, who was sitting on my lap, grabbed MY CANDLE approximately one-half-of-a-nano-second before the usher lit it, used his baseball fast pitch to throw the candle three entire rows in front of us, and then screamed, “No fire!  NOOOO FIRE!!!!!!!!!!  He scared of fire!”

And that is precisely how I came to have NO CANDLE to hold on Christmas Eve.

Amen.

After church, Hubs and I came home, and we put both of our boys to bed early, and then we wrapped all of our gifts.  I’d blame this on being unprepared, too, but the honest truth is that I knew that exerting ALL of my energy to keep Thing 2 from unwrapping everyone’s gifts beneath the tree would deplete me of all holiday joy.  So… I had only wrapped his Christmas Eve gifts, and THAT, my friends, took a full SWAT team standing guard to keep the presents wrapped until after dinner.

Thing 2 slept in on Christmas morning until 5:15.  It was a fifteen-minute window of extra sleep that Jesus gave Hubs and me as a gift.  And then… well… all the wrapping paper came off in a whirlwind of LOOK WHAT I GOT! and IT’S A ROAD GRADER!!!

IMG_1161 IMG_1164 IMG_1142 IMG_1143 IMG_1148 IMG_1150 IMG_1159 IMG_1167 IMG_1153 IMG_1155 IMG_1172 IMG_1171 IMG_1197 IMG_1196 IMG_1178 IMG_1176 IMG_1185Afterward, our living room looked like this:

IMG_1198And then Thing 2 took a shower, so that he looked like this:

IMG_1210And then we piled ourselves into the car and drove over to Mam and Pa’s house, for Christmas donuts and more love and family time and presents.

IMG_1214 IMG_1215 IMG_1223 IMG_1218 IMG_1222 IMG_1225 IMG_1230 IMG_1232 IMG_1224 IMG_1229 IMG_1233 IMG_1234 IMG_1248 IMG_1240The boys and their three cousins were plum thrilled with their Christmas haul of gifts, and we had a fantastic time together.

And then we realized that the front-end loader that Sister bought for Thing 2 makes more noise than a Metallica concert.

On Christmas afternoon, we drove out to Hubs’ parents’ house, for another round of Christmas cheer with the boys’ cousins out there.

And… every year… Hubs’ sister helps me arrange all the kids on the sofa for a group picture.  They love to protest the commands of EVERYONE!  ON THE SOFA!  NOW!, but we secretly know that they love it.  Plus, our rule is that no one gets to touch a single gift until a clear snapshot has been snagged.

Years ago, this pack of cousins used to fit on that sofa… WITH PLENTY OF ROOM TO SPARE.  Now, they’re squeezed onto that sucker like sardines, and they’re hanging off the ends.

There’s Cousin M, Cousin W, Thing 2, Cousin R, Big Cousin H, Miss A, the boy and Cousin B.

IMG_1271When Aunt Pink and I were finally in agreement that we’d managed to get at least one okay shot — even though Thing 2 looks like a deer caught in someone’s headlights in this picture — the unwrapping began.

IMG_1277 IMG_1279 IMG_1283 IMG_1284 IMG_1282 IMG_1285 IMG_1287 IMG_1281 IMG_1292Oh!  Look!

A new golf cap!  And… as soon as this snow melts… he can wear it on the driving range!

IMG_1294 IMG_1295 IMG_1296 IMG_1302 IMG_1303 IMG_1298 IMG_1297 IMG_1308 IMG_1313 IMG_1314 IMG_1310 IMG_1321 IMG_1325 IMG_1328 IMG_1319 IMG_1327 IMG_1320And someone gave Cousin B a… well… a… um… BUTT.  Because he’s the nuttiest, funniest cousin we have… he wore it for the rest of Christmas Day!

IMG_1326And someone gave Thing 2 a Sit-And-Spin, and I pretty much need a Dramamine tablet to watch him fire that thing up.  Our toddler has SOME ENERGY and SOME ARM STRENGTH and that equals ROCKET-LAUNCHING SPEED.

IMG_1317Oh!

A really big box arrived for me this Christmas, too.  I thought that it might be a new dishwasher, because our dishwasher has decided that it no longer likes drying the dishes, because YOU CAN DO THAT WITH A TOWEL ALL BY YOURSELF, MAMA.  However, what was inside the box was even better than a brand new dishwasher that actually dries.

IMG_1331 IMG_1332 IMG_1334It was a new Tempur Pedic mattress, and all the angels sang HALLELUJAH!!!

Hubs absolutely secured Husband of the Year ’14 with that little surprise, because sweet mercy!  Our uncomfortable Sleep-By-Number bed has been given the shepherd’s hook and yanked out of play, and the new replacement is on the field, front and center.

I am in love.

In love with a mattress.

And then… the day after Christmas… our little tree came down.  All the decorations were put away and the nativity set was boxed up, and we are officially ready to ring in the new year around here.

Oh!  And behold our little firecracker today:

IMG_1335 IMG_1338 IMG_1341Happy Monday, y’all.  Happy Monday.

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