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