Wrapping Up The Christmas Posts And 2015

It’s the last day of 2015.

I feel like I should say something profound, that will make you think and nod and mumble, “Yes!  THAT!”  The honest truth, though, is that I seldom have anything profound to say, beyond, “Did you just put that rock into your mouth?  You ate a rock?  YOU ATE A ROCK, BUT YOU WON’T EAT BROCCOLI OR HAM OR ROAST BEEF??!!”  I usually follow that up with, “Will his parents be home?  How many kids are going?  Which kids are going?  I don’t care if no one else is calling to check in; YOU will call to check in, or you can stay home!”

This is how a girl speaks, when she’s parenting a preschooler and a teenager at the same time.

It’s crazy.

I’ve also decided that parenthood is probably the scariest ‘hood Hubs and I will ever walk through.  Thankfully, we are fully armed with coffee in the early mornings and wine in the late evenings.

And by late, I mean 8:15.  Let’s not kid ourselves there.

Anyway, I’m going to put this blog post up this afternoon, and then I’m heading out to pick up pizzas, because we are ringing in the new year by throwing a little party at our house tonight.  It’s going to be very glamorous, in the sense that we are eating dirt-cheap pizzas and salad out of a bag, straight off of the Chinet disposable plates.  When I invited a few families to come over to celebrate with us, I asked Hubs, “How do you phrase an invitation for a New Year’s Eve party so that people know that it really doesn’t last until midnight, because I have to get into bed long before that?!”

We’re famous for always breaking protocol around here, and that means our New Year’s Eve parties can end at 10:00.  I think all of us with small children will put our hands together and clap over that one, because it doesn’t matter if a three-year-old stays up until midnight — he’s still getting up at 5:30 tomorrow  morning.  He’ll just be crabby and exhausted, instead of happy and well-rested.

So…

After we opened presents at our house on Christmas morning, we hopped on over to Mam and Pa’s house, where we met up with Sister’s family.  Mam had made a breakfast casserole, and had spread fruit and muffins and donuts and bacon out across her kitchen counters.  The adults dove right in to breakfast, but the kids opted to skip breakfast, because WHY ISN’T ANYONE OPENING PRESENTS YET?  WE’VE BEEN HERE FOR NINETY SECONDS ALREADY.  TIME’S A-WASTIN’.

IMG_7602 IMG_7603 IMG_7604 IMG_7605We did play the MEAN PARENTS card on Christmas morning to force the children to eat their breakfasts before the frenzy of ripping wrapping paper off of cardboard boxes commenced.

IMG_7608Thing 2 loves a good vacuum cleaner.  Mam and Pa found a miniature shop vac for him, and he was in heaven.  I would be in heaven, too, if it could actually suck real debris up off my living room floor.  It seems somewhat unfair that this tiny vacuum cleaner makes all the right noises, but doesn’t do any real work, while Thing 2 drags it around my house, pretending to clean things for me.

IMG_7613 IMG_7614 IMG_7639 IMG_7641The boy loves calligraphy, and Mam and Pa found him some neat pens and a “how-to” book.

IMG_7615 IMG_7633 IMG_7616 IMG_7617 IMG_7618 IMG_7621 IMG_7626 IMG_7628 IMG_7623 IMG_7629IMG_7630 IMG_7631After all the Christmas fallout had been picked up, and the wrapping paper had been shoved into Hefty garbage bags, The Littles enjoyed story time with Mam and Uncle B.

IMG_7644 IMG_7645We had a very relaxing morning at Mam and Pa’s house.  Mam unveiled the ham and potatoes at high noon, so we commenced with Eating, Round Two.  We loafed around the house, watching the kids play with their new loot and laughing our heads off at old memories that were told.

It was a very good Christmas morning.

At 2:00, we peeled ourselves out of Mam’s sofa, loaded our boys up into the car, and we drove to Small Mountain Town (which is just twenty miles away) to have Christmas with Grammy and Papa and Hubs’ brothers’ families and his sister.

Every single year, before any of the cousins can even think about touching a present, we make them all squeeze together on the sofa for a group shot.  It’s tradition.  They’ve done it for so many years in a row, they even know WHERE to sit… who is on what end of the sofa… who is sitting on a lap and who isn’t.  They’ve recreated the first group photo, year after year after year, for about a dozen years now.

This year, though?  Well… it was a TOUCH WEIRD, because Big Cousin H is TWENTY, which means he’s basically a MAN now…

… and he has a beard!

It was a little unreal to see a beard show up in the kids’ group photograph, but apparently you can grow those things when you’re in college.

IMG_7647And then, after they’d all said, “Cheese!” and smiled for their picture, we turned them loose on their gifts.

IMG_7658 IMG_7666 IMG_7670 IMG_7667 IMG_7663 IMG_7671 IMG_7673 IMG_7672 IMG_7677 IMG_7675 IMG_7679 IMG_7689The boy’s Apple laptop at home is an old one, that Hubs refurbished for him several years ago.  It’s always done everything a small boy needed it to do, until he hit high school.  Now, he uses it for all of his classes, as most of his advanced classes have their textbooks and assignments online.

And… now his Apple keeps powering down quite randomly, causing him severe frustration, because MOM!  I JUST LOST THE ASSIGNMENT I’D BEEN WORKING ON FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES!

Never underestimate the length of fifteen minutes.  To a fifteen-year-old boy doing homework, that might as well be ALL DAY LONG.

So… Grammy and Papa asked if they could bless him with a new laptop for Christmas.  He was a bit excited about it.

IMG_7680 IMG_7681 IMG_7683 IMG_7686 IMG_7690And?  Can we pause for a moment and talk about Cousin M’s hair?

Because I am in love with that thick, flowing mane.  I think it’s because his hair, at the age of twelve, is more luxurious than anything I’ve ever been able to grow in my entire life.  I hope he never cuts it.

IMG_7691 IMG_7692And here’s the beard again…

.. that keeps showing up on one of our CHILDREN.

GAH!  I don’t know how any of us is old enough to have a beard-grower for a son!

IMG_7693 IMG_7694 IMG_7696 IMG_7699 IMG_7701 IMG_7705 IMG_7703 IMG_7718 IMG_7738 IMG_7770

IMG_7729Grammy and Papa decided that it would be fun to give every family a Swagway, and the kids about hit the ceiling with excitement when she passed a big box out to us and each of Hubs’ brothers and their kiddos.

Swagways!

The chargers went into the walls, the batteries were juiced up, and then our band of children went hog wild on those things.

Here’s what I’ve learned about Swagways…

1.  If you’re a teenager or a pre-teen, you can learn to ride one in less than five minutes.

2.  If you’re a teenager or a pre-teen, you will be a professional Swagway user by the time you’ve been toying around with one for thirty minutes.

3.  If you’re a teenager or a pre-teen, within sixty minutes of owning one, you will be able to race at break-your-neck-in-half speeds and twirl them and hop the edges of area rugs on hardwood floors, without even missing a beat.  You will also be able to play a nice, wild game of Tag with your cousins within that first hour, too, and nobody will fall off.

4.  If you’re a parent… especially if you’re a parent in your forties… you will wipe out, fall off, injure yourself and kill your pride dead the very first time you set foot on one.

5.  If you’re a parent… especially if you’re a parent in your forties… you will be nursing your wounds on the leather sofa five minutes after you first tried the Swagway, and you will declare them dead to you, as you also declare that you’re glad to not be dead yourself.

(Not that I’m pointing any fingers, but… Hubs… Brother… Me.)

(My elbow is still suffering.  I have a blood blister, inside of a scab, inside of a floor burn, inside of a bruise the size of Texas.)

(It’s like the Turducken of injuries.)

(The only positive thing that I can say is AT LEAST I DIDN’T BREAK A HIP AT MY AGE.)

(I’m not so sure about Brother’s left hip.  I think his pride prevented him from admitting that maybe he’s going to need replacement surgery right directly.)

IMG_7733 IMG_7728 IMG_7723 IMG_7736Thing 2 became a total ride mooch, once the boy and Miss A decided that he didn’t weigh enough to propel one on his own.  Everyone took turns zipping all over Grammy’s house, with Thing 2 balanced on the tops of their feet.

IMG_7741 IMG_7744 IMG_7755 IMG_7760 IMG_7795IMG_7745IMG_7773 IMG_7779 IMG_7788 IMG_7792 IMG_7774 IMG_7803After the majority of the wrapping paper was stuffed into the recycling bin, Grammy unveiled her prime rib and ham and cheese sliders.  She set out the veggie trays and the crackers and the dips and the fruit.  She put sugar cookies and fudge and candied pretzels and green popcorn balls and eggnog logs on a giant platter.

And Eating, Round Three for us got underway.

Sadly, a Swagway accident wasn’t aerobic enough to burn off any of the calories we consumed on Christmas Day.

Apparently, that’s what New Year’s resolutions are for.

And that, y’all, was our Christmas.

It was good to be together with everyone.  It was good to laugh and love on the kids and split our sides open howling with the giggles over the adults falling off the Swagways.

Christmas 2015 will go down in our memories as a very precious time.

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone.

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