So anyway, I shall present to you the highlights of Christmas 2012.
We left last Saturday, but not until we put away our own gifts and cleaned the house. We also stopped for lunch since there was nothing left to eat. We arrived at my parents with enough time to unpack, say our hellos and then set off again to drop the kids off at Nonnie's with a babysitter because our first event of the season was my brother Micah's 3rd Annual Gingerbread House Contest.
This was Jon's and my first year. We've been thinking and planning our house for weeks. We thought we had a unique, very Coastie-like idea. Ironically, we weren't the only ones who thought of doing a lighthouse.
Not that it mattered because the evening was all in good fun! Jared and Miss Kylee took home the overall prize for their masterful log cabin.
And Nonnie and Poppie took home the Most Creative prize for their genius nativity.
The following evening we celebrated Jon's 30th birthday with his parents, sisters and brothers-in-law. Hubby loves him some sushi so my in-laws chose a Japanese grill and, at the suggestion of Jon's sister Katie, we all went with the all-you-can-eat buffet. Let's just say some of us, more than others, really got their money's worth.
Jon HATES being sung to, especially at restaurants. So his mom decided that we would not only sing him "Happy Birthday," but do so whilst wearing some hill-billy teeth.
Let's just say it's really hard to sing and keep your teeth in at the same time.
Jon specifically asked for no party to celebrate his big 3-0 so we kept things low-key with a small "campaign" theme. All of Jon's family, high school buddies and Academy friends joke about his political future. And while I have no aspirations of becoming First Lady, it's always fun to play up the story. So I made everyone "campaign" buttons to wear during dinner.
Compliments of Wikipedia, I rounded up some trivia concerning the year 1982 and organized the questions into ballot form for a game to play while waiting for our food. And finally, in lieu of placemats, each person had their own map of the United States at their seat along with some crayons. The challenge was to color in any state that you think Jon has visited (airport stops no included).
It was a fun evening with fabulous food and fantastic company. Of course, there's nothing quite so refreshing as a lengthy dinner out without children in tow!
Speaking of the children, Marmie and Poppa offered to watch all three and even used up the leftover gingerbread supplies to help the boys with their own creations!
We've come to terms with the fact that when we travel, we will get sick. I did my best to stock up on echinacea and vitamin C but it was clear by Sunday that Julia was coming down with something. And when Girlfriend doesn't feel well, she doesn't sleep well. After a while we gave up and put her in our bed. Soon after that Jack started crying. And then he was complaining that his ear hurt ... So Jon ended up spending the night with Jack in his bed and Julia slept with me in ours. Poor thing, every time she coughed she'd scoot a little. I eventually ran out of pillows to buffer her with and some time around 3am she coughed herself right out of bed - right out of a very high bed onto a very hard wood floor. It was terrible. She was a mess, I was upset. I don't remember much sleeping afer that.
Thankfully all was well come morning and you really can't be too down the day before Christmas! We spent it at Nonnie and Poppie's house with the rest of our rowdy crew. With a total of 10 grandkids (and counting), 8 of which are boys, holidays at the in-laws are a whole lot of merry and not much peace. Such is life with kids! We did manage the Christmas story and candlelighting (this year we decided to transition from real flames to electric bulbs). No pictures though since Jon and I are officially outnumbered these days!
|She's in a Poppie-arm-rubbing trance.|
It didn't stop there either. Two more storms dumped somewhere around a foot of snow in the region which afforded the boys plenty of opportunities to sled, build snow forts and throw snow balls! While I did pack snow clothes for the kids I wasn't fully prepared because Jude's boots were so small he couldn't even slip his foot into them. So for the first day we just tied plastic grocery bags over his shoes. He was not a fan.
The second time we ended up cutting slits in his boots (they were yard sale treasures anyway), putting his feet in plastic bags first, then putting them in his boots and taping the slit shut with some duct tape. Not very pretty but it did the trick! Jude doesn't like the cold much anyway so we just needed something to get him an opportunity to sample all the activities winter has to offer!
|Not just for the little kids...|
It's funny, isn't it, which gifts really set the kids off? Forget the "big" ones that took up most of the budget, or even the gifts that I researched and researched, believing they'd be a big hit. Nope. Know what gifts my boys enjoyed the most? Two little lizard toys that Marmie picked up at the Dollar Store. Maybe it's because they didn't have to open a box and a half-dozen twisty ties, or wait for daddy to dig out some batteries, or share with each other since they each had one. But the slithery little lizards were a big hit. And Julia? Girlfriend was crazy for her new bike helmet. She carried it right over to me, did her little "uh-uh" noise that translates to "put this on for me now, mom!" and then walked around showing everyone her new hat. Sometimes I have to wonder, deep down inside is it possible that she realizes that that bike helmet is her ticket to toddlerhood? The Little Miss has arrived, and come this summer Poppa will have to start splitting his bike rides three ways. (Well maybe not, word on the street is Jack has topped off the weight limit and may need to learn to ride his own bike.)
The day after Christmas Uncle Micah invited us up to his house to get snowed in and play games, namely Settlers of Catan. I won both rounds, which means I now love this game and am willing to take on any and all challengers!
The day after that was Christmas with Grammie and Grandpa.
Do you know who is the worst with Christmas presents? This girl:
Not only does she open them out of turn, but she also opens gifts that are not hers, and she was right there lending a hand when Grammie and Grandpa were working on theirs. She also took a liking to Grandpa, immediately showing off her new walking moves to him and then attempting to pull him right off the couch herself.
While she's definitely a Mama's girl (and infinitely more so when she's not feeling well), she does eventually warm up. And she has a soft spot for her grandpas!!
On the 28th Jon's parents took us to Sight and Sound to see Jonah. I've been wanting to go to this theater for years and was thrilled to finally have the experience! The show was fantastic but I was especially impressed with the scenery! We only had a enough time to go to the show and come right home (at 1am!), so next time (I hope) I'd love to explore Lancaster a little bit more!
The 29th it snowed, and snowed. We were supposed to have our annual get-together with some family friends but it got canceled. We didn't really mind the break though because by that night Jack was starting to come down with something too. He ended up staying home from church with Marmie the next day while I took the other two. It was just me because Jon and my brothers took my dad to the Steelers game for his Christmas present. My dad has been a lifelong Steelers fan so it was exciting to finally get him to his first game! I was content to stay at home and watch on TV though, a little too cold for me!
Jack seemed to be improving as the day went along so I took him on a "date" to an old theater to watch "Wreck it Ralph." You wouldn't have known it by looking at him, but he was pretty excited. He's going through that stage where he purposely defies me. So I'll say "Did you like the movie?" and he'll say "No." But seriously, the kid couldn't take his eyes off the screen (which he had been asking all day if it was larger than "this big"). Regardless of his lack of emotion, I had a great time. It was a very cute and creative movie, and I was happy for a chance at some one-on-one time before we head into the crazy new year.
Which is where we are now. January 1 and all I can think about are the bags that still need unpacked, the presents that need put away, the decorations that need taken down, and the appointments that need rescheduled. Thankfully Jon has off the rest of the week because I could use some help to get our feet back on the ground before welcoming in the new year. I want to do it properly, with goals and plans and a clean house. But first I gotta start with the little things - like getting kids healthy and maybe buying a few groceries. We can't live off Christmas cookies forever!
Happy New Year!