I woke up at around 8 when Mom came to the door and said that it sounded like the kids really wanted to be up. I said, "Uh, well, Tim will take care of them," or something like that. Then I thought he must be keeping them penned up until I came downstairs so he'd be sure that I'd gotten enough sleep. Very nice of him. Now I was wide awake, and excited for the kids to open their presents.
This year the girls sent lists to Santa that included things like a doll high chair, stroller, and crib. (Along with a whole host of other random things like a "family of snakes" -- I think all of their inspiration came from a single catalog that was lost soon after.) The dolls had me scratching my head since those girls haven't ever shown much interest in dolls. But if they were going to go with a doll theme this Christmas, that was A-okay with me. As a little girl I loved my dolls and playing pretend more than just about anything. I was VERY excited about dolls and doll stuff for my girls. One of the first things the girls opened was a set of coordinated Dollie & Me pajamas. Then they each opened their very own American Doll Bitty Baby. They seemed pleased, and they didn't wonder why Santa hadn't brought the crib, stroller, and whatever else they'd asked for (we knew that there would also be some things waiting under the tree at home). They're good kids and they know that a wish list is just that -- a list of things they wish for but may or may not get. They also got some other toys and books and stuffed animals. I think Timmy's favorite present was his fire truck with lights and sounds.
After opening presents, Mom made us all breakfast and then we spent the whole first half of that day just lazing around and letting the kids play with their new toys. I put Annie and Timmy down for an early nap because early that afternoon we would go to my dad's brother Paul's house for an extended family Christmas celebration. While they were sleeping, Grace brought my parents' dog Georgie over so that Delaney could give her a Christmas present that Tim had taken her out to buy with her own money. It was a tennis ball. Delaney was crazy about Georgie, but the day we arrived, Mom had Grace take her home with her for the next few days. Annie was petrified of her. She is a ferocious-looking little beast, isn't she?
After Annie and Timmy got up we got ready and headed out to my aunt and uncle's house. We hadn't seen many of the relatives on my dad's side in a long while, so we spent the first several minutes meeting and greeting, and even introducing the kids to some of them. After pointing out the kids to my uncle Mark and telling him their names and ages, he said, "Is that all?" I laughed, "Yeah, that's all. Isn't that enough?" He deadpanned, "Not in this family." Touche, Uncle Mark.
|Grandma and I|
Pictures, pictures, and more pictures.
I wanted to get a picture of Tim and me and the kids too, but Timmy started to flip out and I didn't want to force it. Oh well.
|Anna must kiss her 1000 times a day.|
|Sophie and Damien|
|Siblings Mark, Paul, Linda and my dad|
After a couple hours, we, along with my siblings and parents, made our way back to Mom and Dad's. Scotty and little Scotty came over (the girls were a little under the weather that day). I started to feel a little sad again, knowing that would be the last I'd see of them for awhile.
|Finally a picture of all the siblings|
|And Delaney with one of her favorite Santa presents, Chesty Jr|
After they'd all left except Grace, and we'd gotten the kids to bed, we watched It's a Wonderful Life. I'd been wanting Tim to see it for years, but had never been able to catch it on TV. I felt like I was seeing it for the first time, noticing so many things I'd missed all the other times. I love that movie.
We left the next morning around 7:30, then came back 15 minutes later for my sunglasses, then left again. Tim drove the first half of the trip, and I took the wheel somewhere in the mountains in West Virginia so he could have a nap. We had just topped off the gas tank and coaxed two scared little girls into using the bathrooms in a cruddy gas station bathroom with REALLY loud hand dryers. I was annoyed by how much time we had spent there and I wanted to see how far we could go without stopping again. The answer: all the way home. Nobody needed the bathroom, we had plenty of gas, and I was eager to make up for the lost time spent backtracking to pick up my sunglasses. Also, this was easy driving. The only part that was a little unnerving was keeping up with the flow of traffic that was going 75 up and down winding mountain roads. Other than that it was easy-peasy. At last we were on that last long stretch of highway before home, and Tim was telling me how he wanted me to position the car in the driveway.
"I'm glad you brought that up because I would have forgotten and just driven it into the garage." We had a rooftop carrier. Tim turned to me and said, "Do not park in the garage. Do NOT park in the garage." I said, "You'll have to remind me again." "Do not park in the garage." Then the kids took up the chant: "Do not park in the garage! Do not park in the garage!" They did this for the next seven minutes, all the way home. And I did not park in the garage. I wonder how many people have forgotten about their rooftop carriers and just driven into the garage? It would be easy to do if you're a person accustomed to parking in the garage. We got home at 7, so it took 11 hours from the time I got my sunglasses. Not bad.
Inside the house, a big surprise waited. Santa had left some presents here too, and there were lots of gifts from family in Massachusetts. We have some lucky kids! We Skyped with Tim's parents so they could see them opening everything up. It was another flurry of wrapping paper, and then pajamas, prayers and bedtime for the kiddos. Tim and I unloaded and unpacked as much as we could before we too fell into bed exhausted.
That's it. Another wonderful Christmas in the books. And a new year right around the corner. I can't wait to see what it holds for us.