Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas 2011

What a total and utter blast! We really had a great, great Christmas! We are so blessed! Blessed by family, friends and good health.

Christmas eve this year was the longest day ever! We had some very little bits of last minute shopping to do on Saturday so we divided up and conquered on that front. And then we were all set to do our annual  tradition of opening Christmas gifts with Bill and Linda via Sykpe when we got a text that Linda was in the hospital with a broken finger! We were initially relieved that it was 'just' a broken finger. Linda has had her fair share of hospital stays and is scheduled for more surgery. So while we were sad she was in pain, we were relieved that it was a 'simple' injury! (easy for us to say!)  So instead of opening presents in the morning, we had to come up with plans b and c.

Not easy.  Excited kids. Errands done. Gifts wrapped. Cookies made. So we did crafts. The kids were in great moods! And all of us were so freaking excited!

Some how the hours passed. The radio played Christmas carols. We sang right along as we had done all season. Every once in a while Seren would turn to me and say, "Santa is coming TONIGHT!"

At 4 pm, we headed off to church. We never go to this church. As those who have read may recall, the missing church home continues to bother me on a weekly basis. But this church has a great little service for young kids. It is loud. It is short. It is FULL of squirmy excited bodies. PERFECT!

We walked in and were immediately asked if we wanted to be Shepperd. Seren shyly nodded 'yes'. So she was given a costume and set to work being a Shepperd. She took her role very seriously. But did wave to us several times from stage. She beamed! Wyeth was very intent on listening to the songs. When we sang a Christmas carol he knew (most of them) he would say, "I KNOW THIS ONE!"

By 4:30, the whole thing was done. The kids were invited to visit the 'stage' and look at the manager and straw. They had a blast.

We went home and had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of "different ethnicity". This is purely Sam's idea, of course. The first year, we had matzoh ball soup. Epic fail. The second year we had a labor intensive Finnish meal. The third year, this year, we had Filipino meal. Excellent!  Our family, while keyed up for the upcoming day, was slowly working into a more relaxed rhythm. We have been going, going, going. Sam taught two classes at night since October and we all have been fried. So not only were we looking forward to Christmas, we really looked forward to being together.

Anyway, with dinner consumed, we heard from the grandparents that she was home from the hospital.  The kids each received five gifts from their grandparents. I have to say I was VERY proud of them. No fighting. No tearing at paper. Waiting for the other to open first. And then being VERY gracious when they opened the gift. The kids were THRILLED! And the grandparents liked seeing them on camera in 'real time'.  What a blast!

Then we put our pjs on and waited for Santa on the fire truck. And waited. And waited some more. Sam and I would try to go check when the sirens got louder. But Seren got more and more nervous. At one point, she was shaking. Literally shaking from the excitement of his impending visit.

At 8:20, he finally drove up our street! We waved. Yelled! Cheered! Merry Christmas!

I cried. Again. Of course.

We wrote a note, left out cookies and carrots, said goodnight and that was that!

Sam and I finished up in no time flat. We were ready!  But then I was the one who was too excited! I couldn't sleep! I couldn't wait to see the gifts that Santa brought! What excitement! What build up!

Seren woke up first around 6:15 and Sam went to get her while I got the tree ready and made some coffee. It was here! Finally! CHRISTMAS!

They read some Christmas stories and sang some songs. Wyeth woke up around 6:45 and by 7:00, they made it downstairs and saw the tree and all of the presents.

Seren wanted to immediately open her big gift. She just knew it was the one that Santa brought. Wyeth wanted his mysterious gift too. We did make them wait for the 'big gifts'. But they loved the wait! There were yummy goldfish snacks, fruit snacks and other small treasures in their stockings. Then there were so many other fun things to open! They had a blast!

Seren, especially, loved it all. All of it. She was sad to see that indeed, our elf, Beck, had flown home with Santa. Santa's note confirmed it.

In terms of 'big hits': Wyeth LOVED the 'refurbished' cell phone from my friend Cassie. Loved that! He also adores his chapstick, which he calls his "lips" from Santa.  His new bike was also a hit! So much so that Christmas morning, all four of us were out riding our bikes in our pjs. Awesome!  Seren loved the doll, her Barbie and her doll bunk bed. Oh, how she wanted that bunk bed! And there it was! She also enjoyed the hexbug!

I was proud that they were gracious. And thoughtful in waiting to open things and making sure they each took turns. Seren was a gift giver this year. She went 'shopping' at school. She then lovingly and with MUCH tape, wrapped up presents for all of us. I got a "gorgeous" ring. Sam got a snow globe. Wyeth got a two gifts. The first was a toy dog. The second gift was a zhu zhu pet. And he LOVED it. She was thrilled to give us our gifts.

A bit of a sad moment came when Seren realized that Dad and I didn't get anything from Santa. We explained that he doesn't give adults gifts. That made her feel better. Another sad moment for us came when Wyeth wasn't so gracious. He adamently dismissed gifts that were "clothing". This became a problem when my dear brother gave him a pair of slippers later in the day. He opened them up and then threw off the paper saying, "I don't like these poopy slippers! These are poopy!" Thank God that Uncle John laughed and took it in stride.

We went down to my mom and dad's home right before lunch to spend two nights at their place. As we left on Christmas morning, we noticed that the reindeer had left behind some of the carrots! Chewed carrots were in the driveway! Once there,  it was great to finally see my brother and to enjoy the holidays with family.  My father made a beautiful train for Wyeth. Talk about love! Wyeth hasn't stopped playing with it since Christmas day! They treated us to amazing meals, generous gifts and extra snoozing.  We went on a long walk at a local college, ate a traditional Swiss meal and had fun with new toys. And the gifts kept coming!  It felt like a vacation! It was great to just enjoy Christmas but also to chill from the stress and anticipation of the holidays.

I definately felt a sense of relief on Christmas night. We had made it to Christmas and through Christmas without anyone being gravely ill. The kids had a blast. And we didn't break the bank. Yay thrift stores! And we are overwhelmingly, abudently blessed.

Christmas 2011 rocked.

What  a magical age. They believed it all. Drank in the magic and took us along for the ride. Santa's elves. His reindeer. The whole thing. Loved it!

(pics to come)

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