Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Whew!

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but I wish that someone would invent another holiday just for tired people who are wiped out from the Big Day. Actually, I wish there could be some wacky new law that MAKES tired moms lay down on the sofa while someone else swoops in to clean up the mess, organize the toys, put away the Christmas dishes and take down the tree and decorations. Around here, the next day was just "Tuesday". Not nearly as restful.

Don't get me wrong -- it was a wonderful holiday, but sheesh -- I'm beat.

Mitchell was like a rubber ball bouncing around the house the ENTIRE day on Christmas Eve. He was so excited, he just couldn't stand it. Bless his heart, he wasn't trying to be naughty or not listen, he just could not control himself. To get him dressed was like trying to nail jello to a tree. He was on full throttle, jumping, squirming, giggling, you name it -- he was doing it.

We always have a big Christmas Eve dinner at my parents' house and this year was no exception. 20 adults and 6 kids. Chaos.

Santa always makes a visit at the end of the night and it's so fun to watch the kids and their reactions. I was hopeful that maybe this year Mitchell might be brave enough to give him a hug, but I guess the plus side to that not happening is that he didn't end up getting close enough to figure out that it was my father in law. (Bought another year on that front.) Georgia sat on Santa's lap and just stared with wide-eyed wonder. She didn't cry at all -- just stared. The second Santa walked in, Mitchell hit the floor like you're supposed to do if there's a gunman in the room. He hid behind my legs and said "I just want to LOOK at him." (This is code for PLEASE don't make me go near him, but I really do like him.)

Santa always knows JUST who will be at dinner and has a gift for each one of them and calls them up by name. My cousin's kids had the routine down pat -- listen for your name, turn around and pose for the paparrazi. My nephew did the same thing. Mitchell snuck up there, reached out on his tippy toes to get the present and ran off as soon as he could. As I already said, Georgia just stared and stared.

Our tradition is that the kids get to open one gift on Christmas Eve and it's always Christmas pj's. (This is one I carried over from my own childhood.) We put the kiddos in their jammies and headed off for 11 pm church service. This has *never* been a problem, as Mitchell always just sleeps through it or cuddles up on us and lays down quietly. Well....it seems that Miss G has new plans for our family on Christmas Eve...and they won't include the 11pm service.

They were both sacked out when we arrived to the church at 10:30. We got them out, went inside and found a seat in the back on the aisle. Mitchell curled up on Chris and went right back to sleep. Georgia? No, no, no. Georgia might miss something if she did that. If you are holding her, no matter HOW tired she is, she refuses to close her eyes or put her head down. She has to stand up, look around, and check it all out. She just fussed and squirmed, and squirmed and fussed some more. Finally at 10:55 we decided not to ruin the service for everyone else and packed it in for the night. Bummer -- that was Chris' and my favorite thing to do. Oh well -- we'll get there again eventually, but it might have to be a mid-day Christmas service or an early afternoon one for the next few years from now on.

When we got home, Mitchell was too sleepy to help put out cookies, milk and celery with me so I did it for him. He snuggled into his bed and went right to sleep. I was exhausted and told Chris I'd rather just get up early instead of staying up late. He said that was fine and only asked if I'd get him some water when I went downstairs to get something. As I was downstairs, I started looking around at all of the stuff I needed to do before breakfast and that was all I needed to get a second wind. I went upstairs with the water and to tell Chris that I changed my mind but he was already asleep, so I headed back down.

It ended up being kind of nice -- a little quiet time for myself to reflect on the blessings of the season. I got a lot done but I enjoyed the time alone with my thoughts more than anything. I have so very, very much to be thankful for and I took some time to say some prayers for people in my life (and even some I don't know) whose holidays I know were not quite as merry.

In the morning, I got up at 7 (I was going to get up at 6 but couldn't drag myself out of bed) and got Mitchell all set up with his Cars movie in our room. I shut the gate and told him he needed to stay up there till we told him he could come down. Chris came down with me and soon Georgia did, too. We got the food going, the table set, etc. Both of our parents came along with my grandma and we had a wonderful morning together.

When it was finally time for the kids to come down and check out the goodies that Santa had left, I think that Mitchell was a little overwhelmed. He was very reserved, quiet, and shy. He didn't dive in like we all thought he would -- I don't know if he was extra tired or if he was sort of taken aback by a roomful of grandparents and cameras. Either way, he definitely warmed up and soon became immersed in all the glory that Christmas morning is when you are a 4 year old boy. Package after package brought all of his wishes and dreams come true. It was a fun thing to watch, but almost as fun for Chris and I were watching the faces of all of the grandparents -- I'm not sure who was happier. His favorite gifts included all of the "Cars" die cast characters (Ramon, Flo, Red, Stanley, Lightning, Mater) but most of all "The King" . We'd been hearing about "The King" for weeks, so it was so much fun to see him light up. He also got a big Fast Talking Lightning McQueen, and a remote control train. The list goes on and on, of course. Sigh.

As for Georgia, she was happy shuffling between the bows, ribbons, paper and all of Mitchell's stuff. She loved her Sesame Street Purse from Mommy and Daddy and tried to kiss Elmo through the packaging. I think her favorite gift of the day was the Night Glow Pooh from my parents. Mitchell loves playing it for her and she would just smile, laugh, and smother Pooh with hugs and kisses. It really is cute, so I can't blame her there.

Anyway -- after all of our guests left, we were left to start cleaning up the mess (HA!!), put the kids down for a nap/rest, and get ready for dinner at my in-laws. We headed over there and had a WONDERFUL evening with them. It was kind of funny -- last year, we went dressed casually and my BIL/SIL were dressed up so we decided we needed to dress up this year. We arrived and my SIL was in her pajamas, using our casual dress from last year as her reasoning. We agreed that next year, none of us would go above casual...HOORAY!! Dinner was delicious, the company was so enjoyable and the kids had a ball. At one point we caught Mitchell and his cousin Madison (a year younger almost to the day) double fisting Papa's peppermint bark behind the kitchen counter. Too funny! His most prized gift of this party was by far Cranky the Crane and Georgia enjoyed getting a Glow Worm.

When we got home, we got the car unloaded, the kids in their jammies, and into bed. Then Chris and I did our own gift exchange. We plugged in our little Charlie Brown tree -- it's a little 2 feet (that's being generous) tree that I got at a craft fair years and years ago. We sit by it every year for our gift exchange and I think it's one of our more romantic traditions, personally. We each have a drink and take turns opening presents. It worked out this year that we each had exactly the same number...usually I open more than he does. After we were done opening gifts, we sat and read the year in review book together. My husband started this tradition when we were dating and I adore it. In 2001, it was my last Christmas gift from him -- a 30 page review of the year together. In the end he said that he hoped we could take turns giving the book to each other and that it would become a lasting history for our children. It's just so neat and every year you end up laughing, crying and saying "Oh YEAH...I'd forgotten about that!" I only made it through February so far, but he'll get the rest by New Year's.

Anyway -- after that, we headed upstairs with aspirations for some continuing romance but before you know it, we were both asleep. Oh well -- we'll make up for that later!

Last night we concluded the Christmas chaos with dinner at my parents' house to exchange gifts with my brother's family. All four of our kids are around the same age, with Mitchell being the oldest so you can imagine that it was neither quiet nor dull around there. It was fun to watch the kids play together and open their gifts...the highlight of THIS opening party was a Thomas watch and some VERY cute clothes for Georgia.

I'm about ready to fall over from being so tired, but I should count my blessings. I realize how lucky I am to have so many places to go, gifts to give, gifts to open, meals to prepare and eat, and most importantly, people to love and love me back.

It was a wonderful Christmas...and I didn't even mention this, but it was even a White Christmas, too!

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Renee said...

Sounds like a warm n snuggly Christmas weekend. Yay! You deserve it, girl. You're the best. I love ya!