I have good reasons for my month long hiatus. The biggest reasons involved rampant, recurrent disease among all four of us and a heart and soul crushing divorce mediation that was scheduled for the 23rd (Christmas Eve Eve.) I DARE you to get yourself into the Christmas mood after one of those. But, we did get quite a bit done, even by my holiday tradition standards. 3/4 of it took place before the plague hit our house or it wouldn't have happened at all. I give you...the non-sucky parts of December 2010
In the three inches of snow and on the slight incline in our side yard, the boys got an afternoon of sledding in. It made me miss the sledding hill right outside our back gate at the old house. I rewarded their determination by yanking on the rope so that they would fly over the several feet of lawn available instead of lazily sliding. But they were in charge of walking the sled back to the top :-)
Gingerbread Houses. Junior was very meticulous about his set up. Bubba just snuck all of his candy. Anything that actually made it onto the house was eventually pilfered by Sis.
Each child has a box with the ornaments that are specifically theirs. These come from Grandma W. who hand makes one each year for all the grandkids in the tradition of her mother. As J had all of his from growing up, we had a few christmases of generational ornaments on the tree. Every year the kids also received from us (now from me) something that described their year (i.e. Bubba got hulk once because thats who he pretended to be that most of the year. Junior got a small giraffe when it became clear that Raffi was here to stay, etc.) Also into their boxes go any of their own home made ornaments from school and church. I expect that someday they will open their box of all the ornaments they have collected and...have their first fight with their spouse about a pretty tree vs. a tree with character. In the meantime, I get a kick out of choosing the ornament each year. They all have a story attached.
Rather than fight the crowds at Temple Square, we met up with the Bradshaws and Jessica and Co. to see the zoolights. It was totally worth it. Much more kid friendly and not packed.
The highlight seems to have been the gift shop. I feel like I am doing something wrong...
Because I have enough ornaments to fill several trees, I have started to put up two. The white one is the kids tree and the 'real tree' is for everything else we can fit on it. I have been blessed with mad tree skills and was able to drag the tree in and set it up on my own for the second year in a row. I can't do Algebra, make a decent pancake or balance my checkbook, but I CAN show that evergreen who is boss. Junior liked putting on the lights. To untangle them, he just shook them and it worked every time. Who knew?
Sis appreciated the tinsel. By the end of the night, she had consistently stolen several lower strands that she draped over her like a feather boa and walked around preening and saying 'pretty' (and she was.)
All done! Most of our pictures these days look like this, with someone hanging onto Sis as she tries to escape.
Sis got dumped in bed and the boys and I had hot chocolate (which turned into a marshmallow slurping contest) and watched The Muppet Christmas Carol. I enjoyed it, but Junior asked if next year we could watch a show with words he understands.
Sis went on a sleeping strike and ended up hanging out with me late into the evening helping me bake things. The next goal is to teach our little Cinderella how to make delicious yet nutritious meals for a family of four. This time she just assisted with the cookies for our cookie decorating party with our friends Jessica, Cherisse and thier kids.
Then this happened....
Everyone got sick. In fact, Bubba managed to get strep throat, a (really, really expensive) abcessed tooth and bronchitis all in the same week. Sis got an ear infection along with whatever evil virus Junior and I also picked up. In ten days, we went to the doctor six times, the dentist three times (once for Bubba's sedated treatment) and sat in 3 different pharmacies for a collective total of a two hours to get antibiotics for everyone (two different kinds for Bubba who then showed that he was allergic to them by coming out in little red spots). Fortunately, J was on hand for much of the cranky kid, doctor's office wrestling. One of the days, we were all so sick that I called my mom to come sit with kids so I could sleep before I mercy killed us all! Then I got better, but I lost my voice which made yelling at my kids (or even being heard by them) really hard :-)
Everyone recovered in time for Christmas Eve. We had our yearly fondue dinner with some family and friends and I realized I didn't take a single picture. If you need proof, ask Phread or Mak or La Yen's sister about it. It was yummy! I took many pictures of the kids in their Christmas Eve jammies but in all of them, Bubba either has his eyes scrunched shut or his finger up his nose to be silly. And in all of them, Sis is on the verge of escaping. This was literally the best one I got. You get the idea...This is my favorite Christmas jammies year.
This is Junior's 'handsome face.' We decorated cookies and put egg nog out for Santa in the 'special cup' (which is actually one of the goblets I got in Scotland that we used for our wedding reception). They are one of the things I couldn't bring myself to get rid of in the move, so they have been re-purposed. The boys get a kick out of drinking from them on holidays.
Merry Christmas! This is what the kid tree looks like after it has been knocked over three separate times.
Junior's favorite gift was his new DS.
Sis loved her new dollhouse
Bubba just couldn't decide...(Santa hopes that it is the walkie talkies that heaven and earth were moved to locate!)
Some children sleep with teddy bears. Not mine.
Uncle Jeff came to install our awesome Christmas gift from him (Roku) and help me wrestle the kids at Chuck E. Cheese and worry that his cool new glasses make him look like Drew Carey (they don't.) We miss our Uncle Jeff (he used to mow my lawn for me in exchange for dinner sometimes...)
Also not pictured ( I forgot my camera) is my family get together on New Year's Eve day. There are too many of us to fit in a house, so we partied in the local church building and ate and traded gifts and ate and hung out and ate and played hearts and ate some more.
The New Year passed quietly here with a new book in front of the fire, leftover turkey croissant sandwiches and a silent prayer of thanksgiving that the worst year ever has finally ended. I'm crossing my fingers for 2011 to be much less eventful and much more peaceful.
So there you go...proof that I did more than hang out at home and forget to answer messages.