Happy New Year!
Here is my super long Christmas post, just skim through the photos and then hop over to Immortality Art for the link for more shots if you like.
Well I thought I might have some free time before now, but I haven't really. Christmas has been wonderful, fabulous in fact. I have so enjoyed spending time with my family, especially with hubby being home. I am now uploading 350 photos from my camera of Christmas and skiing, hopefully I have some good shots to share.
I never actually get around to blogging about special days here, usually I am too exhausted after a holiday to actually write about it and this year was no exception. I am determined to do a Christmas post though, even if it is late.
When we finally all got home on Christmas eve, we ordered pizza and sat down together. It was almost seven so hubby pulled up the NORAD Santa tracker on the laptop. The kids see that Santa is on the East coast of South America, then North America and Canada! Monkey boy is gone like a flash. We start calling his name, "Monkey! What are you doing? Where did you go?"
Monkey yells back, "I am in bed, Santa is in Canada, I have to get to SLEEP!"
We finally convinced him that he had a few hours and that he could come and do our Advent Bible reading and open his Christmas jammies first.
So we did that, got in our jammies, had some hot cocoa and put out cookies for Santa. The kids all got in bed and the work for Mommy and Daddy continued. We cleaned up for a while, waiting until the big guys were sleeping and then I continued wrapping presents while St. Nick was building toys. Girly got a beautiful wooden dollhouse (all in pieces) and Monkey got some dino playmobil, so there was a lot of building.
At one point I heard the big boys' door open, I popped up from the couch and yelled for them to stay in there room. Santa, Daddy and I hid all the toys and stuff in the front entry so the kids could get up and use the bathroom. When I looked at the clock it was 2am! We got them back in bed and finished up the preparations. By the time we got in bed, it was after 3. Guess who was up at 4am?! Girly!
She plopped herself in our bed, and proceeded to toss and turn and chat with me. She kept asking if Santa had come yet. I guess she was too excited to sleep. Her Daddy's snoring from the other side of the bed grew increasingly annoying as the minutes ticked away. Eventually we all fell back asleep and I was awakened at about 8:30am by the excited exclamations of my two blond boys, my middle boys, my off the wall, kamikaze boys. They were chattering back and forth about what Santa had brought and I rushed to get dressed so that I could capture their sweet, joyous faces with my camera and in my heart.
The other 3 occupants of my bed were not so alert. Girly, Zed and Brent remained asleep through my furtive getting ready, but by the time I was ready to go downstairs, they were awakened and eagerly anticipating what awaited us downstairs.
We had a lovely morning together, opening gifts, playing and laughing. It was just the seven of us, and it was perfect. (Even though I had spent a good hour or so crying the night before because I missed my sisters, my family so much, and neither of Brent's parents were going to come in the morning either.) Zed was so happy and content, chattering and laughing away, I remarked that he must be so pleased to have us all together.
Girly was super pleased to have received a crown in her stocking, it was the only thing she had asked Santa for. She immediately put it and the matching jewels on over her jammies. Daddy kept remarking at how different she was from the boys. She methodically opened each gift, exclaiming in joy and thanking the giver with big hugs and kisses. She was slow and careful to their frantic ripping open, equally enjoying each moment and each gift without thinking to the next. It was sweet and special. We all take turns opening gifts, one at a time so that we can enjoy each other's receiving as well as our own. That is always a lesson in torture for the boys, but not her.
Monkey loved his playmobil and big boy lego. He was ecstatic over his little fish tank from his aunt. Superboy and The Boy were also psyched over new video games and things. Superboy told us that he believed in Santa again, because Santa brought him a video game that he really wanted, but had never asked for.
The kids all received skis and books from us, both of which brought joy to their hearts. Even though all the skis weren't new, they were still thankful and eager to hit the slopes. Superboy loves skiing more than anything else. With the Christmas money we got from some of our relatives we bought a ski pass to a local hill. Brent and I both were in agreement that the best gift we could give the kids is time together as a family, especially being active together, so skiing fit perfectly. (plus I cashed in my 8000 airmiles on gift cards for the sport store. Unfortunately the GC's only came in $25 increments. You should have seen the look on the guy's face as we forked over our handfuls of giftcards!)
Santa brought me a Garmin GPS unit and although I had stated that I didn't want any electronics for Christmas, I had really wanted a GPS, so I was pleased. I also got some clothes shopping money, which is good since I can't fit anything I own!
Brent got a snowboard, goggles and a retro hockey jersey. When Superboy and I went shopping for Daddy together, I had shown him the goggles and suggested that they might make a great present for him and his siblings to give their dad. I knew that Brent wouldn't spend the money on himself and I wanted something to be a surprise for him as he had picked out his own snowboard. Superboy wasn't that enthused, especially as I had just told him that I wasn't giving him 40 bucks for the hockey monopoly game that he had wanted to buy. As we wandered the store looking for a sales associate, there it was, glowing orange and blue. The holy grail of Dad gifts. Super wouldn't let me walk away from it and it's exorbitant price tag. He rifled through the whole rack to find Dad's size, and begged me with big wide eyes, "Please Mom, PLEASE!?!"
I sighed, I had never been able to resist those sweet baby blues, "I'll think about it," and I reached up to take it off the rack. Super knew he had me then and he wisely took the jersey and held it quietly while I finished my shopping.
Later in the day we were all driving together and Super and I were feeling pretty good about our purchase, Brent would never guess, and he had really wanted one of those jerseys. Superboy pipes up from the back of the van, "Dad you are so going to love what we got you!"
And Brent, not having learned this lesson from many similar incidences in the past teases, "What is it? What did you guys get me?"
Monkey excitedly exclaims, "An Oiler's jersey!"
Well, poor Super was almost in tears that our surprise was ruined. Brent made it worse later in the day by asking Super, while they were last minute shopping, if Mommy had bought him a snowboard. Of course, not wanting to lie, Super tells him yes. So Daddy asks if I bought him bindings because if not, there were the ones he wanted on sale. So Brent came home from the store with bindings for his snowboard that he had yet to receive. Oh well... Girly had also told The Boy that Mommy and Daddy bought them all skis, because she was with us when we got the boys' skis and he asked her what we were doing. So much for surprises!
He was at least shocked to receive his ski goggles, check out his, 'I already opened all my presents, what the heck!?' face!
The rest of our day was spent cleaning and cooking and setting the table. Brent's Mom and stepdad and Dad and one brother all came for dinner, so it was a quiet, perfect evening. We are used to a much bigger crowd. We opened more presents and gorged ourselves with food, one of Brent's aunts had sent over some yummy Ukrainian dishes on top of turkey, ham and fixings.
I had one perfect quiet moment that day. Brent had gone to pick up his Dad and I had all the food going and kitchen tidied up and had just finished setting the table and lighting the candles. I sat in the darkening living room in front of the lit tree, candles glowing all around (I adore all the lights of Christmas!) and was just overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment and thankfulness. "Thank you, God," I breathed.
And thankful I truly am. We have had another incredible year. Some huge ups, like Zed's birth, and some wrenching downs, like the dissolving of hubby's company. But here we all are, on the first day of a new year and we are together, healthy and content. So very blessed. Thank you God.
credit for frames: weedsandwildflowersdesign.com