This year, we
- visited Bethlehem and finally saw the Christmas camel (hurumph)
- had Grandma visit us
- went to a movie with the whole gang and sat through the whole thing
- Christmased (with friends) on Thursday
- and Christmased some more (at Grandpa and Grandma's) on Friday
- and Christmased some more (at our house) on Saturday
- and went to church in the morning and then at night and then Christmased some more (stockings) on Sunday
- napped (at least, Maverick did)
- determined it is, in fact, impossible to get a decent group picture
- drove Grandma to the airport in Richmond on Monday
- visited the Richmond Goodwill (where we made $1.00 after buying our purchases and having a man from a large family hand Gideon a wad of money and refuse to take it back) and Trader Joe's (I'm glad we don't have a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods here...it makes them ***so fun*** to visit)
- undecorated right away on Tuesday (aaack!!! Get this stuff out of here!!!)
- learned new games and skills to accompany new gifts
- and are getting back into the routine.
Two new subjects arrive via post tomorrow, and then the children will be back in the land of learning. Because schoolbooks=learning, right?
I think my favorite things from this year were having Ethan's mom here, our late-night struggling through gift choices for my side of the family (Amazon's listmania was a lifesaver!), my brother's sauerbraten (my mouth waters at just the thought of it), and having the children draw names for present-giving. We've traditionally done the Dollar Store or say-it's-from-the-whole-gang routes, but this year we told them they would draw names. They loved the idea. We hit Target, divided into three groups with Ethan, his mother, and myself as the heads, and tried to avoid each other in the toy aisles. The children were deliberate and careful in their choosing, and the anticipation of receiving their own special gift was fun to watch. (Also, they kept their secrets! Amazing!)
Ethan's mom set up gift-wrapping shop in her room, and the children had their gifts wrapped soon after we got home. Miriam (6) made her own tag for Eden (4) (shown above).
It was a good, full Christmas. I dealt with my usual humbugness (only slightly vocally) and enjoyed the music and the lights and the excitement of the children.
And now I'm listening to pasta boil on the stove, children gleefully throwing blocks down the hallway, and Salem chatting away on her new "cell phone." The starlings and house finches and cardinals are flitting around the suet cage just outside the window, and I know what we're having for supper.
I'm a very contented mama.