We had a wonderful time celebrating Christmas this year. We started Christmas Eve-Eve, on the 23rd, jetting around a bit and going to Charles' mom's family party. Charles, Dillon, Rose, the Dogs and I opened presents on the morning of the 24th, then went to Nana Joyce & Grandpa Charles' house for a wonderful family celebration which included three kinds of macaroni and cheese (I ate way too much of all three!) and a gift-giving frenzy. Somehow D & Rose were simultaneously opening mountains of presents, so I missed a lot of who-gave-what, which may lead to some vague thank you notes… But Rose received a very cute 'My Little Pony' tea set from her grandparents, and a beauty shop set, complete with plastic lipsticks and other makeup, clip-on earrings, etc. She knew exactly what to do with that, and impressed everyone by putting the 'chap-stit' on right away. Dillon was super-excited about all his presents, especially one of those scary-looking bionicle lego-robot things from Cheri & TJ. It shoots little glow-in-the-dark balls, has a light up skull, and I am pretty sure it breathes fire or something else.
Today the kids spent the day taking it sort of easy because Rose has a terrible cold (which I am coming down with now as well) and she's doing this incredibly gross sneezing thing that I really don't even want to share. So Charles and I took the opportunity to add shelves into the playroom and rearrange a bit to accomodate the new mountain of toys. And we finally let Rose open the tea set, which has three hundred pieces and so I didn't want it open until we had a place to put it. So the kids played tea party and D wore beautiful clip-on earrings and drank lemon tea with the rest of us. When Rose was napping he assembled his new bionicle, we located the old one, and he played with those for two hours. Then Rose woke up and of course was interested in what D was up to, and he very nicely shared one of his bionicles with her. She gave it a ride in the baby carraige and some tea.
We had a lovely day, though, despite the illnesses, and it was sort of our first day home on our vacation. On Christmas morning, we woke up, checked out what Santa left in the stockings, then packed up a bunch of stuff and the dogs, and headed to my parents house. The tradition has always been that my siblings and I wake at the crack of dawn, make breakfast, get my parents out of bed, and then open presents. Anna called me at 7am to ask where I was (I hadn't even woken the kids up yet).
We wound up getting to my parents' house around 8:30am, Anna and Kate had nicely begun breakfast… Anna had an interesting interpretation on pancakes that Charles and Luke gave her a hard time about. It took us a while to open presents. I am not sure who was more eager: Anna or Dillon. (Most likely Anna, who knew she was getting a letter jacket and just couldn't wait to see it.) More presents were opened, more fun was had… Kate gave Charles a stack of board games along the theme of pirate, ninja, and bible. (Long story.) Charles and I had given each other Carrcassone (a super-fun game) and brought it over, so we started teaching everyone how to play it. Eventually, I had to take a break from the game marathon and help my mom, Charles, Nana, and MaryAnn make manicotti, which we make from scratch every year and it is totally fabulous. Charles borrowed the pasta-making attachment for my mixmaster from a friend, and that made the rolling out the pasta a bit easier, but it's still pretty labor-intensive. We ate, played more games, opened more presents, and just generally had a wonderful time. We decided to spend the night so we could hang longer, so we put the kids to bed in Anna's room, and stayed up playing games until after 1am. It was really fun, and so somehow, we also spent the next day and night there. We came home last night, and boy, it was nice to sleep in my bed after being on an air mattress for two nights.
It's kind of weird to sleep over at my parents' house as they only live like, ten minutes away, but we mostly just wanted to stay up late, and it was easier than waking up the kids to bring them home, and we weren't sure about leaving Rose there overnight. It felt like we were visiting from out of town, but it was much easier when my mom found a grocery bag full of stuff we'd left behind and brought it over on her way home from the gym last night.
Overall we've had a really nice Christmas celebration so far! I hope Rose gets over her illness soon, though! We're starting to gear up for the new years eve party at our house…