Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas hangover

Before I forget - or develop a helpful form of amnesia - about Christmas 2008, I'd better get it down on paper... er, screen.
Matt flew in on Saturday the 20th, snagging the last plane out of Seattle before the Pacific Northwest was shut down for several days. We drove up to Anchorage on Friday to meet him, staying in a lovely hotel with the smartest feature a mother of two can ask for - a door on the bedroom that closes and allows you to have some time to yourself after your children fall asleep - yah!
So when Matt finally arrived, he went back to the hotel with the kids and I hit Target. I left at 11 p.m., by which time my brain had turned to mush. The next morning, after breakfast, I did another several hours of store-hopping. All in all, it was pretty successful, with perhaps the biggest success finding second-hand ski boots for Liam with a tracing of his foot in hand.
So back to Homer we drove in the icy cold, avoiding a storm that was just heading in, and making it most of the way home before Thea got cranky. I wound up at one point sitting between her and Liam in the back seat and trying to keep them both happy while Matt navigated the final 75 miles home - fun!
Then we were home, and it was almost Christmas. A couple days of madness and boom - there it was. Christmas Eve. And as a preview to the big day, Thea began walking. Really walking. Walking everywhere. Fast. Yikes.

We made cookies on Tuesday for our friends in Homer, and after making the holiday bread and setting it aside to rise (which it never does), Liam, Thea and I set out to deliver the cookies while Matt stayed home on wrapping duty. Nothing like delivering cookies to put you in the holiday spirit.

We have a couple Christmas traditions, one of which is singing carols on Christmas eve. This year, Raspberry Lane had Liam a bunch of carols, so he knew the words to many of my favorites. We lit candles in the creche and turned out the rest of the lights and sang away. It was pretty nice.

Then after a couple of holiday stories from my childhood, it was off to bed for Liam and off to wrapping duty for mom. What a lot of work. Oh, and that holiday bread? It didn't rise, again, so I just braided it up and stuck it in the oven and as usual, it was glorious.

What was not glorious was the fact that Thea woke up four times that night, so by 6 a.m. when she got up for good, I was in need of an IV caffeine drip. Liam didn't get up for another hour and a half, despite Thea's hollers and squeals. He quickly managed to get up to speed, however, honing in on his stocking with military-like precision. 15 minutes later, he had hit the orange in the toe. Then it was a matter of waiting the hour or two until our friend Karyn arrived before opening the rest of the loot, and that was almost too much for Liam, but he managed to focus on constructing his bionicle and inhaling some pancakes.

Then,Karyn arrived and madness ensued. Paper flew. Bows practically exploded off the packages. Unlike past years, Liam barely paused on each gift before moving on to the next. Typical, I know, but it was still surprising to me. Thea liked the ripping and crunching of paper, but actually focused more on her toys than I thought she would. She sat for a good half-hour playing with a fish bowl shape sorter. Good stuff.

Matt had a good Christmas, and while he got lots of good presents, he said his favorite was a painting I did for our living room of a surfer riding a wave in the sunset. I'm pretty happy with it, too. Haven't painted in more than a decade, so this was as much as a surprise for me as it was for him.

After some leftover Christmas tacos (Matt had been craving them since returning form Baja) we set out for my sister's house. There we had a feast that couldn't be beat, topped off with chocolate fondue (I think that's going to be a holiday tradition from now on) and more presents. At this point, Liam had a full-blown case of present addiction. It was pretty bad. So we opened quickly, then shooed him off to play.

Then, thankfully, Christmas was over for another year. I've got to say, the best days have been the aftermath - Liam is still trying out toys for the first time, and there are dozens of books to read. We went skiing with his new ski boots, and Thea has happily been playing with her toys ever since.

As for me, I'll be happy when my bedroom stops looking like a wrapping-paper factory, and I've sent out all my ornaments. But it has been a happy holiday, no doubt.

Now, on to Thea's birthday! Gahhhhh!

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