Isn't it amazing how you take at least a month or two to carefully prepare for this holiday? We shop, we decorate, we plan, we pick carefully the gifts to give our children, our spouses, our neighbors. It takes some serious effort, you know? And come Christmas morning the family has it all torn apart in about 30 minutes! 45 if you're lucky. We did have a good time, though.
Christmas Eve was a fun day with delivering gifts to the neighbors and making cookies. We spent the evening at my sister's house with everyone except Adam's family. We enjoyed our traditional Mexican feast of posole, fresh tortillas and black bean salad. Other years we've gone all out with sopes, homemade refried beans and fire roasted vegetables and great stuff like that. We just didn't feel like going to that effort and mess this time, which was fine. We really enjoyed what we had. Our kids were so wiped out that we left early and put them to bed early. What better Christmas present is there than that? I had some new Christmas jammies for them as well as a book, "Snowmen at Christmas." I think a new children's book every year is a great idea. Anyway, Bitty was falling asleep so fast and hard that I could barely get her to open the gifts. Stomper was in bed with his eyes closing before I remembered that we hadn't set out any cookies or milk for Santa. Me being me, I made him get back up out of bed to go with his dad to set them out. Troy and I then enjoyed a lovely evening by the fire watching Christmas movies, drinking eggnog, wrapping a few remaining presents...doesn't that just sound perfect? It was.
Christmas morning began for us at four a.m. when Stomper came in our room to let us know that Santa had indeed arrived and delivered presents. And it was time to open them. We convinced him to wait at least until dawn. He climbed into our bed and Troy went and got into his. I dozed between to floppy kids for another couple of hours before giving up. Stomper was up again at 7:30 or so, and it was quite the struggle to keep him from opening his gifts before Troy's parents came and Bitty was awake, but we managed it. I had this idea that we should enter the living room all together for the first time, but Stomper was not to be stopped. Finally the grandparents came and we woke up Bitty so the paper tearing could commence. Nice morning. It's so hard every year to find that balance between giving the kids what they want and what would make them happy, and giving them just too much stuff. I think we did well this year.
The really magical part of Christmas Day came later at my parent's house (that would be day FOUR in a row of parties with my family, by the way....) when we went at noon for an omelet brunch. We were lazy and sleepy on the floor for a while, but then we whipped out the sleds and the fun began. Luckily I have managed to gather some really great snow clothes for my kids. Seriously, the trick to fun in the great outdoors is good gear, because if you're cold and wet, no sledding is fun. Both the kids were warm and dry, and my parent's yard provided the absolutely perfect sledding hill, a foot deep in fluffy powder. The hill down is steep enough to be fun, but not so long that the kids won't climb back up it without getting exhausted. We had so much fun, and the real champ was Stomper. He had an inflated sled with handles, and the kid must have made 50 runs. He would climb up the hill to the top and immediately jump right back on the sled, sitting or flopped on his belly, and go screaming down again. He never cried when he tumbled into the snow, he never had to be carried, he just went around and around and around. Bitty did well too, though she only got on a sled a few times. She was packed into this great big purple-checked snowsuit I found at Kid-2-Kid, reminiscent of Randy in A Christmas Story, but she was as happy as a puppy just rolling around in the snow. We were out there for at least an hour and a half, and then when we came in Troy stayed out for another hour perfecting a banked curve to make a turn from the very top of the hill. Great sledding. Unfortunately, my brother has all the pictures so I'll post a slideshow when he sends them to me.
We ended up staying at my parent's house until the night. The kids and I bundled up on the bed downstairs and watched A Muppet's Christmas Carol and we all played Cranium...I'll tell you, my brother Adam and I have an almost creepy ability together at games like that. We're a good team. Anyway, it was a fantastic day and I'm so grateful for wonderful friends and family that surround us.
The rest of the week and weekend cruised by with more festivities including a trip to the aquarium with the Grundvigs, more cousin time and more sledding. We also held the annual Preslar family Saturday-after-Christmas gathering with MORE presents (holy loot - time to be done with new stuff for the kids!) and good food and fun together. Stomper received from his Grandparents a giant rubber t-rex that is about two feet tall. It's huge. We need to build an addition for it. We had all of the grandchildren together for the first time in a very long time.
At the Aquarium with the Grundvigs
All the Preslar cousins...not a great photo, but it's what we've got!
So I hope all of you have a wonderful New Year - I am compelled to again express my deep and humble gratitude for all the fantastic people in my life, especially my family. I am so blessed and feel much love for life.