Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two Christmases

We did Christmas with Matt’s family the Saturday before Christmas. It was a beautiful cold day.
Addie had a good time playing with her cousin Hunter, and it was really good to see my newphew Isaac, who just turned 10. He lives in Austin so I don’t get to see him much. He is a big reader, but had yet to enter the Harry Potter universe, so I got him the first two books. We got pictures of the three little kids in front of the Christmas tree, and Hunter would squat down and say, "Cheese!" every time. Ryan immediately picked up on that and started bending over and saying, "Chee!" It was hilarious! He also has learned to say "milk", although he usually just grunts and points.

Hunter (4), Ryan (1), and Addison (3)

Addison got the Tag Junior from Leapfrog. She holds a little device and presses it onto the books and it will read to her. It will also interact with other pictures on the page, play finding games, play music, etc. You can download the stories to your little thingy. If anyone has some Tag Junior books they want to trade, let me know! We have "If I Were…", "Mr. Brown", and "Kai-Lan Shares". She also got a magnetic princess dress up puzzle, a My Little Pony, and a t shirt made by her cousin.

Ryan was being a pill for a good bit of the day, because he only napped for about 30 minutes. He grumped around in Matt’s lap while we opened presents, and when he opened a toy helicopter, he latched onto it for dear life and screeched loudly if anyone even pretended to take it away! It was really funny. Except for him being so grouchy.

Ryan, Addie, and Hunter in the sand

Making pecan pies with Sugar

Me and my guy

The helicopter he clung to

Two cousins

I need one of these at my house.

Addie barely ate breakfast that morning, and she wouldn’t eat lunch either. Matt’s mom took her outside to play, and when they came back in, Addie promptly threw up! The last time she threw up was when she was about 10 months old, and she didn’t know what was happening. She didn’t cry, though. We rushed her to the bathroom and got her rinsed off , and she looked up at me with big eyes and said, "Mama, I spit!" Luckily, I had changes of clothes, including socks, for both kids, so she was changed and happy. I was able to borrow a shirt from Matt’s mom, since mine was gross.

I got a food processor, pajamas, and a Victoria’s Secret gift card (yay!), and Matt got several accessories for his upcoming Alaskan fly fishing trip (this August). I also got a big box of specialty cupcakes from a place in Austin. There were margarita, banana bread (dipped in chocolate), strawberry, vanilla, and other delicious flavors. When I opened the box, it was like opening a door in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – They were all so colorful and decorative. And BIG!

Ryan eating - prime location in front of the outdoor fireplace.

Swinging at the farm.

This kid is photogenic.

Handsome dudes

We drove around looking at Christmas lights this year in a neighborhood called Prestonwood close by. Each street does a theme, like Bible stories, Rudolph, Christmas at the Zoo, etc. We put the carseats in the Blazer since it’s higher-up and the kids can see out the window better. About halfway through, I realized that Addie wasn’t able to see very much across the car, and since were in a long slow line of cars, I let her crawl out of the seat up into my lap to see. She was so excited about it!! She leaned her head back and said, "Daddy, sometimes I get to sit on Mommy’s lap to look at Christmas lights!"

While out shopping at WalMart (surprisingly uncrowded and well-staffed) two days before Christmas, a family in front of me was having issues with their gift card. They had just returned something at Customer Service and the amount was supposed to be put on the card, but it wasn’t. They were Oriental and there were some language problems, so the checker told them to go back to Customer Service to figure it out. She’d already rung up their stuff, but held their ticket and rung me up instead. Well, the mom came back shaking her head - the line at Customer Service was long and I still don’t think she knew what the real issue was, or wouldn’t have been able to explain it anyway. So they took most of the stuff out of their basket and just held up a $5, indicating they only had that much cash and the checker should just re-scan a few items. The checker still wasn’t getting it, so I intervened and told her to re-ring up their ticket (with everything on it) and that I’d pay for it all. It was seriously like $12 worth of stuff, and I felt so bad for the poor people. The checker finally agreed to do it, so they got all their groceries. I wasn’t trying to embaress the family – when I left they all just stared at me like I was a crazy woman. But I smiled and said Merry Christmas.

The next day, I was in line at Michael’s and had just finished paying when I heard the checker say to Addie, "Oh, honey, don’t put that in your mouth!" I turned to find her chomping one of those chocolate truffles through the wrapper. I immediately disciplined her, then asked how much they were, which was 50 cents. The well-dressed, impatient looking lady behind me was being polite but I could tell she was not pleased. I knew I didn’t have change, so I was digging out my credit card to pay for it when the lady just swept up to the counter and said, "I’ve got it, don’t worry, Merry Christmas!" I was extremely appreciative of the fact that she managed a smile and kind words even though I could tell she was exasperated. It’s frustrating to me sometimes when I can’t be very effective in punishment or discipline because of our location or the circumstances – Ryan was leaning and climbing out of the cart, screaming, Addie was crying and pulling away, and I was trying to get my basket out of line, pay for the candy, and teach her a lesson about stealing, not listening, etc. Instead I just literally shoved everyone and everything under my arms, told the lady thanks with as much sincerity as I could, and trucked out to the car. It’s something for me to keep in mind from now on – just because a mom seems like she doesn’t care or isn’t disciplining her kids, that doesn’t ALWAYS mean she is a bad mom! As if I hadn’t told Addison before to not pick up candy in the store, not to EAT the candy in the store, not to take things we don’t pay for, etc. I will chalk it up to one of the many times that my children will embaress me, and move on. Oh, and the other lesson – pay it forward, because when it’s your turn to be on the receiving end of kindness, you will be glad you did.

Addie can now sing both verses of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Joy to the World, Away in a Manger, Holly Jolly Christmas, Deck the Halls (she tries, at least, but it is filled with odd words), and Jingle Bell Rock. And probably some others too. When we did Christmas Eve stuff, I was going to have Addie make cookies with me using our Christmas cookie cutters, but she didn’t want to at all. I couldn’t figure it out, until I remembered what happened at the farm. When we went over to the fireplace to get our stockings down (it was during the day), she suddenly paused and said, "I don’t want Santa to come to our house. I don’t want him to come inside." I told her that he comes down the chimney to bring us toys and will eat milk and cookies and leave presents under the tree. She thought about it, and said, "While I’m asleep?" and I realized she was nervous about him being there in the house. I told her he would just stay right by the fireplace, then leave, and she was ok then. But later, at our house, she didn’t want to make him cookies, and when we got out the special plate for cookies, she didn’t even want to put ANYTHING on it! So we just didn’t make a big deal about it. We did read some stories, but I think both kids were sick, and instead of lovingly sitting on my lap while we read Christmas books, they pushed and grouched and pulled the pages out of each others’ hands. Also, we were going to try to go to the Christmas Eve service at church (early in the evening, family friendly) but Addie slept really late and when I tried to get her dressed while she watched a show, she screamed and threw fits and sobbed. Ryan was already screaming about something (or nothing), and Matt and I just looked at each other and he decided that we weren’t going. We would have been late anyway, and since neither kid was feeling good (or acting good), trying to get them to behave during a church service would have ended with Matt and I saying some not-so-Christmasy things.

Ryan checking out all our Christmas cards.

Addie in her Santa hat and "boots" that she pulled from the basket

Ryan's unassembled tool bench in Santa's workshop

Reading The Night Before Christmas and eating banana bread hot from the oven

Simple Santa setup on Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning, Ryan slept till almost 8, and Addie slept till 9! They both coughed all night and Ryan had a very runny nose (which he is just now getting over), so I think they were both exhausted, and I was glad they got to sleep as late as they needed. Santa brought Addison a big dollhouse, and of course the raccoon and bird that she asked him for a month ago. Ryan got a toolbench and a turtle, and a Leapfrog toy. They both got toy guitars, and Addie also got a My Little Pony set and some Handy Manny tools (since the toolbench was her brother’s). They played all morning, then we ate breakfast casserole. Addie put a bite in her mouth and said, "This is good, Mama", then actually chewed it and ended up spitting it out because it was yucky. She had oatmeal instead. Well, and banana bread. Both kids are huge fans of that! We loaded up and headed up to Bryan to Aunt Sherry’s house, where the extended family gathers Christmas afternoon. Sherry’s house is really nice, but not set up very well for babies (she has two teenagers), so we were constantly running after Ryan as he attempted to climp up the metal spiral staircase or pull breakable ornaments off the tree. He was a super-grouch with a snotty nose, so I know he didn’t feel good. Addie was really good, and LOVED the "jumpaline" that was outside. It was really cold, but all the kids played outside most of the day. Addie and Ryan both crawled around on the trampoline a lot. Later, two little girls, 4 and 6, arrived and basically fought over who got to hold Addie’s hand ( or pick her up). I led the three of them on several "adventures" through the forest, and they all had a wonderful time making up stories as we hiked along.

"It's my perfect raccoon I always wanted in the whole world."

Dollhouse that Santa brought

"Sharing" the Handy Manny tools

Addie and Ryan on the "jumpaline" - look at the static!

Addie was not extremely amused by the fact that her new friends thought she was a life-size posable doll. They were very sweet little girls though.

Addison and Aunt Sherry on the four wheeler

I was starting to get really sick too by this point. Stuffy head, painful headaches, and runny nose. By the end of the evening, we were all tired, so we packed up and headed home. Ryan began screaming after the first 5 minutes, and didn’t stop for the next 40 minutes straight, so we made an unscheduled stop at Matt’s parents’ farm to unload the kids and rest our eardrums. I think Matt was this close to just leaving them there! We stayed for an hour, fed the kids and let them play, gave them a bath, then loaded them back up in PJs in the car at 8 oclock, which was bedtime. They both conked out within 10 minutes.

Overall, it was a low-key Christmas – very different from the last few years, but I’m really glad we were able to let the kids set the pace instead of creating plans and forcing ourselves to stick with them. I know in a couple more years the kids will be up for anything and everything, and they will also be able to reason and understand consequences of their behavior, so we have plenty of time for more "exciting" Christmases.

I have been sick since then, but am finally hopefully on the mend. I guess it’ s just a cold. I woke up with a horrible earache two nights ago and battled it with Sudafed and Exedrin, and luckily it subsided. Ryan still has a gross nose, but Addie seems better, and Matt is better too. We have completely and utterly lazed around this weekend. It’s cold outside and none of us have felt great and we just needed some downtime.
On Tuesday, my mom, sis, and niece are coming for a couple of days, and then my friend Kate and her husband Ryan and daughter Emilyn are coming. We are thrilled with all of our guests, because after the past week of sickness and extreme grouchiness, company will be a nice distraction for us and the kids.

I have Addison’s big-girl room all done, but I’m waiting to take pictures because a little elf told me that I might be getting an accessory or two to complete it. I will promise to post pictures by the end of the week. Oh, and Ryan ended up spilling green paint all over Addie’s floor, bag, and some clothes. In the 5 seconds it took for me to use a screwdriver (in the room), he stood up on a crushed box, reached the small tub of paint, and slowly poured it all out on the carpet. I shrieked, called for Matt to remove the children, and got on the phone to Sherwin Williams to ask them how to get the paint out. They said keep it wet, then use water and a shop vac to suck it up. Luckily we borrowed Thomas and Jamie Cumming’s shop vac later that day and every bit of the paint came up. I was so afraid we were going to have a permanent green splotch on the floor that would become a part of family lore. All we lost was one pair of red tights - the paint had dried before I noticed and it was too late to clean them.
Hope you guys all had good Christmases!


  1. Wowee!!! Seems like you guys had a pretty stressful time even though you say it was low key.

    Okay...I'm a nerd. I had so many comments while reading your post that I forgot them all by the end. You are so sweet for helping out that family, you are an awesome mom whether Addy eats candy off a shelf or not, I hope you make me some banana bread when we are there in Feb....ummm....that's all I can remember.

    Glad you had a good Christmas!!

  2. Low-key in the fact that Christmas morning was quiet and slow-paced, and we went to Aunt Sherry's when it was convenient for us, and left when it was convenient. Being sick was the main stress factor, but it couldn't be helped!