Saturday, December 28, 2019

3 Days of Christmas

The key to enjoying my Christmases with all of our family and friends is to spread them out AND have moments of rest. As usual, I took December 24, 25, and 26 off to celebrate Christmas and give myself a break. The minis and I had a  relaxing Christmas Eve Day at home before heading to my Aunt's house for my mom's side of the family Christmas. It was a night filled with middle school attitude (there were tears, threats, and smart ass comments before we got things turned around to have an excellent night), Mexican food, laughter, and fun.

Christmas Day we spent at home and welcomed family over. We were thrown for a loop when Christmas Day was 60 degrees. After visitors left, we went for an afternoon walk and adventure to the creek by our house. The minis have been playing there with friends and we had them show us what kind of trouble they get into. I completely failed to get pictures of grandparents and the minis together, but we had a great, relaxing visit with both sets of grandparents and treated everyone to french toast (made by Harrison) and meat, cheese, and crackers.

Since I had the 26th off, it was wonderful to just go to bed at the end of Christmas day. We didn't worry about cleaning up at all. It truly was a relaxing day spent with each other, fully enjoying each other's company, and having fun. The 26th however, was sleep in and then cleaning day. The house was such a mess, the floors were ridiculously dirty, and organization was needed to make room for the new toys. As relaxing as the day was, it was also a day of completing my To Do List (and then feeling like I was on top of the world because everything was done!).

We began Christmas Eve with music on and hot chocolate. The minis were sooooo beyond excited to open presents Christmas Eve that I had to have a list of fun things for them to do throughout the day or they would have been unbearable.

I made the minis take a rest halfway through the day. We watched Christmas Vacation--it was my first time all season and the minis third or fourth time of the month. We really enjoy this movie!

Then they kept busy "tracking Santa" while I got ready for our big night. They don't completely believe in Santa anymore (after an intense discussion, I discovered they knew "Mom and Dad get the presents, but a guy named Santa is around too"), but the thrill of tracking Santa hasn't faded. They mostly talked about all of the places they'd like to go as soon as Santa landed in a different country.

Elizabeth: "Um, mom, can you put your glasses on please? You're scaring me with your contacts in."

Before dinner they kept themselves busy with tracking Santa (from their phone) and stickers, they ate their dinner ridiculously fast, and then waited for everyone else to eat and mingle before presents.

Harrison took over handing out presents. This was the first Christmas in YEARS that I haven't handed out gifts at any of our Christmases. 

Opening presents addressed to the three of them. They got so many new games that we've had a blast with family game nights (and days) the past several days.

While Harrison handed out gifts, this presents confused him. He knew it was from us (because he picked out the bag for cousin Natalie's present), but he seemed to be genuinely confused by it. No one understood why and we prompted him to give it to Natalie. When Nat opened the present, she thanked my Aunt and I quickly told her it was from Harrison. She glanced at the bag and then read the tag "to H-y from Aunt Cindi" (H-y is a nickname for Harrison). I cracked up because it was clearly a re-used bag from last Christmas! I had never checked the mini's wrapping and gift bags because they seemed to have it under control. I guess next time I'll double check bags for tags!

Much past bedtime, the van was packed full of gifts and we looked at Christmas lights in the Waterbury neighborhood (each Christmas Eve they line the streets with luminaries and it is gorgeous and one of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions). The minis were so exhausted by the time we got home that they fell into bed. They didn't even both laying out cookies and wine...I mean, milk, for Santa. Santa still did her job and got everything set out. For the first time in, ever, we wrapped presents ahead of time. We didn't have our usual Elves (or Christmas Eve helpers), so we were prepared out of necessity!

Notice it is still dark out when we began the present opening Christmas day. I told the minis they had to wait until 7 a.m. to open gifts. It had been requested that everyone set their alarms for 4 a.m. I was not a fan of that request, but once I heard all three up and moving around, I gave the go-ahead to open (around 6:45). Also for the first time in years, we didn't do our usual Mimosa Bar. So my morning consisted of eggnog and coffee. Lots of coffee.

Another new thing (for the first time in years), we gave the minis gifts. Actual gifts and random toys they asked for. For the past several years we've gifted them vacations and epic road trips. However, all of our upcoming trips are (relatively) simple and we have everything we need for the trips. I'll admit to being a big sad and disappointed we don't have any huge, epic trips coming up, but it was still a nice Christmas. Plus, the minis have been so engrossed in playing with their new toys that our time at home has been easy and enjoyable.

The cat sat on the boogie board, the youngest flipped out because it was her boogie board so she grabbed it away, and then realized how big and awkward it was for her to hold.

The aftermath of Christmas morning. We got it picked up (or pushed to the sides of the room rather) before grandparents stopped by.

Elizabeth quickly discovered the joys of her Baby Alive, "ugh! I have to pee and my baby won't stop crying for her bottle!" I then watched her walk to the bathroom, pull her pants down as she balanced the bottle on her chin (in the baby's mouth), sit down and pee all while feeding the doll. I must say, I was impressed and rather proud. 

My dining room table is now a Lego building table.

Harrison asked for cooking and baking supplies for Christmas (new ones because he doesn't like mine apparently). He used some of his new bowls and spoons, along with his new cook book and chef's hat, to make us french toast for breakfast. 

They nicely took turns opening gifts from grandparents. I was excited to see a few gifts that can be held back and used this spring. I love gifts that can be used later on in the year.

Max quickly got the hang of his Hoverboard. He LOVES it!

The youngest put "a TV in my room" on her Christmas list. That's a hard no from this mom, but Santa did bring her a stand for her Kindle so, when it's approved by mom and dad, she can watch Netflix on her Kindle in her room....of course, she still brought it out to the living room to watch her show with everyone. So, not much different than watching it on the family TV. Kids are funny.

More Lego building before our much needed and appreciated walk. All of the rich food, meats, and cheeses caught up with me and I did not feel well by Christmas afternoon.

Elizabeth insisted on bringing her Baby Alive on the walk with us. Max (the oldest) wound up carrying the "diaper bag," which ironically carried all of Elizabeth's belongings and not the doll's.

After seeing first hand what the minis do at the creek, I can fully understand how they keep returning home soaking wet after falling in the water and with thorns and burs sticking out of their clothes. They enjoy trying to climb up the sides of the creek, which is lined with bushes that have burs on them and they walk across a fallen down tree. The mom in me tries not to freak out and think about everything that could happen, while the other part of me is happy my children get this kind of childhood. Where they can go with their friends and play for hours, taking snacks in a backpack, and exploring all while in view of neighbors (who I know won't let them get away with anything). 

Using branches and vines to climb up the sides.

I love these fearless kids. I hope that fearlessness never leaves them.

I loved our relaxing morning the day after Christmas. It was much needed recovery time for us all. Even though we didn't do much on Christmas Day, I still find the holiday exhausting and was a happy to have the day to ourselves. Hubs had to work, but that just meant the minis played with friends while I did housework uninterrupted. It was absolutely perfect.

We ended our three days of Christmas with family game night. We've had so much fun playing a new game every night before bed. I don't anticipate this becoming a routine once break is over, but it's definitley been a highlight for us all.