There was one glitch in the "celebrate Christmas early so the kids will have toys to play with on the real Christmas" plan. Well, okay, there were two glitches. The first was the "you mean Santa isn't even going to stop by AT ALL on Christmas? I really really wish he would come to our house again," moment. I kicked myself for not anticipating this anticlimax. (Woo - first time I've ever used the word 'anticlimax.' Cool, it's even a real word!) Thankfully, there were those hats and mittens that I had forgotten to put out earlier, so Santa made a second little visit after all.
The other glitch was that my daughter was over the excitement of new toys by the time Christmas finally rolled around. Or, rather, she was done playing with her new toys with boys that were two to four years younger than herself.
By Christmas day, she was over the plague and was ready to interact with someone — anyone — capable of playing Go Fish without gleefully scattering the cards at some point. She was done being inside. She was over the daily "be quiet, the baby's napping" speech.
The solution, the good times, were waiting just outside the sliding glass doors. She happily put on her new clothes and gear. There are neighbors with kids on all three fence fronts; surely someone would be out and ready to discuss the finer details of Christmas loot, she rationalized. However, several minutes after I let her outside, I found her sullenly perched on the chair.
Staring at the fence.
The neighbors to the left weren't even home. The neighbors on the right were dealing with their bout with the flu. And the family directly behind us was probably simply being reasonable, avoiding the dreary, drippy, foggy, weakly-lit outside that matched her dreary, drippy, foggy, weakly-lit mood.
Not giving up hope, my daughter attacked the fences with the full force of her pouting stare.
I tried to talk her into playing out there, but she insisted on simply standing, staring down the fences, for a good twenty minutes. She glared at each section, willing the occupants behind them to come out, and wallowed in her foul mood.
Nobody was outside.
Finally, I made her come back in. I couldn't let her stay out there being so sad, when she simply needed to change her perspective a little bit, count her blessings and her new toys, and look inside for enjoyment. It didn't take long for her to cheer up once she did.
And yes, I realized that I need that same advice from time to time.
Next year? I'll remember to plan some indoor activities for the real Christmas day. (How did I not see this coming?)
Love that moment the night before Christmas, when everything is finally wrapped and set up and ready to go.
Look how delirious and happy I am.
Hate that the moment happens at, oh, 4:53 in the morning — approximately 3 hours before the children have convinced me with their pointy elbows and knobby knees that getting out of bed and checking out that pile of presents is the less painful alternative.
Love that my little guy said "Ooooooh!" every time someone unwrapped something.
Hate that my daughter was still so sick. It took all her strength to simply flomp on the couch, open presents from there, then toss them over the side.
Love that she enjoyed herself in spite of it all.
There were some very excited sounds coming from beneath that pile.
Love that the boys played so well together.
Hate that the happy peaceful moments flowed — until this grabbing incident, right about here:
Love the cool toys we found for the kids:
Love that I was able to get a cool toy, too.
Hate that the cool toys are tied down with all manner of torture devices.
Love that by the end, my daughter finally found some energy to sit up and get excited about the treasure hunt Santa set up.
Love the red retro kitchen at the end of all of the goings up and down the stairs.
Love that my family could enjoy a wonderful, fortunate Christmas together.
Hate that we won't be seeing any extended family this time around, and the phone or facebook will have to do.
Love Christmas day nap time!!
Hate the daunting mess that awaits when I wake up.
Love the sugar rush.
Hate that my poor camera doesn't do low-light photos justice. DSLR, I hope to see you in my stocking next year!
Love mis-spellings on instructions.
Have I mentioned I hate the packaging?
Love the always slanting December sunlight shining through my windows.
Love enjoying the serenity of the morning after Christmas in peace, while the kids sleep in a little longer than normal after all of the excitement.
Love that my husband was able to be home the day before and help set everything up.
I love my children and feel so lucky to have them with me.
And I love the many true meanings of Christmas.
Oh, and one last thing. I love Thai food for Christmas dinner!
Making more dishes bad.
I have to agree with the Thai.
Thank you, to a great many people and beings.
And I hope you thoroughly enjoy the holidays with your loved ones.
As seen through the panes of my sliding glass door:
It has been an eventful night. I put the kids to bed early, to help get rid of this plague once and for all. Tomorrow (or today, rather) is Christmas Eve for us.
I thought I was so smart, telling the children that Santa will surprise us on a day we might not expect. This, I calculated, would give us the flexibility we need to work around last-minute schedule changes at work. Well, the good news is that the kids are excited for Santa to come at any given moment. The bad news is, the children have capitalized on this "any day" bit and now we have to put cookies out for him every night. Which wouldn't be a problem if I had some sort of self-control when it comes to the purchasing and consuming of chocolate.
Anyway, I put the kids to bed early. A couple hours later as I was walking past my daughter's room, I heard her tossing and whimpering. Worried, I went in to check on her. She was burning up, and dry as could be. I helped her get settled and grabbed the thermometer — 104.3. Not good. Her pulse was around 140. I quickly cooled her down, got her something cold to drink, and gave her a dose of ibuprofen. Why do these more serious flu complications always seem to happen when my firefighter is at work? At the station that doesn't have cell coverage, no less?
I sent him a message on facebook, hoping he'd see it before he went to bed. Thankfully, he was up and got the message. (See? Facebook is good for something!) There really wasn't much he could suggest that I hadn't already done, but still, it was comforting to simply talk about it and have someone to wait through the scary high fever with me. As the fever and her heart rate slowly descended, I grabbed the camera and took a few quick pictures of the eclipse.
Now, the eclipse and the fever are over. I put my daughter in my room with me for the night. She's totally hogging my side of the bed.
That's okay — I forgive her. I'm just happy that she's finally breaking a sweat.
And after tomorrow, she'll forgive me and forget all about me taking her temperature 50 times during the night.
Okay, we're a little behind. Between work and soggy trees and the plague parts one and two, our tree didn't show up until a few days ago. Christmas crept up on us. I had some grand plans for this year's tree, including painting the snowflakes gold. However, the plans will have to wait until next time. The theme this year, out of necessity, is quick and easy. Here she is:
One of the simplest, cheapest ornaments I've found are these poinsettias. I got a bunch from the dollar store and clipped them apart toward the base, leaving a long stem on each bloom. Then I just stabbed them into the tree. No little hangers, no glass balls to break, just clip and stab. (And, if you have children, pick up off the floor fourteen times and re-stab.) I used about 8 bunches for ours, in two shades of red. Not bad, for $8.00, to cover an entire 6 foot tree.
I also got the snowflakes, the plastic candy canes (six to a package — a great deal), as well as a variety of gold balls from the dollar store.
Other than that, I simply told the kids to hang any ornaments from our stash that were red and gold. For the lights, I chose orange. Instead of wrapping around and around the tree like I normally do, I took HGTV's advice and strung the lights in patches. It was 10x easier to string them this way, and after my tree dries up, I imagine it will be 10x less poky to remove them.
I also found these glass ornaments at the dollar store. They're fancy — they light up and change colors. I got one for each child. The kids are so enamored with them! They use them as night lights.