Monday, December 29, 2008

The Most Fabulous Christmas EVER!

No, really. It was a chaotic, emotional, frenzied, stressful, but fun and wonderful time. It's amazing how even through the chaos and stress, you can still enjoy yourself. Even through the exhaustion, you can still be happy and somehow force yourself to continue moving forward. You have the story of my trip to SC to get SM and some other bits of pre-Christmas fun. I've got a lot to say regarding the rest of it, but I'll try (please understand when I say try that it doesn't mean I'll succeed) to condense it here and not bore you (my beloved followers) to death. SM brought back TONS of gifts for the kids. I remember talking to Hubby on our way back from SC - he wondered if I would be able to stop at the store and get some groceries, but when I informed him that there wasn't room for anything else unless SM wanted to hold everything on her lap, he responded, "You're kidding?" When I assured him I was not kidding, SM and I continued on home. We left all gifts in the car so we could keep them out of sight of the kids until after they went to sleep. The kids went to sleep on Christmas Eve with no trouble at all. Frankly, I was amazed Kiddo didn't flop around like a fish out of water; he was out within 5 minutes. We were able to get all the stockings and all the gifts under the tree relatively early, which was great. Christmas morning dawned bright and early. The kids managed to sleep until 7:30, which floored me. I was totally expecting a 5AM wake up call - but it didn't come! In fact, I was the last one to get out of bed. Kiddo and Little Bit both came flying into my room and said, "Mommy! Wake up! It's Christmas!" I remember groaning my displeasure at having to abandon my warm bed, but was completely happy to have been able to sleep as long as I did. Kiddo was so excited he could hardly contain himself. He jumped around like a crazy person and grabbed gifts left and right. I tried to control the gift opening so I could actually see what he (and Little Bit) got and make a mental list of thank you notes I was going to have to write, but that effort proved to be fruitless. Hubby finally said, "It's Christmas morning...just let 'em have at it!" So we did. And it was a chaotic mess of wrapping paper and excited exclamations over the best gifts ever. Little Bit needed some help because she would get a gift, be pleased and excited with it, but never actually unwrap it. We had to help her discover the fun inside the packages. I've never seen so many gifts in my life - it was really incredible. SM really outdid herself. There were, of course, gifts for me, Hubby and SM, too...but, though we all really made out well this year, it was really all about the kids. I'm sure somewhere in there we had breakfast, and then I started cooking Christmas dinner. I made Cornish hens, a sweet red cabbage, stuffing (although I guess I need to refer to it as "dressing" - I'm sorry, I will never be able to do that comfortably), green beans, Sister Schubert's Yeast Rolls (Parkerhouse style - yummy!) and Hubby made a fantastic sweet potato casserole. The only trouble I had was getting the hens to cook correctly. I won't go into detail, and it really wasn't a big deal, but it was frustrating and eventually all turned out well. Dinner was not only edible, but it was actually good! SM didn't really feel well the entire time she was there - her stomach is a constant source of difficulty for her - and she considered going home early, but we managed to convince her to stay until Saturday AM as we had originally planned. We didn't really do much at all, honestly. She and I visited with each other a lot - which is something we rarely get to do, even though we talk to each other on the phone practically every day. She enjoyed watching her grand kids play with their new toys. She and I discussed all the new outfit possibilities I had and what would go with what; I rely on her for fashion advice because she's so damn good at it. (I totally scored this Christmas, getting several new shirts and sweaters, 3 awesome new pairs of dress pants from Hubby, a beautiful brown corduroy skirt, a red wool coat and a pair of shoes I'm dying to wear to work!) We tried to get out on Friday and drive around to look at apartment/condo possibilities for her in my area, but she wasn't feeling well, the one place we actually stopped was closed, and the kids were a nightmare - so we went home. The kids - ah, there's another thing - they were a nightmare almost the entire time. Well, Christmas Day wasn't so bad, but afterward was awful. They screamed and yelled, fought with each other and with me, didn't listen and generally made a ruckus of monumental proportions. I was ready to kill them... (Being ready to kill them is another thing entirely from actually killing them. They are, in fact, still alive - though lucky to be so.) On Saturday morning, we packed the kids in the car, loaded all of SM's things and headed back to SC. The drive over the mountains was, thankfully, uneventful. Traffic wasn't really all that bad, and though we had to stop a couple of times, we made it back to SM's house in decent time. We allowed SM to go inside to have a quiet reunion with her Scaredy Cat (he really is afraid of his own shadow; and leaves, bugs, wind, rain, birds, walking, talking, name it, he's afraid of it). After she had thoroughly loved on her cat, we were allowed to come in. We knew the kids would scare Scaredy Cat and seconds after we'd set foot into her house, we saw a black streak fly up the stairs and only saw him again a couple times. The kids were awful the entire time we were at SM's house. I thought I was going to have a breakdown - and very nearly did. I kept apologizing to SM and she kept assuring me that she was OK. I don't believe a word of it, she was as stressed out over the insanity as I was. Kiddo really is lucky SM didn't kill him! He's also lucky his Mommy isn't the abusive sort - or he might have a few bruises to nurse. (Sheesh!) Anyway - we drove back home on Sunday morning and met Hubby at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. Little Bit screamed almost the entire time we were there, until the female half of an elderly couple sitting across from us came over and said, "I've got a puppy out in the car - would she like to come see it?" Of course, Little Bit heard the word "puppy" and that got her undivided attention. We trekked out to this nice woman's car to see said puppy, who turned out to be a 1 year old Skipperkee named Lady. She was very cute and quite happy to see people. Tongue and tail wagging the whole time. This elderly couple were on their way from Illinois to Florida. We didn't have any trouble with Little Bit after she visited the puppy, though she really didn't eat anything. For the rest of Sunday, Hubby and I were completely useless. We were both exhausted and lacking any energy. Kiddo spent almost the entire afternoon having "alone" time in his room playing with a marble construction set that came to him from his cousin Z - through his aunt, of course. Kiddo had received marbles in his stocking for the purpose of using this toy. Though it seems to be missing several parts, it was still hours of fun for Kiddo and hours of peace for Hubby and me. Little Bit was basically good - but I think both kids were over tired. Also, I think their attitudes toward everything were compounded by the fact that they ate things they don't usually eat, had sweets they don't usually get, and probably had sensory overload. It's a lot for a four-year-old and an almost-two-year-old to handle. We all got through it, though. We stuck Kiddo and Little Bit in bed last night at 6:30. I did some laundry, and Hubby fell asleep on the couch watching M*A*S*H. Though chaotic and stressful, it was still one of the best Christmases on record for our family. Hope everyone had a good one, too! TTFN JMS

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