Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Edition '08

Christmas week was filled to the brim with activities. Warning: Long, picture laden post ahead!
The Friday before (the 19th) we made cookies together. The kids loved helping out. Even little K got to stir the flour, unwrap the kisses and help in sampling the goodies.

This past Tuesday N had a little singing presentation at school that my brother Andrew, his wife Erin, and my parents came to.

Then that night we went to a nearby neighborhood to see their Christmas display. There are all sorts of buttons to push that turn on lights and music, the kids call it the "Button House" and look forward to it each year. It was freezing cold, so we all bundled up in hats, scarves and gloves.

All day Christmas Eve the kids looked forward to opening their first present. Finally dinner was over, and they ripped into their packages-- pajamas all around, and some slippers as well!! Afterwards, Ed read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "The First Night". E wrote a letter to Santa, and set out cookies before they went up to bed.

Christmas morning I awoke at 6:15 to the pitter patter of little feet downstairs. As I got out of bed I heard running and a "whump" as someone ran to their bed and jumped in. Someone else was still downstairs as I turned the corner and saw flashes of light in the still dark room. I will never forget what I saw next- N at the bottom of the stairs, his little face upturned to mine, the flashlight clutched in his hands. He climbed the stairs toward me, saying apologetically "I was just looking..." I sternly said, "N, you were very naughty- you need to stay in bed until Mommy tells you that it is time to go downstairs", and I tucked him back in. I then turned to Ellie who was hiding under her covers and asked what they were doing. She said that N had gone downstairs and had come back up telling her,"Santa didn't get me what I wanted, but he did get me what I wanted! Come see!" And she had been at the top of the stairs when she heard me coming, and ran back to bed, leaving N to take the fall. I again told the kids they would have to wait until we told them to come down, and I then went to shower and get dressed. Finally, at 7 they were able to go down and start opening presents.

This cape was made especially for N by our next-door neighbor. It is gorgeous, made from satin and custom monogrammed. I think Ed and I like it better than N (who enjoys running around the house in it, but doesn't fully appreciate it's beauty).

After a couple of hours, we headed over to my parents to have breakfast, and then open stockings. (as usual, E was stuck to Uncle Andrew for most of his visit)

After a short nap, we headed on over to celebrate with Ed's family. We had dinner, and then the kids had a present opening extravaganza.

The day after Christmas we had dinner with my family, hung out, and opened some more presents.

K loved opening presents so much that she ran to help Omi and Papi with theirs:

We decided to get some photo groupings. Here are the grown kids: Katherine, (me), Andrew, Sandy, and Cara.
Our family, growing up:

Most of the grandchildren- the two youngest refused to be involved in any way:

So here they are separately:

We did have one more evening together, where everyone came over for pizza at our place. Although our Christmas Marathon is exhausting, it is always a fun time. I love big families and the crazy, loud, and sometimes chaotic holidays that they bring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Happenings

With a little over a week left until Christmas, I thought I would make a post about all our December activities thus far.

We started off the month on December 1st with the Trader Joe's Advent calendars. The kids look forward to these every year, and you can't beat the price ($1). Of course we had to get K one too, because she would have been pretty upset if E and N got to enjoy their chocolate every day, and she was left out!! Sure enough, after breakfast she comes to me with her little hand held out saying "treat? treat?" (although it sounds more like "chee? chee?" It did not take her long to catch on to what was happening. Hopefully she won't be too traumatized after Christmas, when she is cut off from her morning treat!

Decorating the tree was a good time. The kids, and E especially, really love going through their personal ornament boxes and hanging them on the tree. K got into the spirit and hung several unbreakable ornaments. She got especially attached to a pillow-like ornament of snoopy from my childhood. She would take it off the tree, and walk around the house with it. I even caught her going up to it and wiping her nose a couple of times! Maybe she likes the softness.

We had our annual neighborhood Christmas party where Santa and Mrs. Claus come and pass out gifts to all the kids. N still believes, so he was a little awestruck by seeing Santa in person. But he soon got over it as his name was called first to receive presents. He got quite chatty up there with Santa, detailing his Christmas wish list. Only after he got down did he whisper to me in a worried voice,"I forgot to tell Santa how old I am!" I told him that was OK, and that he could go up later when it was K's turn. So when K's name was called N came up with me, and stood solemnly before Santa holding up 4 fingers. I told Santa and Mrs. C that N had forgotten to tell them how old he was.
K was not so thrilled with the whole meeting Santa experience. Last year she sat happily in his lap, but this year she screamed her head off.
I held her and sat on Santa's knee while K looked on suspiciously.

We had a family Christmas party on Sunday. I had a chance to take some pictures of the kids in their Christmas clothes, and we also got a pretty decent family shot.

Finally, last night we decided to decorate our gingerbread house and train. Ed and I struggled a little with the icing, but the kids didn't mind munching on candy canes and licking icing blobs in between decorating. I was again surprised at K's enthusiasm. I really thought she would be too young, and almost sent her to bed. But Ed felt bad for her, so she stayed up, and she loved it! She liked eating candy the most because she has a sweet tooth, but she also liked decorating.