Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Vacation

This is very very late for a Christmas post, but I have a good excuse. =)

Our family was sick with strep pretty much the entire month of December culminating with me (mom) getting sick Christmas Day.

But, it was a good time for a mom to get sick as sick times go: I had my parents, Luke and my brother and sister-in-law to watch the kids while I layed on the couch wondering if I could take just a little larger dose of Tylenol and maybe just a bit sooner.

I am obviously now well and as of today the kids have gone back to school. Sniff! I miss them!

My tree is still up and I'm leaving it there. I really never got to enjoy it while it was up and I love all the soft lights that sparkle when all the rest of the house is quiet, so it's going to stay up until my birthday in 2 more weeks.
We did have a couple of fun days between the last child and dear hubby getting strep and my falling ill. Precious Jewel and dear Luke finally felt well enough, and had been on antibiotics long enough, that I went ahead and dared to make the Christmas cookies that I'd been so longing to make with the kids. There is just something about the season that beckons sugar, baking, and Christmas music playing dreamily in the background. The kids first day off was the Wednesday before Christmas. I still had very little packed for our trip we were taking in just 2 days and had loads of laundry to still fold that had been left to grow while I rocked sick kids, but I was determined we were going to bake some holiday cheer.

This was Luke's suggestion before he headed back to bed for his last fever induced sleep: make no-bakes (his favorite) and pour them into cookie cutters to see if they'd make into shapes.

It was a great idea in theory, but after I realized that I had cooked the sugar on the hot stove a little too short (comes from frayed nerves with two 2-year-olds clambering to help stir the bubbly). At that time I did not have sugarplums dancing in my head, I had imaginary ambulance sirens ringing in my ears in fear of the little elves being burned. Dear Luke had planned to occupy the littlest people, but I found myself sending him to bed instead.
We all survived and thoroughly enjoyed watching the no-bakes squish out after I'd lift the cookie cutter. No real discernible shapes, but lots of sticky gooey goodness.

The next day I went for sugar cookies. I have a recipe that makes about 9 dozen (I wanted a lot to take to Luke's parents and to my parents for Christmas). That is a whole lot of flour to spread around the table and onto the floor when you're trying to get the house ready to leave.

Good Lookin' mischievously kept grabbing fist fulls of flour to "let it snow!" in his sister's hair. To which she delightedly "snow blowered" it back into his face from her cupped hands. So much for the sweet cookie making images in my head. It was all I could do keeping them from flinging the dough as weapons at each other.

Much of Nater's time was spent licking flour off the table, accidentaly scooping it into his nose, sneezing, rubbing his nose and licking the table again. (that and sneaking pudgy fist-fulls full of dough).

We did our little science lesson for the morning as well! I asked Mr. Smiles and Good Lookin' which colors mixed with which to make the new color. They got it right about half the time. ; )

Want a little cookie to go with that frosting dear boy?!

Some people had to go shirtless due to their constantly wiping their hands on the front of their shirts.

Christmas Eve morning we went to Luke's parents house to open presents together and spend time as family. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have 3 adorable little girls 5 and under and my kids love love love being with them. our 7 kids are all stair-steps with Precious Jewel being the oldest, a year later Mr. Smiles, a year later A and so on and so forth. It makes for great play times and some really cute pictures.

Grandkids and Grandparents. I don't think we ever did get everyone to look at the camera at the same time, but they did pretty well!

Precious Jewel and A excitedly playing with their new dolls that look like them. Many fun play dates ahead.

With them all being fairly close in age, the older ones are often found playing with the little one's toys. Nater Mater was delighted to get his own Lightning McQueen toys that Good Lookin' couldn't rightly run off with saying they were his.
I wonder what my sweet "baby" boy will look like next Christmas? I don't think I'll be able to still call him my baby boy. I want to just stop the clock on them all and freeze time to the innocence, but Father Time keeps marching on and refuses to listen to this mother's pleas.

True Christmas Eve

We left Luke's parent's house and drove the 6 hours of traffic-filled highways down to Dallas to spend the next week with my brother and his family. My parents and youngest brother had arrived that afternoon from up North as well as my sister and her husband came from the central part of the country. I was looking forward to being with most of my family (my brother I'll see later in January).
My sister is a Christmas Eve baby. They even sent her home with my mom from the hospital 30+ years ago in a Christmas stocking. Every year we celebrate her birthday complete with presents wrapped in NON-Christmas paper and a desert of her choosing. Mr. Smiles excitedly exclaimed that she "has the same birthday as Jesus!!!"

Good Lookin,' who doesn't attach himself to many people, is taken with Grami. He worships the ground she walks on and follows her like a devoted little puppy. True happiness is pictured here.

My family loves to re-enact the Christmas story while it is being read from the Bible.
"And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with
whom He is pleased."

"Mary" and "Joseph" were a little stiff. (snicker) and for some reason Mary didn't want to use her blond-haired girl doll for baby Jesus, so an arm-chair cover had to stand in. ; )

One of Mr Smiles favorite presents: a plate made in school by his beloved cousin. It was the first thing he asked for while I was unpacking.

My family decided a present theme this year: one present for the whole family that everyone would enjoy: GAMES!!!
I am so excited to have some new games this year! Luke and I also went pretty simple this year (well, we always go pretty simple) but we stuck with one theme for our kids as well.
The result: lots of fun for the rest of the year:
Ants in Your Pants
Don't Break the Ice
That Fishin' Game
Full Set of Dominos
Junior Monopoly (we have the adult version, but the kids lose interest before it's even half over)
My game cupboard is happily stocked for many family fun nights to come. Sigh a contented sigh here.

And of course, lots of reading was listened to and enjoyed.
I woke up feeling funny Christmas Day, but fortunately didn't get flattened until the next day.

We are so in love with Beverly Cleary. Even Good Lookin' who is not inclined to sit for too long, listens when Romona is at her ornery best. That woman knows kids like no other writer I've read.
Reading Romona's Kindergarten introduction is also very good for a little boy who has declared he will never go to school and will kick and scream all day if I ever try. Hmmmmmm at least I'm forwarned.

I was glad I had brought a stack of books because by this time I was nearly incoherant and my parents who instilled in me the love of the written word spent chunks of time reading to my kids.
There is nothing more lovely than cracking open a good book: new or old. I love the smell of the paper and the rustle of the pages as the reader is carried away on the journey within.

Trying out our new games at home. Nater Mater kept stuffing the Ant pieces down the front of his pajamas for his "pants."

His cookie decorating: = )

1 comment:

Living Creatively said...

great post, great pictures!
Tree-- i'm the opposite; took mine down the day after Christmas! our itty bitty house needed it's space back!

So sorry you guys were sick for so long, and I'm impressed you got some fun things in during that time, like cookie-making. (my boys play "snow" with flour, too!)

Gotta love the arm-chair-cover baby Jesus! HA!!

Oh, and the group kid picture, with one little girl picking her nose, is great. Adds character to photos. And I'm serious! too cute.