Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas!


After all of the craziness with Jacob being sick and the many late nights of shopping and wrapping leading up to the big day, we made it to Christmas.  Well, Christmas Eve Eve, anyway.  Because of our travels to Buffalo, we always have to do our home gifts early.  There just isn't enough space or creativity to get all of the presents there without "Santa" gifts being seen, so we have no choice but to do them at home a day or two early.  This year we were at least able to be home until Christmas Eve morning, so we could do a real "Christmas morning" at home.  It was much better than what we've done in the past, where Santa comes while the kids are at daycare so we can leave that night and still have a normal morning routine before daycare.
 
We set out some cookies and carrots with milk for Santa...


And once the kids were in bed, the rest of the presents got wrapped and the tree looked like this...

The boys actually slept in pretty good on Christmas Eve morning.  Jacob was up at 7am, and we told him we had to wait until Carter woke up, which happened around 8am.  Carter, of course, woke up with a cough, but he was happy enough so it was time to open gifts!  First the traditional picture on the stairs...

Jacob got a sneak peak of his big gift when he ran to the bathroom first thing in the morning and was excited to finally see it up close...
A bike!
On to stocking stuffers...

Carter probably could have stopped after the first couple stocking stuffers and been happy, but we continued on.  Jacob excitedly hit up his big gifts...one was a Playmobil rock band and stage...it lights up and it hooks up to an MP3 player!

And then he moved on to the other big one, and I happened to catch a great reaction when he opened up the front of the package...

It's a Playmobil castle that he really wanted but was a bit out of the price range until one of Santa's elves found a great deal out of the blue...

For some reason I didn't get pictures of Carter with his big gifts (a Duplo train and a Little People plane), but he loved them and I'll try to catch him playing this week.  One of the favorite gifts of the morning was actually a joint gift--a Hover Ball, which you may have seen on TV.  It's a soccer ball with a flat side that's made for kicking on rugs.  I wasn't sure it would work, but decided it was worth a shot because both boys could enjoy it together.  And for a brief moment, they did!  It worked perfectly and it's a very nice indoor ball alternative since it stays on the floor!  Hopefully there will be more joint playtime to come.

We packed up as quickly as we could and headed out with just enough time to make it to Craig's parents' house and change for 4pm mass.  The service was very nice as usual, with the added bonus of our family presenting the gifts. Ironic, of course, because I can't actually take communion there...but it was nice nonetheless. 

Afterward we went to Craig's aunt's house for the big family gathering.  It was a little different this year without his Uncle Mike, who passed away a month ago, but we still had a nice time and we all got some nice gifts.  Then it was time to head back to Craig's brother's house for the big exchange with the boys' cousins.  Jacob got both of the Lego sets he really wanted...but of course he blinked every single time I tried to take a picture...

Then he got a Playmobil set he really wanted...
He was so excited!

Carter did well, too.  He got clothes, a little train with Ernie on it, a little Duplo set, a whole set of dinosaurs, and a whole set of safari animals.  Both boys did very well.
Carter is kissing the elephant...silly boy!
We had a rather late night that night, not just because of the gift exchange but because of a stand-off with Jacob.  We forgot something at home that we really needed, and he freaked out when we suggested some alternatives.  The stand-off kept us up quite late, past midnight.  Once that was settled I couldn't sleep because there was a terrible windstorm outside.  Most Christmases around here it's cold and snowy, but not this year.  We had wind and thunderstorms instead!  The wind was terrible, with gusts at 65mph.  Two buildings in Buffalo partially collapsed!  We had a couple friends in Rochester with some property damage, though luckily all we came back to was the pinwheel in our front yard missing one petal! 

I finally fell asleep sometime after 3am, and the boys slept until after 9.  We had a lazy morning for the most part, just getting dressed and me preparing a casserole to take over to Craig's brother's for lunch.  Normally we have to leave by 11am to make it to my parents' by noon, but they were spending the holiday in Portland with my brother's family.  It's the first time ever that I've been apart from them on Christmas.  It was fine as I was happy that my niece and nephew got to be with them, but it was definitely...different.  Oh, and did I mention that our sister-in-law was sick with the flu and we didn't see her for even a second over the two days?  That was a bummer, as well.  But we had a nice time nonetheless. 

After a quick lunch we headed off to my extended family's gathering.  It was the usual chaos...lots of people, lots of food, a couple dogs, and the usual big gift exchange.  Jacob got an iTunes gift card that he really wanted and Carter got an awesome dinosaur toy that turns into an excavator (I actually almost got him another one in the line myself, after I got one for my nephew--they're super cool).  Then, some gifts from Santa arrived for the youngest kids!  It was not our doing, I will say that much!  We gave our OK for the special delivery because a couple of the cousins needed a boost in their belief in Santa, but the gifts our kids got were as much of a surprise to us as they were to them.  And boy, did Santa go all out!  Carter got a Leap Frog Innotab 2, and Jacob got--get this--a Wii!  If you recall the Wii U debacle from a couple weeks ago, this was not that, but it was a Wii nonetheless...a refurbished one, at least.  Santa went way overboard, for sure (though the main target of this little plan got an iPhone!), but Jacob is, of course, thrilled.  Carter just goes with the flow.  He spent most of the day with a bit of a fever, but he was in a good mood and I caught this adorable picture of him playing with his cousin Jordan's phone...

We also snapped the annual picture of the next generation (minus a couple who were at their other side of the family this year)...

We headed out after a late dinner and came directly home.  Due to the stand-off the previous night we opted to head back to Rochester instead of staying at my parents' empty house like we originally planned.  It was just as well, I guess.  It gave us the whole next day at home to sort through the gifts and clean up a bit.  We've had a relatively lazy couple days since, which has been much needed for all of us.  Carter is still congested but his fever was gone when he woke up on the 26th.  My throat is finally not sore for the first time in a couple weeks.  Tomorrow my parents are coming in to do our Christmas, and I'm cooking and might actually use my china!  It should be fun to hear all of their stories from their trip and finish off with a few more gifts. 

It was such a crazy rush leading up to the holiday and I'm savoring every moment of not having to do anything right now.  My dishwasher is fixed, we're all home together (for one more day), and I finally have a little time to think!  Of course I have a long list that's been waiting, but I'm not going to stress out.  This week is all about rest and recovery, and that's what I aim to do first and foremost!  Hope everyone had a nice Christmas...enjoy the last week of 2014!

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