Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

I still remember waking up at 4 in the morning, sleeping in the same room with Pat and Chris, and wondering if we could go downstairs yet. I don't even know if my parents had gone to bed yet. This morning, I was awake by 6. (I couldn't go to sleep though, so I crept downstairs and was awake until about 3:30 and then up a couple of hours later.) I finally went upstairs around 7:30 to see if any creatures were stirring. I saw Mags and Ellie approaching my room, but Griffin and Ian were still asleep. I woke up everyone else and we had a quiet start, reading part of Helaman and then Luke 2. We got to talk about how times are a-changin' and what would happen if during the night someone had come into the house and taken all the presents. (I'm sure Griffin was quietly freaking out inside.) We talked about how good it was to help others at this time of year and how if that had happened we would still be fine because we had a house and food and clothes and warmth and each other. I think it set a great tone and really appreciated John's quiet and thoughtful start.

We went into the living room and spent the first few minutes, as is tradition, looking at the stocking stuff. And then the opening of presents began. The kids were a bit nervous that I didn't have much to open, but I continually reassured them that my gift was ongoing. You see, last week, the floors were replaced in both of our bathrooms. Yes, the carpeted bathroom is gone! The smell is gone! I have beautiful travertine (sp?) floors that John got for a steal three years ago (I had no idea they are usually so expensive--we paid $1 a square foot for them.) And mid-January the shower tile is being replaced! John has also, as I have mentioned before, been making a concerted effort to get everything up and going in the kitchen. It's the best gift of all to have a comfortable house. He has been working really hard and it was truly appreciated. His sister, Gigi, knitted us an amazing blanket for our front room that matches perfectly. It's so beautiful! (Later on she brought more fun presents for the kids.)

**Note: This is a list of their gifts mostly to be included in my blog publication for journal keeping. If you don't care what they got, skip to the next paragraph.**Griffin got a bunch of Star Wars Legos (and unbelievably he spent almost the entire day building them by himself), some books, and other stuff. Ellie got a bunch of Littlest Pet Shop toys and boots and a coat. Maggie got make-up, a My Sims DS game, a coat, and we made up for her counterfeit $100 bill with a real one to buy some clothes. Ian got a tripod and car stereo. John got a car stereo as well and for the family we got the entire collection of Calvin and Hobbes. As things were wrapping up, I ran back to the room telling them I forgot something and then haphazardly gave them each a box saying, "I don't know which goes to each person, so just open them up." They were thrilled with their engraved iPod nanos, and spent the rest of the day on the computers setting them up. Of course there were other little things here and there (including our annual haul of DVDs), but they seemed to feel it a successful year.

I was thrilled to find the missing Guitar Hero 3 game and spent an hour playing while the others were occupied. I took advantage of the additional down time to do some laundry and start cooking for our family gathering at the Roden home. We enjoyed another full feast and lots of laughs. The snow has been falling off and on through the day.

Gigi and Carl showed up a little before 5 and helped with the final food touches before we took off down the hill carrying egg nog (yes, we love it!), bruschetta, sweet potatoes, profiterole, and seven layer dip. Liisa had made everything for sandwiches, Gigi brought zucchini brownies, and Kirsti brought apple beer and more trifle! As usual, we ate and ate until we were nearly doubled over, and played another great game. By 8, it was time to head back home (although Griffin had left with Maggie about an hour before because he wanted to work more on his Legos and watch Mister Magorium's Wonder Emporium.) It was another fun evening and now I'm off to bed!

Check out John's dollar store "bling!"

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