Friday, December 28, 2007

too many days of Christmas

After making my blog rounds yesterday, I feel quite lucky. Over at Laurie's, I read about P. Miller's life-threatening blizzard ordeal. Almost the entire family was sick at the Nekked Lizard household, and poor Jenny spent a couple of hours sick in a gas station just to travel home and find out her adorable offspring contracted double conjunctivitis. My little cold is hardly worth mentioning.

The little guy still believes in Santa. I think. The alternative is that he knows the truth and is playing along for effect. Or he may possibly be gathering intelligence. He left Santa a note. It was simple, a question about the order in which the reindeer are harnessed to the sleigh. After consulting hubby, I disguised my handwriting to the best of my ability, answered his question, and put the note down next to the empty milk mug and a plate containing the last snickerdoodle, half eaten. I stuffed the stockings and left unwrapped gifts from Santa for the children in front of the fireplace before retiring for the night: jewelry for our lovely daughter, a stereo for the big guy and a Nintendo DS Lite for the little guy.

We got up very early Christmas Eve morning to the Santa presents and bulging stockings. We celebrated early to accommodate Christmas Day travel. Last year the family came to us, so this year, it was our turn to do the drive on Christmas morning.

After tearing through the wrapped packages, we had our traditional baked French toast for breakfast with a side of the chocolate candy that Santa left in the children's stockings. It was a lovely, leisurely day. The children enjoyed newly acquired Christmas gifts while hubby and I lounged on the sofa. We ate when we felt hungry and slept when the mood struck.

Christmas morning found us on the turnpike, driving to the home of hubby's sister. We arrived with presents, food, children and dogs in tow. Jack and Maddy went straight to the backyard, to avoid my sister-in-law's newly laid wood floors (which are indeed quite gorgeous). Present opening was the first item on the agenda. The older children are getting hard to by for, and my in-laws opted for gift cards and Amazon Wish List items. The little guy is still tons of fun. He got video games, lego sets, and multiple nerf weapons. When the nerf guns were opened, we ran the boys, young and old, outside to shoot each other with abandon. Afterward everyone but me settled down to watch a movie. The weather was beautiful. My brother-in-law built his wife a lovely covered patio this summer and equipped it with a stereo, sun blind, and comfy furniture. I sat in the shade, had a drink, and watched Jack and Maddy run through the back yard in the sun.

My brother-in-law grilled prime rib and we had all the trimmings along with it for our Christmas dinner. My contribution was dessert: crustless brownie pie and Southern pecan pie. Everything was delicious. A wonderful Christmas, wouldn't you agree?

But we're not done. My father volunteered to work Christmas Day. There are younger mothers and fathers in his department, and since we became adults with families of our own, he frequently takes holiday shifts to give those parents the holiday with their children. He works for an airline on systems that support an important computer resource for the industry, something that runs 24 hours per day, seven days per week. It is sweet of him, but not altogether altruistic: he receives extra pay and once the holiday has passed, extra time off the job. As a result, we aren't celebrating the holiday with my parents until tomorrow.

Saturday will be our third celebration. The sheer volume of presents that my children receive is unbelievable. My husband has one nephew who is twenty-one years old. My brother has never married and has no children. The adults on both sides shower my children with an obscene amount of Christmas loot.

I am holidayed out. I dread the drive to my parents house. My husband and I will be trapped in our car with two teenagers, a suddenly whiny nine year old, and two schnauzers for just over two hours. That is not the worst of it. My parents want us to stay overnight. I suspect that a tour of the ice damage is planned. I would rather have every tooth in my head pulled. Sans sedative. This tour would involve approximately 1,000 acres. Daddy thinks he lost trees that will translate into twelve ricks of wood once he has converted the fallen trees into neat stacks of firewood. I love my parents. But I am living proof that you can take the country out of the girl.

On the bright side, I do have to say we have had a few quiet, relaxing days. One day my husband and I spent the bulk of the day sitting on the sofa watching the snow fall softly on our backyard. It was quite a pretty sight, especially with a fire roaring in the fireplace. Yesterday I caught up on my Tivo viewing while hubby played his favorite video game. The boys are so engrossed with their Christmas loot that they aren't fighting, and our lovely daughter has been busy working, sleeping, and doing whatever 17 year old girls do. If Christmas celebrations were over, life would be pretty perfect.


laurie said...

that sounds pretty perfect, i have to say, especially your quiet time sitting on the patio watching the dogs. (how cold was it? or warm? were you bundled up?)

i get all holidayed-out, too, even though our holidays are more compacted than yours; two intense days, and then everyone goes back to work.

my body is craving oranges now, after all the carbodhydrates, but work is still bountiful with brownie squares, truffles, mixed nuts, old christmas cookies, and fudge. i trot back and forth to the treat table, stuffing my face between Page One tasks (i'm editing page one this week), even while my body say NO! No! give me lettuce! give me fruit!

Swearing Mother said...

I am reaching critical mass as far as mince-pies and sherry log are concerned, it may be getting to the point where I have to declare a truce.

All the food we've got left could do another party, but would anyone want to come? Everyone's too stuffed to move.

the rotten correspondent said...

You're absolutely right. Enough is enough. Our holiday has been very low key and relaxing, but I'm still ready to get back to "normalcy", whatever that might be.

laurie and swearing mother are echoing my thoughts, too. I am so chronically stuffed I hurt, yet I keep eating because it's there and...I don't know why else. Is it January yet?

Good luck with your folks tomorrow and I hope you're able to avoid the grand tour. You made me laugh about taking the country out of the girl.Have you told your folks yet?

Kim said...

I loved watching my dogs play, Laurie. They were so cute. It was very warm Christmas day, maybe 55 and sunny. I sat outside in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt and bare feet. Spectacular.

Have a salad for dinner, Laurie. You'll feel better! I don't miss the work food at all. Just when you think you've escaped holiday food, you have to go back to work . . .

SM, I know exactly what you mean. I have to cook something to take to my parent's house tomorrow, but I can hardly bring myself to walk into my kitchen. Ugh.

I've been telling my parents that I hate the farm since I was 17, RC. Yesterday while talking to Mama on the phone, I heard Daddy yell, "If you'd just move your ass up here, you could help me with stuff like this." He meant it as a joke. Kinda. When hubby and I married, Daddy offered him 20 acres for a wedding present, but only if we'd build our home on it and live there. We passed.

The Green Stone Woman said...

I feel I've had too many sweets, but other than that Christmas went off without a hitch. Of course, I didn't have to make a long drive with kids and pets in my car. Time to recuperate for you and time for me to start eating normal food again. It was fun while it lasted, but now it is back to reality. I need a good purging!

laurie said...

i had a salad for lunch, anyway.

and then back at work there were: chocolate truffles dusted in cocoa, and a huge tin of mixed nuts, including lovely fat cashews.

guess what i did.

yep. but today i will be good.

Kim said...

I adore cashews. I'd have been right there with ya.

Nekked Lizard Lady said...

Well, I think I love the time before the Holidays, preparing for them in my own way. Then when the holidays actually occur, that's when I yearn for the normal life again. Yes, I'm glad it comes once a year, but I'm glad it only comes once a year.

thefoodsnob said...

That sounds perfect, all right!
I need some reality, too. The kids didn't start sleeping late until two days ago, when they have to go back to school Wednesday.
(BTW- Good job not ruining your daughter's birthday with Christmas stuff, and thanks for my Happy Birthday!)