Saturday, December 25, 2010

Night Before/Day Of

After the frenzy of cleaning at Mom and Dad's house, all was finally ready for Christmas Eve. My brother Andy came from Georgia and Jerry actually beat me to the house. Uncle George was also in attendance - but it was a smaller crowd than usual as the nieces and nephews weren't there. ZBoy was the only kid.

Dinner was a festive affair. Good food - turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn casserole (Z's favorite), mac & cheese, and brown-n-serve rolls (which seemed much larger now than they did back when Christmas dinner was at Grandma's house). And because it was a smaller group and we were fairly comfortable at the table, we opened presents right at the table after dinner!

My dad got two very cool gifts - but only one at the table. He is now the proud owner of Kindle! He's very thrilled with it, though it downloads things from the internet via a wireless connection. Their internet connection is so slow that he now has a marvelous excuse to go hang around restaurants and coffee shops with free wi-fi - he gets to download his stuff much faster!!! His other cool gift was a Glock handgun - which was opened earlier and played with down on the target range before we even got there.

As per our tradition, books were the gifts of the day.

ZBoy has been hinting around for this book since he heard it was going to be published! The Grandparents granted a long desired wish when he unwrapped the latest "Wimpy Kid" volume!

Jerry got a chuckle out of PJ O'Rourke - and when Jerry laughs, so does everyone else.

I don't know who wrote this one, but Andy got a book about how to beat up anybody. Wait - I think he WROTE that book, didn't he?
I'm not a big fan of tattoos, but I confess that were I to get one one day, THIS would be the one I wanted. It's big, but it's so my family! My brother Matt started this trend with his less-detailed Red Dragon on his upper arm - Andy took the idea and ran with it. I love this one!

And this one really works on Andy. In fact, I hesitate to say it, but this whole look with the facial hair, the lack of hair on top and the tattoo works on him. Handsome guy!

In my family, unless truly terrible things occurred, we tend to keep our exes. My grandparents couldn't live together, but remained cordial enough to spend time together at family gatherings.
None of my siblings or myself have remained in touch with out exes, but Uncle George still comes to Christmas Eve. He was married to my father's stepsister and is my "cousin" Liane's dad. It wouldn't be Christmas Eve at the farm without Uncle George!

After dinner, dessert and presents came the after-dinner occupations. Jerry fell alseep.

Dad watched "Family Guy Star Wars" and Andy checked on on Facebook and chatted with a friend. Darling Man and ZBoy headed for home, and I washed dishes for an hour and a half. The dishwasher's been broken forever and with just the two of them there, Mom doesn't feel like it really needs to be fixed or replaced - but it sure would be nice when there's a big family dinner!!!
Once the dishes were done, I headed home to wrap presents and be Santa. Darling Man was already asleep, ZBoy was in bed, but reading his Wimpy Kid book. I waited until the last minute excursions for water or a snack had finally run their course, then carried all the presents downstairs and started wrapping by the light of the Christmas Tree. First, I wrapped the little things and stuffed Z's stocking. Then I started in on the other stuff. By 2am, my eyes were closing despite my best efforts, but I finally finished. I climbed the stairs wearily, placed Z's stocking at the end of his bed and stumbled into my own.
I managed to sleep in until 8am. It wasn't crazy kid noise or even animals that woke me up. It was Darling Man baking Orange Danish in the kitchen. The smell snapped my eyes open. I tried to roll over and ignore it, but the sounds of Z in the next room began to filter in and I gave up. Pulling on my robe, I stopped at his door.
He looked up and grinned at me. He knows there's no Santa now, but enjoys the illusion anyway. And he also understands that in my family tradition, the purpose of the stocking was to keep the kid in their bed and/or room until the parents are ready to get up. It didn't always work. In fact, up until last year, the stocking itself was so exciting that he had to run into our room and wake us up to share the amazement of Santa's arrival in the night! He knows better now, but still enjoys waking up to his stocking!
Stockings also gives him a little something to hold him until we're ready. A couple of cups of coffee or tea, breakfast and a quick glance at the newspaper - and then it's time to open PRESENTS!!!!

Z really got into the giving side of Christmas this year. He picked out and paid for with his allowance presents for me and Darling Man. And took great delight in wrapping them. Disguising his gifts in boxes that had nothing to do with the present. Looks like Darling Man got a box of energy-efficient lightbulbs!!!
Oh! It's actually an mbira (thumb piano)! It has a really lovely tone which drew Kida away from the catfood to rest her chin on DM's knee and listen as long as he would play!

I asked that no one get me presents as I have everything I need or want at the moment, but DM did get me this card - which strangely looked a lot like him - right down to the attire. Coincidence or intentional????

I actually did wind up with a couple of things - As I said, Z got into the giving side of things! I was the proud recipient of his first solo sewing effort (which looks a bit like Yoda), a jigsaw puzzle (which I love) and a book of the comic strip "Zits" which never fails to make me laugh. When Z was born, I got a compilation of "Calvin and Hobbes" and I had no trouble imagining the tiny baby next to me as the mischevious Calvin in the near future. The same is true of "Zits" main character Jeremy - a teenager who loves his parents but is behaving like every teenager that ever was.

ZBoy did enjoy the receiving end of Christmas too, though. He got his yearly StarWars Lego set (the new version of Slave One this year), a couple of StarWars action figures, some "night vision" goggles, and a refurbished XBox360 with some games. He was a happy guy!
Since the InLaws had gone to South Florida for Christmas this year, there wasn't the usual tug-of-war about who would spend Christmas Day with whom this year (a huge relief - my least favorite part of the holiday is feeling pressured to spend it with anyone!), I hosted a small dinner for us and my stepson and his family. I bought a tiny turkey (8.18 lbs) and cooked it in my NuWave oven. It looks a little funny, but tastes wonderful!

I stuff my turkey with cut up apples, which makes the meat moist and gives a slightly sweet taste to the meat. Baste with olive oil and cook! This was taken before it was done, but I wanted to check the thermometer to see how much longer. Don't worry - I know it wasn't done yet! I made mashed potatoes, steamed some broccoli and tossed together a stove top stuffing mix. It was easy and relaxed in the kitchen and I felt quite happy and peaceful as we sat down to dinner.

Kylee was feeling a bit grumpy and left the table (ostensibly to wash her hands but she'd already done that) for the picture - but DM, Patty, Kurt and ZBoy were ready to dig in. It was a successful dinner and the best part? Rinsing dishes and putting them in the dishwasher afterwards. Clean up took five minutes and then I got to sit down with a cup of tea and actually visit. It was lovely.
The "kids" left shortly thereafter and then it was just us - just the way I like it!!!


gayle said...

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas! I sure wish a few would go out of town so we wouldn't have to share every Christmas!

Sandy said...

What a truly lovely Christmas! I love the picture of Kila and I love that Zboy bought his own gifts this year. Yay, kiddo!

PS: My grandson got the very same

Sandcastle Momma said...

That looks like a wonderful holiday! I'm so glad y'all had a good day.