Monday, January 4, 2010
Who would have ever thought that I, the Blogging Queen, could go over a month without so much as a nod to my blog?
Who would have ever thought that I could let two holidays pass without so much as a blip?
Who would have ever thought that I could get through the Christmas break with my six darlings home for 12 days with only a handful more grey hairs?
Well, it's all true.
I last posted at Thanksgiving. From the next day forward I was busy what seemed like every second of every day decorating inside and out, baking, shopping on-line and off-line, thinking of gifts for no less than 16 teachers, wrapping scores of presents (well over a hundred at last count), and assembling castles and doll houses. Attending Christmas parties and presentations, helping children make homemade Christmas presents for classroom gift exchanges - such a charming idea (sorry, is my sarcasm showing?), cooking dozens of Russian bliny for "culture day" for two classrooms, taking the kids out to shop for their "Stockings for Kids" and "Hat and Mitten Tree" at school, sending in fruit trays, creating and sending out our Christmas card and newsletter, getting our tree, taking the kids out to see the holiday lights, visiting with out-of-state friends and family .... and .... pant, pant, gasp. Someone please check my blood pressure.
Anyway, it was all worth it. The kids had a magical Christmas season, and believe it or not, I did too. I love the beauty of Christmas and can't get enough of it. In fact, though it's past New Year's, we still haven't taken down our tree and decorations. James says he wants to leave it all up till his friend Madiyar visits later this month and I just may do that.
Of course my "old kids" loved it like always. But our "new kids" were just beside themselves for weeks. They loved every aspect of it, from opening cards and Advent calendars to hiking through the cold to find our tree and of course opening gifts Christmas morning. As the icing on the cake (literally), we even had a white Christmas this year, with plenty of snow play and ice skating on our pond in the days before the big event.
We kept to our usual Christmas Eve traditions of driving out to see a holiday lights drive-thru display at the Herr's Factory, then home to set up the manger, put out cookies and milk and a loving note from the kids for Santa, and each opening one homemade gift. James and Bella got custom-covered body pillows, Patrick and Julie got homemade "snuggies", Rosie got a beautiful lighted display cabinet made by Fred to display a movie sheet for New Moon, and Daniel got a hand-carved and decorated walking stick for his nature hikes. Mom and Dad each got some beautifully made cards and loving poems. Then off to bed for the kids. It's been their tradition every year that they all sleep in one room on Christmas Eve. Wasn't sure if we'd be able to manage it this year, but somehow all six kids snuggled down for the night in Julie's room, snug as bugs in a rug. Of course, Fred and I (and my visiting sister Mary) were up a bit longer bringing gifts down to set up under the tree, but we were done by about 11:30, so not too shabby.
Still, 5am (our Minimal Acceptable Time) came pretty early as they all ran in to our room and jumped on our bed screaming Merry Christmas. We always make them wait at the top of the steps while we go down and turn on the Christmas lights, start the coffee and ready the video camera. We go s-l-o-w-l-y just to torture them, which is more fun than should be legal.
For the next several hours they emptied their stockings of treasures, ate candy, and took turns opening gifts. Santa brought Julie and Bella i-Pod Nanos, Patrick an i-Pod Touch, Rosie a laptop, James a stereo, and Daniel a castle for his knights. Fred and I supplied them with plenty of clothes, books, video games, movies, Barbies, and whatever else sucked the credit cards out of our wallets to last 'em for a while. The pile under the tree was nothing short of obnoxious. I know I should be ashamed of myself. But you know what? It's once a year. And really, the years between 4 and maybe 14 are the ones you just giddy about, so 10 years out of 80 or 90 I say let 'er rip, do it up big with no holds barred.
Over break we also went to the book store and the mall to let the kids spend some gift cards they received, went ice skating at an indoor rink, had some family friends over (more ice skating on the pond), and went to the movies a couple times. We rang in the new year quietly, seeing Avatar in the evening (phenomenal movie) and then stayed home with one friend over to help us make some noise and drink some sparkling cider.
Now here I sit, on the brink of our lives returning to some sense of normalcy as the kids return to school. We had fun. Lots of fun.
But I'll be glad to see that school bus motoring down the road toward our house tomorrow morning .....