Nobody said Christmas memories had to be in the past. Memories have to start from somewhere. And every year we have new happy Christmas memories. This year was no exception.
Our holiday began on Saturday; Christmas Eve. As I’ve stated before we always celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve at my Grandma O’s house. As you know I’m battling my second cold of the season we are just barely in to the winter season. But I tried really hard to not let that put a damper on the celebration.
I slept in a little later then I wanted to [but I so needed it]. I woke up around 12:30 in the afternoon. And then the baking began. I had no idea I had all of this baking in me. Who knew a girl who once had to call her aunt to find out how to boil eggs… [Obviously I knew you put them in boiling water, but I didn't know if you waiting until it was boiling to put them in or if you put them in the water and left them in until it boiled and how long you leave them. I think these were all very good questions, so take your cooking know it all and bite me. Oh and Merry Christmas ]
Anyway, who knew a girl who once had to call her aunt to find out how to boil eggs and who reads the directions very carfully every time she makes Kool-aid could bake so well? After last year’s cooking disasters I was a little leary about baking this year. But this year turned out so much better. All of our cookies were super yummy. And that inspired me to bake even more.
So Christmas Eve
morning afternoon I baked four loaves of bread. Did you hear that? I-baked-four-loaves-of-bread. Me. All by myself. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back. So, anyway, I made two loaves of strawberry bread and two loaves of pumpkin bread. And they turned out mighty tasty if I may say so myself.
Then I started on my potato soup. Remember it was my job to bring the potato soup this year. This did not go quite as smoothly with the soup as they did with the bread. I used a new recipe I have never used before. It was baked potato soup. Only I forgot about the baked part because the recipe I usually use [the one in my head that I learned from my mom and dad as a child] requires me to boil the potatoes, not bake them. So I’m going along on my merry way, when Lee points out that I did not bake the potatoes. Damn. No time to bake them now. So I just added the raw potatoes and hoped for the best. This, of course, meant that the original 25 minutes the recipe was suppose to take was no more like 1 1/2 hours to allow the potatoes to boil and soften. But by the time I was done and got it over to my grandma’s, where it then cooked on the stove for another half hour while we prepared everything else, it turned out pretty good. Everybody told me they thought it was really good [of course, they could have been lying, but I'm just going to assume it was good].
Like last year we had three different kinds of soup. My grandma made her “no calorie” vegetable soup. I made the potato soup. And my Aunt Lisa made the chicken enchileda soup. We had lots of other goodies too, like my strawberry and pumpkin bread, sausage, cheese and crackers, and a veggie platter. We all left the table stuffed.
As tradition hold we went out for a drive to look at Christmas lights and search for Rudolph’s nose. This year [since we had room in the van with Justis visiting his mom], my mom came with us.
I’ve gotten a little discouraged in the last few years because now that my cousins and I are grown, my family doesn’t seem to care much for this “driving around to look at the lights” tradition. When I was little everybody went to go look at lights. At least I thought so. Everybody put on their coats and shoes. And me and my grandma and mom always headed out first, but the rest of them followed behind us [I thought]. They always seemed to beat us back every year, but they were just taking off their coats and shoes when we got back so obviously they had been out looking at lights as well.
But now my family doesn’t even pretend to leave the house. They just all say “see ya when you get back.” And then they nap on the couch or whatever. And when we get back they say “oh, I heard a noise downstairs. I think Santa was here.” It’s just not the same.
However, Lee and I and the kids, and this year, my mom, went out to look at lights. A lot of people have great displays on their house. It kind of made me wish we did all that [well, except for the climbing and cold and electric bills and...ok, so I don't wish we did that, but it's pretty on other people's houses]. We went down this one street that’s not far from my grandma’s house. Every year, every single house on the street [except one] puts out milk cartons with lights lining their driveways and sidewalks. It’s really a spectacular sight. I think it’s so cool that the whole neighborhood [except that one house, which did have a Christmas tree in their front window] does that. It’s so beautiful.
And on our way back to grandma’s we saw Rudolph’s nose in the sky. Plus we say sleigh tracks in the snow. Santa must have been there.
When we got back the kids ripped on their shoes and coats and headed downstairs. Santa had been there. The presents spilled out in to the middle of the room now.
There was none of that waiting until everybody has their presents and then opening one by one crap. Caleb wasn’t having any of that. My Aunt Candy and my cousin Jack handed out the gifts. And as soon as they handed one to Caleb he began to rip it open.
Caleb took a lot care in opening his gifts. He gave it a lot of thought on what was the best way to open each and every gift. It was hilarious to watch him concentrating so hard. He got all kinds of things from his list; tons and tons of play-doh, some matchbox cars and tracks, movies galore [Robots, The Incredibles, and his beloved The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl], a Human Torch figurine that came with a motorized motorcycle, and, of course, clothes.
Skyler was ripping through her gifts so fast I didn’t even know what all she got until I was taking it all out of the bags once we got home. She really cashed in on the clothes. Which is a good thing because (1) with her growth spurt the last two years she has grown two sizes and desperately needed some new ones and (2) she LOVES clothes. Especially dresses, skirts and tights. And she got lots of them, so she was happy. She also got a huge doll townhouse and some furniture for it, a new diaper bag for her Bitty Twins, a microphone and some lip gloss. Yes, she is all girl and loving every minute of it.
Spencer was a frenzy of flying wrapping paper and strewn boxes as well. I also missed a lot of what he got until we got home. But he seemed to be very happy with all of his gifts. Well, except for the clothes. Most of the boxes of clothes were even opened. You could tell he opened the corner just enough to see that there was clothes inside and that’s where he stopped. He didn’t even take the tape off of half the boxes. He cracks me up. Besides clothes, he got some monster trucks, the Fantastic Four movie, and some PS2 games [Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Crash Twinsanity].
Keaton didn’t do to shabby either. He finally got his Heroscape game. It’s been on his list for two years now. My mom was telling me she thought it was so funny when she wrapped his presents. On one hand she had a gift for the child still in Keaton [the Heroscape game] and on the other hand she had such a grown up gift [web camera] for the man waiting to come out. That’s Keaton allright. Caught between his silliness of childhood and his wanting to be a mature teenager. Besides the Heroscape game and the web camera, he also got the “Guiness World Record 2005″ book, the complete Narnia collection and the movie Serenity, as well as a new soccer ball, a Zelda game for Gamecube [which I will have to test out for him] and new clothes.
Lee got the one thing he’s been wishing for since last Christmas when his friend gave us our new [to us]fish tank. He got a fish tank hood. So our little fishies will no longer have to live in the dark. Lee also got a wide conversion lens for his camera and a bunch of new clothes; jeans and some really nice sweatshirts [which I promise I will even let him wear this year...I will do my best not to steal his new clothes ]. The best thing he got was this little reindeer stuffed animal. The look on his face was priceless. He even looked at the tag to make sure it really was for him and not one of the kids. Turns out there was a gift card to Home Depot around the reindeer’s neck and the gift really was for him. But watching him open it was hilarious. Now he needs to decide what he wants to spend that one. Does he want to get the heating unit for our fireplace or does he want to buy paint so we can paint the walls in our house that so desperately need it? It’s up to him. I told him to spend it on himself.
As for me, my Christmas wishes came true too. I got Tivo. Oh, Tivo. How I love you. Now I can rewind when one of the kids comes crying because his brother smacked him. And I can still see television that I have been missing while reading stories from 7:30 to 8pm. Did you know there were television programs on from 7:30pm to 8pm. Every night. I don’t want that much television, but it’s so nice to have Tivo to record a program here or there. Now I will never miss another episode of Lost. I’m so excited. I also got Titanic and To Kill a Mockingbird [one of my all time favorite books] on DVD, plus a gift card to Barnes and Noble [which I've already spent], an ice cream maker, and an electric tea kettle [which I love, love, love].
On Christmas morning, a miracle happened. The kids let us sleep in. They got up early and played with all of their new toys. In their room. They didn’t come down and wake us up until 9:30. Did you hear me? 9:30am. I couldn’t believe it. Justis called us at 8:30am and talked to Lee. He told Lee everything he got for Christmas. He got a web camera, an mp3 player and some paintball equipment. Lee told him we’d call him back after we opened presents.
At our house, Santa brought Keaton the game Scene It Sports, Call of Duty 2 for computer and Battlefront II for PS2. Skyler got some paints and paper, some more furniture and dolls for her new dollhouse, and some “Anti-Coloring” books [recommended by her art teacher to inspire kids rather then having them color in the lines]. Spencer got some story paper (lines on the bottom for writing and then open space on the top so he can illustrate his story), a fingerprint paint book and fingerprint ink, a couple more PS2 games and some more “Anti-Coloring” books. Caleb got some more matchbox cars and tracks, a doctor kit, Dora Candyland [he loves Dora], and Sesame Street Chutes and Ladders. Lee got the adapter he needs for his wide conversion lens and some filters for his camera. I got a new alarm clock that projects the time on to the ceiling, a USB jump drive that is also a functioning pen, and some new headphones for my computer since Caleb ruined my old ones.
Skyler and Spencer gave us “Our Class Christmas Books.” The first few pages include questions the kids answered. When asked “Deck the halls with boughs of…what?” Spencer replied, “Turkeys.” And “Our world would be perfect if we could only get rid of…” “hitting and shoving,” according to Spencer. Also, “If Santa gave you one ‘Super Power’ what would you want it to be?” Spencer would like to be “strong.”
According to Skyler, “What does Santa Claus want for Christmas?” He wants “a kitty that can lick you.” And “Our world would be perfect if we could get rid of…” “Dogs that bite hard,” was Skyler’s response. When asked “How do reindeer fly?” Skyler said, “They think about flying and then they just fly up in the air.” I thought that was very clever answer.
When asked how old they thought Santa is, Skyler said “19″ and Spencer said “50 hundred years old.”
In the back of the book, the kids included their very own recipes. I particulary like the recipe for chicken one girl in Spencer’s class had. She makes chicken by cooking 10 turkeys and 3 hams in the oven for 13 minutes.
Spencer’s recipe is for Chicken Noodle Soup. His ingredients are “chicken, like 10 noodles and lots of flavored water.” To make the soup you “Mix it. Put it in the oven…almost super hot. Eat it.”
Skyler’s recipe is for Gingerbread Cookies. Her ingredients are “5 teaspoons of sugar, 2 raisins for the eyes, 1 strawberry for the nose, 7 blueberries for the mouth, 6 pounds of water, 8 slice of bread.” And to make it you, “Mix the sugar and the water and the bread together. Roll out the dough then put that shape stuff like a gingerbread on it. Then we cook it in the oven for 6 minutes at 5 degrees. Then you put 2 eyes, then you put 1 nose and then you put 7 blueberries on. Then you are done.”
This has got to be my all time favorite Christmas gifts ever. I will always cherish these books.
After we opened gifts, I made brunch. However, I cut down my menu. It was getting pretty late in the day and I still wanted the kids to eat dinner at grandma’s later. So I made grape salad, cranberry eggnog muffins [which I got distracted talking on the phone to my mom and burned, but we still ate them] and banana crepes. The kids cleaned their plates so they must of thought it was pretty good.
Later that afternoon we returned to Grandma O’s house for a traditional Christmas dinner of ham and roast beef, corn, twice baked potatoes and veggies. I was supposed to bring the jello, but it didn’t set in time. If we wanted to drink a yummy jello drink we could have done that. But I didn’t think anybody would want that so I just left it in the refridgerator at home. The food was very yummy though. Grandma and Aunt Candy did a very good job.
After dinner we all played Scene It Disney. Keaton, Lee and Spencer’s team won. But they got the easy questions. All in all it was a great holiday celebration. It was wonderful to spend it with my family. It was wonderful to see the happiness on the kids’ faces. It was just awesome all around. Even with my acute f’ing sinusitis. I just love this time of year.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas too.