Does anyone even wonder where I have been? Likely not... but here I have returned.
The holidays were magical. In years past, DD has approached Santa (and in some respects, the whole season) with either fear or ambivalance. This was the first Christmas that she grasped the idea of Santa - that he was going to come in the night and leave presents. Over the last few weeks she has been giddy with excitement and anticipation - what a joy to witness that from this side of the fence. I think Christmas is almost more fun as an adult with a child who is INTO the holiday and the idea of magic.
We sang all the familiar Christmas songs together - Santa Claus is Coming to Town was the most frequent request as I sang it whenever she misbehaved - worked like a charm!
We baked Chex Mix for our neighbors ~ several of our neigbhors bake cookies and fudge - so we try to spice it up for everyone! We wrapped gifts - both those we purchased and those we hand made (this photo shows the kids working on the bear magnets/pins they created for friends/family).
The princess was elated with every gift she opened. "This is just what I wanted!" Complete happiness and excitement overtook her on several occasions; Bob the Burro (plush toy from Santa), Unicorn (plush toy from Grandma R), and Polly Pocket Cruise Ship (a surprise even to me, from Bef)... and she jumped up and down, giggling with delight. I wish we had videotaped a few of these moments but alas, we have at least captured a few on the digital camera.
The little guy, on the other hand, just took everything in stride. He was eager to open presents (whether or not they belonged to him) and would be so intent on playing with that one toy that he would neglect the others that remained unopened, momentarily anyway.
The holiday week was very tiring, however. We drove over the pass on the morning of Saturday 23rd to spend time with my family. We arrived at their home around noonish and spent the afternoon there... chatting, eating, playing, & opening gifts. Santa made a quick stop, leaving gifts for the kiddos on the doorstep. My kids were ecstatic about the arrival of Bob the Burro and a Bobcat (both Plush toys they had had their eyes on at the museum). We departed around 5:30ish for the coast. On the drive, DD remarked, "How did Santa know? I didn't tell him about Bob the Burro. How did he know I wanted him?" Santa is magic, Sweetie. :)
We arrived at DH's parents home around 8 in the evening. The following morning (Christmas Eve), I was able to go for a run with A! and then that evening we enjoyed our traditional Prime Rib dinner with DH's family. After dinner, we popped over to the Collins' home - exchanged gifts and got reaquainted. DD received the cruise ship / DH a toy shark. [Bef - you are amazingly clever and surprised me with your thoughtfulness.] The little man received a big GeoTrax set and I received a pizza stone, peel, and 2 CDs (Matchbox 20 & Sting). We were all very happy. :)
Christmas morning we awoke early (who doesn't, right?) and set up the GeoTrax for my little man. He loved it! When the princess came downstairs, she was a little groggy and slow to awaken. I think it all started to get a little overwhelming at this point... the Barbie Dreamhouse and the scooter (the 2 things she wanted the most - at least according to what she told Santa when he had breakfast with him) were both sitting in front of the tree but she hardly blinked. :)
Just before lunch, we popped over to my Aunt's home (where my mom's family has traditionally always gathered on Christmas Day). Fewer folks this year as there had been some minor flooding and some couldn't make it... others had to work... and at least one, was officially 'missing' (a long story). :) Anyway, we enjoyed our traditional meal, reaquainted ourselves and exchanged gifts again.
We departed around 3 ... heading back over the pass (nearly a 5 hour drive). Yuck!
Enjoyed Tue and Wed at home (DH had to work).
Thursday afternoon, we headed to the big city. Service appointment for our Honda on Friday morning. Spent the rest of the weekend festering. Came home on the morning of New Years Eve (we had planned to in advance - many days away from home with 2 little ones ... becomes very taxing). DH also had to work on Tue (again) and he always likes to have at least one day of rest before returning to the grindstone.
We didn't really 'party' at all - in fact, we were all in bed by 9 pm on New Years. But we enjoyed ourselves and played many games (I must buy "Shipwreck" and "Saboteur" - both very fun and relatively easy for the kids).
The new year is now upon us and marathon training now begins. No more slacking. :)