We are having a wonderful Christmas season. Pre-season we started with seeing Mimi perform in the Nutcracker on the 20th and in Twas The Night Before Christmas on the 21st. Twas is a ballet choreographed by Mimi's dance teacher that is based on Clement Moore's famous poem Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Monday, the 22nd, had us heading down South to visit our family. We were all quite excited. With the exception of my sister's family and my dad (they visited us in April) it had been a year and a half since my husband and children had seen their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
It was not the quiet, slow paced Christmas we experienced last year at our home and we welcomed that. In the afternoon of December 23rd, my mom's front door flew open banging against the wall with shouts and stampeding feet thundering from the foyer into the family room. Kids were yelling, hugging, and being lifted up into the air, amid barking dogs. After about 20 minutes of this hustle and bustle and the entry of three more cousins, Doug says, "We should have told the boys not to stir them up". Too late now.
We did have some calm moments and my youngest sister gathered the troops and snapped a few pictures. Here are my parents' grandchildren.
One highlight was my boys teaching their sister and cousins (ranging in age from 7 to 12) Texas Hold'em Poker. They started out using m&ms as poker chips and then decided that with two dogs near by this was not a good idea. Luckily grandma had a plastic cup full of pennies to replace the m&ms. These cousins are the same ones who several years ago got me to help them play Yatzee. The middle child would blow on the dice, shake them in her hands saying baby needs new shoes, and fling the dice across the dining table. Suffice to say the girls held their own against their big boy cousins. They youngest of the cousins, the male four year old twin, watched with rapt attention.
This little one later in the day helped the girls make a gingerbread house. Every time we took our eyes off of him he was squeezing the frosting bag all over himself and the table. I also caught him licking the spatula several times and had to take it away from him. In hind sight I should have just given him the spatula because he later stuck a little circular candy up his nose.
My daughter and one of the cousin's asked him if he had put a candy up his nose and he said no. Later he began to cry because it hurt. My sister, his mom, sprayed saline up his nose and used an aspirator to get it dislodged. With a few blows into a Kleenex the remainder of the candy came out. Here he is post intervention.
On December 24th we headed to my brother's house. After mass he and his wife have traditionally hosted a Christmas Eve dinner. My sister-in-law's family comes as well as my parents, my family, and my youngest sister. My other sister goes to her in-laws house for their traditional celebration. Santa always stops by my sister-in-laws house before starting his Christmas deliveries to all those good boys and girls. This is something the kids love and look forward to every year. Even my children as old as they are still expect and find joy in the fact that Santa comes to their aunt's house.
My brother put his camera on a tripod and set the timer to take a group photo at his house Christmas Eve. Every time we try something like this I always think of my Uncle Charles who always had a camera at family gatherings and began taking group pictures with the aid of a timer. Each event has to have at least one picture of my uncle running to get in the photo and one where the timer was longer and he is leaving to see why the timer hasn't triggered the camera to take the picture. Technology and experience allowed us to capture this group on our first and only shot.
Aah these are what memories are made of. I hope you have lots of memories to carry you through the new year. One of my dear students made me a Christmas card wishing me the best every holiday. From his pencil to God's heart.