Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Christmas Morning

 Phoebe was not the first one up on Christmas morning.

I guess the little kids got up around 8:00 and then woke up the bigger kids and they all just "played" in the basement until Andrew, Phoebe, and I finished getting up. I texted Rachel around 8:30 to let her know we were on our way...just waiting to finish feeding and changing Phoebe. 

By the time we got down to the basement (literally at like 8:45) things had devolved into complete and utter chaos. Benjamin was buzzing with anticipation. Zoë had begun punching people. Alexander had been the receiver of a few good punches. Rachel was fuming at everybody. It was a mess.  

Miriam was fine though

We managed to de-ruffle everyone's feathers and gave the once-sobbing children time to collect themselves while we switched Phoebe's jammies.

Her head control is getting better and better; she pulled herself up to sit like this. 

Here are the kids lined up for the Christmas train:

Before they go in to open presents, Andrew leads the kids all around the house and—this year—outside of the house as well. This goofy tradition is a carry-over from Andrew's childhood, but I think it's one of my favourite ones. The kids laugh so hard the whole time. 

Here they are walking along our new wall:

The Christmas train then came back inside to see what Santa had left. We put a sheet up across the doorway to the music room so the kids couldn't peek inside. Andrew lets them in one at a time, starting with the youngest child...who can walk on their own. This year it was Alexander. He, Zoë, and Benjamin came through the curtain with too much energy for me to catch a decent picture, but Miriam and Rachel did an excellent job posing.

And the cat was like, "What is even going on? I live in a house with crazy people."

Here are a few shots of the kids being excited about the contents of their stockings. Either they have very low expectations or they are very good actors because, trust me, the contents of their stockings were not very exciting (candy, glow sticks, chapstick, Hotwheels, play-dough, needle minders, little things like that). Each child also got a game, which admittedly made the stockings feel more exciting...

The game Rachel is holding is Poetry for Neanderthals and it's hilariously entertaining. We played it twice today (Boxing Day). 

Zoë wasted no time getting into her candy, as you can see.

Meanwhile Phoebe just lazed around 'urping up her breakfast...

Here she is doing some excellent (i.e. calm) tummy time:

Another tradition that has carried over from Andrew's childhood is opening presents in age order. This tradition I don't like as well as the Christmas train tradition, but we've gone with it for many years because Andrew craves order. This year, however, Andrew finished handing out the presents and said, "Okay, Zoë! Go ahead!"

And without questioning anything, she dove right into her pile (even though she's not the youngest). 

She had been having a hard (punch-y) morning and although the Christmas train had been fun, she did need a little more nudging to get into the Christmas spirit...and the feeling of cutting in line was, perhaps, just the nudge to do it! She was elated to open her presents first and it put her in a very good mood.

First, I should mention that she was already warming up to things when she opened her stocking. She picked up one of her Lindt chocolate truffle and opened it only to discover that it was white chocolate and immediately offered it to me. But I let her keep it (considering I was the one to put it in her stocking, I was not surprised that she found it there).

The first gift she unwrapped was underwear, which she was confused (but not unhappy) about. She desperately needed new underwear. Not to tell on ourselves or anything, but she still had training underwear in her drawer (size 18 months...which she wore clearly it was time to update her wardrobe).

She was rather excited about the next gift she opened, which happened to be a LEGO set—a Minecraft LEGO set. She squealed with joy. "I got a Minecraft LEGO set!" Then she paused and looked at Benjamin. "Unless you'd rather have it," she said. "I know you like Minecraft more than I do and you really wanted a Minecraft LEGO set for Christmas,!"

We stopped her from giving away her LEGO, knowing full well that Benjamin would also have a Minecraft-themed LEGO set to open. She also got a Frozen-themed LEGO set. And was very excited about all the books she got (both from Rachel and from Mom and Dad).

Alexander, meanwhile, was having a hard time waiting for his turn to open presents. He's not aware enough of traditions yet to know that he should have gone first; he simply was starting to feel a little antsy (which is exactly why Andrew's family opened presents youngest to oldest). 

He held up a present to me and said, "Mom, I don't know what's in here...but I want to know what's in here!"

I told him that he had to wait for a little while longer before he could find out what was inside. 

"Okay," he said. Then he picked up another package. "I don't know what's inside here, either!"

"I know, buddy," I whispered. "But you can wait just a few minutes longer, right?"

Meanwhile, Zoë kept opening her presents. Her favourite gift surprised me. Miriam had wrapped up one of her stuffed animals (which Zoë had been low-key coveting for a few years) and gave it to Zoë...

...who was so touched that she ran across the room to deliver a thank-you hug.

Benjamin was busy stacking his presents this whole time. I think this shot is from when he decided he'd finally nailed the order he wanted to open them in. Andrew called on him to open his presents next...

But I interrupted to remind Andrew that we hadn't seen Alexander open his presents yet.

He also got some Minecraft LEGO:

And Spiderman LEGO:

And a little Spiderman doll:

He loves Spiderman.

But his very favourite present of all was...a new toothbrush! He'd been asking for an electric toothbrush for a few years now (ever since we gave electric toothbrushes to Benjamin and Zoë).

He carried that toothbrush around for the rest of the morning:

He also got some bubbles (from Rachel) and a couple of books about outer space.

Benjamin was thrilled to finally get his turn. He got a set of fact books (wrapped individually), a couple of LEGO sets, a Minecraft shirt that came with a little Creeper figurine, and—perhaps most exciting—a book about National Parks.

Here's Benjamin paging through his National Parks book a little later in the morning:

Those three kids are pretty easy to shop for still. Rachel and Miriam are a little less easy to shop for at their age. Rachel at least helped us out by giving us a very detailed list of things she would like for Christmas. Miriam gave us nothing to go off of.

Andrew did most of the Christmas shopping this year (which is often how it goes at our house) and he did a great job. At least, I think he did. It seemed like he did a good job guessing what Miriam might like based on her reactions. She was very happy about her new hoodie:

And slippers:

And a Minecraft music book:

She also got a little LEGO set, as did Rachel, but growing up and reaching that too-old-for-toys stage is kind of weird, so I don't know if they really appreciated them. And that's fine. 

Here's Rachel showing off a few of her gifts:

Mostly she just wanted books, books, and more books.

Andrew got a new sleep mask for me, as well as a new housecoat (aka: robe) that I thought was superfluous since I already have a housecoat. But then I tried on the housecoat he got for me and I have admit that the new one is much better. 

The old one is cozy and fuzzy and good for wearing if you want to be cozy and fuzzy, but it's also cotton-candy pink and has big baggy sleeves, so it's not very practical for wearing around the house (or opening the door). The new one is still fuzzy...on the inside...but is very trim-fitting on the outside. I felt very svelte wearing it, like I needed a cravat or something to go with it. It's something one could certainly wear to do practical things like preparing breakfast or teaching homeschool lessons or opening the door.

Oh, I also got this sweet bookmark from Benjamin:

He designed bookmarks for everyone in the family (a very useful gift at this house) and I helped him laminate them so they'll last a long time. I think most of them are already in use. I know Zoë's bookmark has whizzed through several books already the past couple of days.

Here's Andrew showing off his bookmark:

And here he is saying, "Oh, I wonder what could be in this orange envelope..."

I have given him a personalized calendar for Christmas every year for...many years in a row now. This year I wasn't sure I would have time to put one together for him, so I had Rachel and Miriam do it. They did a great job!

We hadn't gotten anything for Phoebe at all, but when I sent Andrew to Target to pick up some last minute gifts for Zoë and Miriam (whose piles of presents were so obviously smaller than the other kids'), he grabbed a little set of Magnatiles for her. 

Here she is doing a bit of air jogging next to her present. She only recently discovered that kicking her legs (on purpose) is kind of a fun thing to do.

She wasn't interested in her gift at all, of course. Alexander was much more excited about it, but he's very conscious of gift ownership, so we're hoping this will help him remember to share with Zoë when she's ready to play with things. For example, he remembers that he got a little set of Magnatiles for his birthday and then again at Christmas last year, and although he willingly shares them with his siblings, he gently reminds them of his ownership. Benjamin, in particular, is prone to getting a little carried away when playing, and it's not at all unusual for Alexander to say, "Benjamin, these are my presents from my birthday and Christmas and you need to play with them respectfully so stop throwing them around because that might break them!"

Gifting Phoebe a set will rope her into that sort of gentle sharing when she's older (fingers crossed).

Phoebe's gift to us on Christmas morning was her sweet, sweet baby self. Having a baby around Christmas has been beautiful but so emotional for me. Andrew took over reading our Christmas devotional every evening after I bawled through one or two. And I have teared up over her sweetness while listening to sappy Christmas music a ridiculous number of times. She's just too sweet!

She was really quite sociable on Christmas (for her), locking eyes with people and offering timid social smiles for the first time, along with offering a few little coos.

Of course, she also found being social to be rather exhausting, so she also did a lot of sleeping.

I took a picture of her hand because she was holding it so funny in her sleep:

After we'd opened up all our individual gifts we moved on to the collective gifts. I think there were enough for everyone to get to open one, but I didn't plan that! Uncle David sent us the game Sushi Roll (which we played the other day; it was fun) and Auntie K sent us another game (which we haven't played yet).

We got a little bin of LEGO for the kids from Grandpa:

Zoë opened a Hot Wheels racetrack that we picked out with some money my mom sent:

So far it's been a huge hit (but I'm sure they'll still enjoy playing with the Hot Wheels set at her house because we don't have a loop-the-loop and she does).

Grandpa Pat sent us a package as well and I didn't open it up to wrap it. I just wrapped it as soon as it was delivered to us! So it was the only gift that was a surprise to everyone in the house, which was kind of exciting! 

We got a kick out of the cards she sent us; she'd thought of very specific traits for each of us and addressed the cards as such. So, she had a card addressed to Alexander, the best owl-man; Zoë, the second-best and prettiest princess (second only to Aunt Stacey); Benjamin, the best builder; Miriam, the best organist; Rachel, the best baker; and Andrew and I, the busiest and best parents.

She made us a little Scrabble board featuring all our names:

It was a very fun gift (Scrabble is one of my favourite games and I make the kids play with me all the time, and will continue to do so until it becomes one of their favourite games). 

After we finished opening presents, Miriam made a big pot of oatmeal for breakfast and by the time we were finishing up with that, our little next-door neighbour came a-knocking. Santa had brought her a big spiderweb/saucer swing for the big tree in her front yard. Before she'd had a single swing out there and the kids would line up to take turns on it (our cul-de-sac kids tend to play in their front yards because they're all mostly quite young still and parents can keep an eye easier when they all play out front, so even though we have three swings in the backyard this single swing in the front yard was much more popular). Now they could all swing together

"Sure, the kids can come out to play, but," I wrinkled my nose in disgust. "They'll have to get dressed first. We're all still in our jammies."

She was wearing a darling outfit, but she said, "That's okay. I just got changed!"

So the kids quickly got dressed and ran outside to play. The climbed all over our new retaining walls (as I knew they would) and swung together in the spiderweb swing and ran around in the cul-de-sac. We broke out the sidewalk chalk and I drew a great big Christmas tree and snowman for them to decorate. Zoë made Evelyn a hopscotch (counting by 5s) because Evelyn had given her a paper on which she'd written the numbers 0–100 (counting by 5s). 

Zoë told me that she wasn't quite sure whether she should "accept" the gift "because of coronavirus," but I told her that accepting Evelyn's gift was just fine, silly kid!

We spent much of the rest of the day doing things like napping and playing games and talking with our far-away family. In fact, we did so much talking to our far-away family that we ran out of time to watch Encanto on Christmas evening (which had been in our plans originally), but that's okay because we just watched it on Boxing Day instead (there's plenty of time to watch movies over Christmas break and talking with our families was much better).

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a lovely day - Merry Christmas to all of you!