Saturday, January 06, 2024

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Our children aren't very early risers, so the big kids were more or less content to sleep in until Phoebe woke up. All the kids slept in the basement—which featured its own festive tree this year—so after she woke up we all went downstairs to get everybody. 

Here are Miriam and Benjamin, just waking up:

And here's our Christmas train assembled and meandering around the house:

Each of the three little kids got a big stuffed animal with their stocking—a fox for Zoë, an owl for Alexander, and a puppy (in a carrier) for Phoebe.

This is a terrible picture, but it shows her joy!

I have to take a minute here to give a shout out to our local Buy Nothing Group because many of our gifts were claimed from that group and squirreled away until Christmas (which really helped "pad" our budget). We also had packages sent from Naanii & Bumpa, and Grandma Pat. Uncle Patrick and Grandpa brought presents over as well. So it was a busy morning of unwrapping!

We open gifts in age order (because that's what Daddy's family did when he was growing up), so here's Phoebe opening some of her gifts (notice that her puppy is never very far away):

She was so excited for this day! She was honestly so good about the tree, remembering to look with her eyes (not with her hands). And when I started putting presents under the tree she was so good about leaving them alone. The wait was just about killing her, but she was so very patient.

On Christmas Eve when Andrew said we had one present for the kids to open (because that's the way we did things at my house growing up), Phoebe screamed, "YAY! PRESENTS!"

And before anyone even had time to process what was happening, she dove for the pile of presents under the tree and was tearing into some random gift (one for Miriam, as it turns out). She was a little upset when we stopped her from opening everything under there, but recovered when we showed her that we had a specific present for her to open (the youngest four got blankets; Rachel and Miriam went without, but they're patient and understanding like that).

Anyway, Christmas morning was such a relief to poor Phoebe, who felt like she had been waiting for Christmas for a long time!

Here she is with the elephant that Naanii/Bumpa/Auntie Josie sent for her:

And here we can see she also got some Star Wars hair brushes and some PlayDoh.

Here are some spectators—Benjamin and Waffles:

Oh, that Bluey in the background (by the puppy)—I made that!

Phoebe doesn't care about it one little bit, but I made it for her...with my own two hands. Oh, well...

Here's Alexander opening his gifts:

All the kids got a light-up toque in their stocking. He got a world puzzle, a solar system craft...

...and another owl (from Naanii/Bumpa/Auntie Josie).

Here's Zoë starting on her pile of presents:

She got books and chalk and fox stuff, mostly.

And now for Benjamin...

He asked if we had this sign specially made and the answer is...yes.

"I thought so," he said. "Because it has my name on it!"

He really likes sriracha!

Here's a couple of shots of everyone watching him (note Phoebe with her puppy in its carrying case):

Everyone got these little stretchy animals that you can shoot like a rubber band in their stockings. They were at once an excellent...and a very terrible...idea:

Here's Miriam, who is very good at being excited about things:

The above picture shows some little leather labels she can put on her textile creations.

The list she gave us was short—it had claw clips and one book title on it—so we largely had to guess about what she might want and think we did more or less okay. 

Both Rachel and Miriam got this little cookbook of festive treats from Naanii/Bumpa/Auntie Josie:

It's kind of strange to think that there will be a time when they won't live in the same house and so will need their own copy of things. I don't really like thinking about that time, but that time is inevitably coming. So it's good they each got their own, I suppose.

Here is Rachel starting to open another of her gifts:

You can't really tell, though, because the paper matched her pyjamas so well!

Rachel sent us a very long list of books that she wanted for Christmas. Andrew bought her many, many, many of them. I also wrapped up a hoodie that she had put on her birthday list (in July) and which I thought would make a silly birthday present (because her birthday is in July). 

Each time she unwrapped something she squealed, "Oooh! I've been wanting to read this!"

And then we'd say, "Yeah. You put it on your list..."

And then she'd say, "Oh, yeah..."

And then the whole thing would happen with the next present. She genuinely had forgotten that she sent us a list at all, I guess.

Here's Phoebe trying on one of the headbands that technically Zoë recieved:

Here's Uncle Patrick opening his gifts, which were largely things (that he has trouble finding in Austria) that he'd ordered for himself and shipped to our house. 

But we also made a little stop at Penzey's (our favourite little spice store)... pick up some spicy spices for him (because those can be hard to find in Austria).

(He also brought us spices! from Iran and sent us some saffron!)

No one took pictures of me opening presents, but opening presents was exciting nonetheless. Perhaps my most exciting present was a pair of tickets to...Hamilton! In February! Andrew said I could take anyone I wanted to with me, so I said he could come along (I guess). Uncle Patrick also got me a pair of Loop earplugs to block out ambient noise and I wore them all Christmas weekend (to help keep my migraine at bay).

Andrew chose the most Christmassy spot of the house to open his presents (something to keep in mind, children, when you're thinking of where to place your stocking on Christmas Eve):

Here's Phoebe watching him while stuffing her face with candy. She went around and ate everyone's chocolate kisses (because that's the only kind of candy she knew how to open) while they were too busy watching the present-opening to guard their stash. That was a whole lot of chocolate for one tiny human to eat in one morning! There were candy wrappers everywhere! 

And it just made me think how different it is to be raising my sixth baby than it was to be raising my first baby, because my brother just sent the family group chat a picture of Millie, who had pushed her little toy kitchen up to the kitchen counter, climbed on top of it, and then pointed to a little bowl of leftover Christmas treats and requested one chocolate kiss in a blue wrapper ("Chase" colour, she called it, because she loves the show Paw Patrol and chase wears blue)...and her parents said no!

And made her have a healthy snack instead!

Healthy snacks are good. We try to be healthy over here, too. But I'm too tired to be the boss of Christmas treats or Halloween treats or whatever-holiday treats (and the kids know it, too!) so I let little tummies be in charge of saying yes or no to treats. And if they develop big ol' tummy aches, well...that's on them because we always have plenty of fruit and nuts sitting out, too!

Tonight we had USB (Ultimate Salad Bar) for dinner—with alfalfa sprouts and baby cucumbers and shredded carrots and tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs and the last of the Christmas pomegranates and feta cheese and spinach and lettuce and things. And that felt like a pretty healthy offering. 

And then we followed that up with some yummy lemon muffins Rachel made earlier in the day. 

Moderation in all things, right?

I probably would have moderately allowed my toddler to have a chocolate kiss from the counter. Shoot—I probably wouldn't even know my toddler was climbing onto the counter to get a candy until I found the evidence later. But I'm not sure I would have allowed my first toddler to have a chocolate kiss from the counter because I probably would have thought that one chocolate kiss would matter in the long run. 

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I'm team Give-Millie-Her-Chocolate-Kiss. She worked hard for it, man! 

That makes me sound like I'm a lackadaisical parent (and Andrew and I are both known to defeatedly turn a blind eye to many...interesting...behaviours and choices at our house), but my children might tell you other tales. Like the one about how I bark at them, 'Start running now!' when we're out for a run but they're trying to walk instead. 

Anyway, here's Andrew showing off his tie, which my mom mentioned on a video chat may actually be a youth-sized tie, and which Benjamin is now very excited to perhaps get to try on because he's a Young ManTM now (and his drawer is still full of embarrassing zipper ties, which we (candy-plying, naive parents that we are) failed to recognize had become embarrassing, so he doesn't have any formal tie-on ties of his own).

And here's Andrew opening a bunch of new potholders I got for him (after reading reviews on Serious Eats, which I thought would make Andrew proud, even though he was just getting boring house-stuff for Christmas, and which did make him proud even though he was just getting boring house-stuff because he's a sucker for a good review (The Wirecutter would be his top choice for review material, if we're being honest)).

But the gift that really made him happy was the pasta attachment for the KitchenAid, which he ordered (by himself) months ago. So that just goes to show...

Grandpa was last to open his presents. He got a magnet of Italy from Uncle Patrick and...a mysterious envelope. Inside the envelope was another envelope marked for Rachel and Miriam.

Here they are opening it up...

And inside are—not one, not two, but—three tickets to Hamilton!

The girls will be going with Grandpa on a different night than Andrew and I. And they are very excited (not to be going on a different night than we'll be going, per se, but that they'll be going at all). They are very lucky little ladies!

And, lastly, here is Zoë opening up one of the puzzles Grandpa gave to us—one of Yellowstone and one of Mount Rushmore, to help us remember our road trip from this past summer. 

With all the present-opening under our belts, we settled in for some breakfast and game playing. Oh, man! We got the game "Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza," which was hilarious and so much fun (and which might be fun to play using an alternative language). We also played "Happy Salmon," which was also simply hilarious and chaotic.

We played some quieter games as well, and then had either green chili burritos or latkes for dinner (Andrew tells me we had latkes for Christmas Eve, so it must have been green chili burritos for Christmas dinner) before sending Grandpa home with bags full of trash and recycling (because our garbage day is we didn't have room in our cans for all our Christmas detritus on Monday morning...but Grandpa did because he lives in a household of one rather than a household of 8 (plus company)). 

In the evening we read an old reader's theatre of Christmas in the Americas from The Friend. It was a lovely low-key Christmas!

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