Christmas happened! Days ago now, but I'm not sure it really happened until there's a blog post about it.
I love Christmas, a lot, and I love my family and I really love their new spacious lake house, so Christmas with my family at the new lake house should have been a few days of LagLiv perfection, but unfortunately I started getting sick the night before we were supposed to leave and I stayed sick until the day after we got back. The kids had a marvelous time and magical memories were still made, but oy I felt like crap for the majority of them.
But never fear, too many pictures are still about to be shared here:
My sister and her boyfriend got engaged the night before they drove to the lake (yay!), so we were all excited about that, and we celebrated by taking an updated family picture. The above version isn't actually the best one, but it is my favorite.
As tradition dictates, we drove back to the Kingwood house for church and Christmas Eve dinner- approximately two hours in the car for four hours in our childhood town, but it's important. I'm not sure Christmas Eve even happens if flank steak isn't consumed in our formal dining room.
When we pulled up to the house, my beloved childhood home where we moved just before I started Kindergarten and my brother was born, my own children couldn't figure out what we were doing there. What was this house? When did Papa and Gigi come there? On holidays? And I realized- nowadays we only visit them at the lake house and Landon and Claire only see the Kingwood one for a few hours once a year on Christmas Eve. My home, and the house my parents still live at 90% of the time, meant nothing to them- "Papa and Gigi's house" was the one on the lake. Weird.
The kids got to open their first present before church- Christmas jammies! Three sets! We drove back to the lake after service in comfort and style.
In my family we open all the presents on Christmas Eve (Santa only on Christmas morning; I like breaking things up, and of course, as a kid, I loved opening presents a few hours earlier than most of my friends!), and Claire's first present was this treasure from Landon:
It was a beautiful art project he'd made in school and he wrapped it all by himself. He is a 6-year-old boy and occasionally frustrating as all hell, but he is also seriously the sweetest. We took our turns opening presents- with my mom, dad, sister, brother, soon-to-be-brother-in-law, me, JP, Landon, Claire, and Cora, it took a while, which is normally my favorite thing- drinking wine, snacking, listening to Christmas pandora stations, but on that particular night my throat was on fire and my sinuses were both clogged and draining and I really wanted to be in bed. But again, the kids, the kids had a marvelous time. (Except Cora, who was in bed, but I'm sure she was dreaming happy dreams.)
Claire was adorably diplomatic with her presents, with each one she opened she'd excitedly exclaim, "this was just what I always wanted for Christmas!" And then she opened this baby from my parents and I think it really was- she stood like this for minutes after opening her baby. A baby promptly named Cora.
Before they could go to sleep (at 10:30 pm! possibly the latest they've ever been up EVER), we had to sprinkle the reindeer food Claire made at school. They were careful to spread it out because, as everyone knows, the reindeer are hooked up on harnesses and it would be hard to share if it was just in a pile.
They didn't forget Santa. Apparently Landon felt he was a patriotic fellow.
Christmas morning came, as did Santa. Claire got an adorable diaper bag and some clothes for her baby dolls and Landon got a big marble run set. Cora got some squeezy blocks and a red bow on her head. She wasn't sure how she felt about either.
My brother wore the hand-knit (not by me) fish hat that we gave him for Christmas. He also wore it out partying last night and may wear it to work tomorrow. His was the first Christmas present I bought this year because as soon as I saw it, I knew it must go on his head.
Despite feeling crappy, it really was a lovely holiday. My parents were amazing hosts as always, and there was lots of fun, family (lots of extended family visited on the 23rd), and delicious food. We drove back on the 26th with a car filled to bursting with children, suitcases, snacks, baby gear, and presents. I love our Highlander, but we do stretch it to its limits. I started feeling better the day after we got back, of course, and we've spent the last few days going on various outings- park, zoo, gardens, etc.- around Fort Worth. I've discovered the best way to keep a peaceful home during a long winter break is to never actually be home.
In other adventures, I went to the gym at our local YMCA yesterday, my first time in a gym since Claire was born. Since I was largely surrounded by octogenarians, I was feeling pretty good about my physical fitness, at least until I got on a treadmill and felt my heart rate get way too high while walking not very fast. But JP told me I looked cute in my new TJ Maxx workout gear and that's pretty much half the point of the attempt at exercise.
I hope you all had wonderful, cold and sinus-infection-free holiday!
Your Afternoon Man: Terry Crews
2 hours ago