Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Memories 2008

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Warning: this will be very long, it has been a while.  Perhaps I can cure your insomnia today as you read of our Christmas happenings.  I am very well aware that it is, well, New Years, and I am just now getting around to blogging about Christmas.  It has taken me this long to recupperate.  And by recupperate I mean get back in town, unpack, and do laundry. And monitor Nerf gun usage.

We left town for Dallas by way of Austin Sunday, December 21, and stayed gone until the following Sunday afternoon.  A long trip for our little family. Here are some things I don't want to forget about Christmas 2008:

1. Seeing G.G.

We left town Sunday right after church was out and made our way to Austin to pop in to see my grandma real quick before heading to my parents' house in the Dallas area.  And I am so glad we got to see her.  The van was packed to the gills with all necessary Christmas stuffs and us.  I had a ham to bring to G.G., so it traveled inside the Coleman ice chest that I was giving my sister for Christmas (can't go wrong sticking to the bridal registry for Christmas gifts! And you just can't register for ham smell...).

The boys LOVED seeing G.G. and playing with her little dog.  I would love to tell you what the dog's name is, but in my memory he has borne the names Spot, Timothy, and Sam.  But they loved the dog, and the dog tolerated them as well.  A highlight of our quick visit was G.G.'s Christmas light necklace, when, with the quick press of a switch, lit up.  Aidan would have worn the necklace home if anyone would have let him.

2. The Advent calender

My aunt had several of those little cardboard Advent calenders left over from prior Christmases. These are the calenders that have the little "windows" that you open each day from December 1-24, and find a small ornament each day. The boys have LOVED this calender. Everyday they would ask "whose turn to open the window." Aidan especially took great joy in finding the ornament and selecting the perfect spot on the tree for it. For that matter, he took great joy in finding the perfect spot on the tree for many other items, and decided that some of the lights of the tree, in fact, did not need their bulbs. I am sure we will have some sort of Advent calender for future Christmases.

3.  Christmas Eve S'mores

Christmas Eve has become known at my parents' house for Mexican food and S'mores over the last couple of Christmases, and this year was no different.  We enjoyed an embarrassing amount of chips and salsa, and then dined on enchiladas and tamales before lighting the fire.  Dane and Aidan are S'mores mavericks.  Dane only likes the chocolate bar on the graham cracker, and Aidan only eats the marshmallows.

4. The Christmas of Weaponry and Bibles

Christmas morning was a blast.  Santa came in full force, and in true fashion, we made the boys sit on the top step before letting them go downstairs and see their stockings.  And I know some people get really cute "Christmassy" pajamas for their kids to wear Christmas morning, but I have sweaty children who do not cope well in flannel.  They got knit Wall-E jammies.

Between the two of them, the boys got 4 swords, 4 nerf guns, several "daggers", 4 throwing stars, and 2 arm guards for Christmas.  They are ready to take on a whole room of Ninja Turtles all by themselves.  The nerf guns were an especially big hit, as they have not played with these much before.  The big boys (Brandon, my bro, and my BIL) also had a big time with the nerf guns.

To help balance out all of the symbols of violence, the boys also each got their own Bibles with personalized carrying cases, embroidered by my oh-so-talented aunt Joanie.  Thanks Joanie!  They LOVE them!  (Well, Dane loves them.  Aidan spends most of his time trying to get the Bible out of the case.)

5. The train

Pappy decided that Dane and Aidan needed a train this year.  And by "Dane and Aidan", I mean "Pappy and Brandon".  He got this really cool Lionel electric train that whistled and blew smoke and we all set it up in the living room for several days until it had to be moved for a wrestling match.  Brandon even made a paper-mache tunnel for the train to go through, and textured it and painted it to look like rocks with freshly fallen snow.  

I have a picture of the pie, but not of the train or tunnel.  You can tell where my favor lies...

6. Too Much NCIS

The question that loomed large in my mind was "How much NCIS can I watch and still be Christmassy?" Thanks to a multi-day marathon and my parents' DVR, I spent WAY too much time on the couch looking at images of dead marines and that lab girl's pigtails. I was definately on "vacation mode". When we left on Sunday, 22 episodes of NCIS were saved on the DVR, and no, I did not watch quite that many. Just part of me wanted to take the DVR back home and get caught up on the last 3 seasons that I have missed. Time well spent, indeed.

7. Jumping in the Leaves

My parents' driveway has a little area where the yard is several feet lower than the driveway.  When we were kids we would pile a bunch of leaves here and jump off of the driveway onto the pile.  It is here where an unfortunate Christmas Card circa 1994ish was set, 

and here where my own boys discovered the joy of jumping off the driveway into a giant pile of leaves.  

And where Hot Brandon learned just how shallow the pile of leaves really is.

8. Friends and Family

We were in the Dallas area long enough to see and catch up with several of our friends in the area.  Brandon caught up with a couple of his old friends, and we spent an evening with Tommy (of the "How Brandon and I got together" story), Rhonda, and their two kids.  We fed the pregnant lady pizza, and returned to my parents' house for Nerf gun shooting and pie eating.  It was this night when Brandon instituted the Nerf rule "No shooting in the tenders unless you're shooting Tommy."  I'm amazed these people are still friends with us.

 (Sidenote:  "tenders" is the new name Aidan has for, well, tenders.  He got it from the Kung Fu Panda movie.  I figure if he starts talking about his tenders in the middle of Kroger, there's a decent chance my fellow shoppers will just think he's referring to chicken.  And not anatomy that 3 year old boys are fascinated with.  FASCINATED WITH.) 

We also spent lots of time with my sister, Lindy, and Now Uncle Andy, also my brother John, Brandy, and cutie Baby Zane:

 I didn't get pictures of the rest of you.  You're just not as cute as Zane.  Sorry.

9. Pajama Days

Did I mention that we packed a lot for this 8-day trip of ours?  Every suitcase and duffel and laundry basket at our disposal was filled with clothes for the drastically fluctuating weather for us and the boys, gifts, food, shoes, nebulizer machines, and everything else we might possibly need.  And what did Dane and Aidan wear 90% of our time in Dallas?  Their pajamas.  On Christmas Day I made them change into cute sweaters because my grandmother was coming over, but the rest of the time they did not get out of their pj's until mid afternoon, and then it was only to leave the house or take a bath, only to immediately put pajamas on again.  We justified it by telling ourselves that they were on vacation, and we were going to be a bit more laid back about a few of our normal routines.  This is also how we justified the boys drinking 3-4 cups of hot chocolate a day until the mix was gone.  Merry Christmas!  So we brought back to Houston more clean clothes for them than dirty ones.

10. A movie. In a theater.

Christmas night, Brandon, myself, Lindy and Andy went and saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It's this movie that came out with this little-known actor named Brad Pitt. Very talented, that Mr. Pitt. I think he's really going to have himself a career in this movie-makin' business.

This is the first movie in a very long time that Brandon and I have seen together in a theater. I honestly can't remember the last movie we saw. It may have been Titanic. I had high hopes for the movie, and it was pretty good. I think it would have been better had it been shorter and had more of "Hot Brad Pitt" and less "Old Man Brad Pitt", but that's just my humble opinion. None of the reviews I read mentioned wanting more "Hot Brad Pitt". An impromptu fire alarm helped to break the length of the movie up a bit, and we were able to get a few minutes of fresh air when the fire alarm went off about halfway through the movie.

11. A LOT of food

My momma can cook.  Real good.  Christmas Day dinner was a turkey, a turkey breast, mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, yummy rolls, and various gravies.  Dessert included key lime pie, one of my personal favorites, and an extra chocolate pie that we did not even break into until the 26th.  Perfection.
Though she can cook, perhaps she should leave the food coloring in more capable hands.  Our delicious key lime pie appeared a bit radioactive:

Please enjoy this picture of the pie and simply imagine in your head the really cool looking train set and homemade, handpainted tunnel.

Hope you and yours had a memorable Christmas and are having a safe New Years!  See you in 2009!


Anonymous said...

HELLO!!!!! I did not buy the train for my grandsons. I bought it for your mother, she has always wanted an electric train but didn't know how to ask. You know how she is about never letting you know what she wants for Christmas. BTW the pie looked a little drab in the picture, I guess it is like the Grand Canyon where the grandeur cannot truly be captured in pictures.

Adrienne said...

I only wish we had been your family friends back in '94 so we could have received one of those leaf pile/decapitated Sloan family Christmas cards. Sigh.