While I've been so excited during much of this holiday season, watching the boys and observing their excited reactions to our Christmas tree or neighborhood lights, I silently felt my stomach knot a bit tighter as we edged closer to Christmas each day. Christmas with piles of presents, loads of candy, many loving and affectionate relatives, lights and music seemed like a potential recipe for disaster for two little boys who both struggle when they are overwhelmed and overstimulated.
Fortunately, my worry was for naught. The boys handled the holidays beautifully. Amazingly, we somehow made it through the holidays nary a single meltdown, tantrum, fight or tear.
Okay, everyone but me, as I had a little meltdown when I felt like the Mister "misheard" (which is Loving Spouse Lingo for "not listened to a damn thing I said") every single thing I said, like from where we were going for Christmas Eve (the same place every year) to the fact that every time I asked for help with things like setting the table or putting boots on a child, the man would go to the office and search for some obscure YouTube video for me to see.
What is it with guys and bad late 80's R&B videos on YouTube? When I'm making a meal for 7 people or am trying to pack up 5 kids and a trillion gifts, do you really think I want to watch a YouTube video at that moment?
Love you, honey.
But I digress. That story really has nothing to do with the holidays. But for those wives out there who know what I'm talking about, know you're not alone. And that you have my empathy/sympathy.
Love you, honey.
My dear Mister, with his brothers-in-law.
Miles handled the entire 2-day event with his usual happy, laughing self. He was so excited over each gift. Especially the Drum/Tambourine/Harmonica set my mother bought him.
What the crazy old woman was thinking, I. Don't. Know. But I think it may be subliminal payback for the time we left her with all the children for those 3 days we were in Ohio.
Keenan was much more reserved and unsure of himself and the whole holiday hubbub. I kept him on my lap during the gift openings, but on Christmas Eve he was more interested in the gift unwrapping, and on Christmas Day he became absorbed in his first gift and was very slow to open any others.
Ever since the boys came home, I have found it very helpful during any type of overwhelming or crazy-happy event (a party, a school event, etc.) to keep them reigned in and close. Either Cliff or I helped them open each toy, and we immediately put away any toys that weren't played with back in their boxes. We would let them play for a good hour or so, and when behaviors seemed to get "edgy" then we jumped in with a 'usual' chore from their chorepacks to keep a feeling of normalcy or a video to kind of re-set their spinning minds (Paloma included here.)
Paloma unwrapped this adorable play outfit from Granny and Papa, only the Polish Princess in her thought it was her holiday dress.
Here she is charming Uncle Kevin.
Hatfield got a sewing machine, so she and I can sew together. Here she is with her 3-year old cousin Aristana.
Atticus LOVED his pirate gear from Jimmy. All the boys got pirate bandanas, t-shirts, eye patches, swords and guns. He roped Auntie Stephie into making a fashion statement.
And he hung out with Uncle Elmo and his fancy new meat tenderizer.
The Mister and I did not exchange gifts this year. My Christmas gift was that I did not have to bake a ham (gack!) and prepare a huge Christmas Day meal. Instead, we packed up the kids, grandparents and uncle Elmo and went to our favorite Mexican restaurant for our Christmas dinner.
We brought the guys a huge tray of goodies and left an obscenely huge tip, because I felt bad that they had to work. But I was happy that we were there, because hopefully we at least made up for the fact that it was pretty empty in there (and empty= poor tips).
And after 24 hours of guiding 5 overly-excited kids through 2 Christmas gatherings, I deserved a margarita.
Or three of my own. And half of the one Jimmy couldn't finish.
And while we finished our food, the kids burned up the dancefloor, which they were thrilled to have all to themselves.
It was a great way to wind down from the holiday excitement.
I have the Mister home with us for the next full week, courtesy of his company which shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year's (Hallejulah!). We have a BIG diy kitchen renovation to occur this week (well, it's big to us. To a contractor, not so much. But considering 75% of my waking hours are spent in the kitchen, I can't wait.)
We are very excited at having been invited, as a family, over to several friends' homes for post-holiday celebrations/get-togethers. Readers with large families know how few and far "family" invites to the homes of others are, and we are so blessed to have some very hospitable (and BRAVE) friends.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday, and I wish you a peaceful beginning to the New Year.