The big payoff day!
Finally, our kids turned normal and were anxious about Christmas morning and looking forward to opening gifts. In the past, it's taken us a few days to plow through everything! We had everything done by noon this year, a record for us. Still, gift-opening didn't start until everyone was dressed, had breakfast, and everyone was in the room and ready.
Uncle Ronan always comes through with things little boys really want -- and what could they want more than remote-controlled cars?
Unless of course, it's lightsabers from Uncle Ryan and Aunt Laura! Close call -- they spent all day playing with RC cars or lightsabers.
Mom & Dad always get them these boring kit sorts of toys, which they end up loving, but don't have the same "wow factor" on Christmas Day.
I'm skimming here, because everyone got way more wonderful things they were very excited about. What's mentioned here is just what I happened to get pictures of.
Katrina loved this Clifford, hugging it again and again.
Grandparents obviously know her, because this Clifford activity kit was also a huge hit.
A Barbie! Her first -- it takes an Uncle to get things like this! She loves it.
And a very cool book on shadows from Aunt Laura and Uncle Ryan. Where do they get these great ideas?!
Socks for all three! The boys weren't so excited about socks after getting RC cars, but I know they both will get into them later. Julian especially will think hard about his dinosaur socks.
And lots lots more that I didn't happen to get photos of. I'm overwhelmed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of our family...thank you all!
Later, we decorated gingerbread cookies. Well, sort of "we"....the boys were involved in other things, so I started off with just Katrina. She was so into it, so cooperative, so easy to give guidance, I was really surprised. It was never like this with the boys, they needed a whole lot more guidance to keep them from dumping a whole bottle of sprinkles on one cookie. Katrina had a very clear vision of what she wanted each cookie to look like, she'd work on it for a few minutes, then announce "it's done!"
She ended up decorating almost all the gingerbread people I had left to decorate (I baked them yesterday). She chatted happily while she was working, describing each person and what they liked and what they were wearing, occasionally asking me for more decorations in a certain color in a certain shape. She was really really adorable and charming through all this.
I hate to say it, but for this sort of thing, girls (at least this one) really are more fun than boys (at least those ones)!
Gabriel joined in at the end, when there was only one left to decorate. He was easy to work with too, but then, he's almost 9. Meantime, Julian was happily working on a rocket project (from grandparents again) with Dad. I can't imagine decorating cookies with the boys together these days. They're constantly competing, insulting each other, and at each other's throats, and would probably start throwing sprinkle bottles at each other or start a gingerbread-man fight.
Christmas dinner was overall pretty simple. I attemped to duplicate Ryan's smash hit of brussel sprout fricasee from Thanksgiving, with perhaps 90% success (there's no replacing raw talent!). Add to that roast chicken, ciabatta/pancetta/chestnut stuffing, and broccoli for the kids who won't try brussel sprouts.
Katrina took one look at dinner and said, "May I please be excused?" I reminded her that gingerbread cookies were at stake, and she looked right at me without blinking and repeated, "May I please be excused?" Just like her older older brother, absolutely unrattled, single-minded, she knew exactly what she wanted to do. A quality I admire, but I still wish my 4-year-old would eat something for dinner. She put her plate away and marched straight upstairs to play.
Well, she met my criteria for dinner rules, and on principle I avoid food fights, so I let it go, but still, argh.
It rained all day and we went nowhere -- just how Christmas should be!