Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Holidays 2016

This year, Hanukkah began on Christmas Eve. We were up in Maine to celebrate Christmas with Eric's family, as we always do, so we had our Hanukkah there and let traditions overlap. 
1st night of Hanukkah before Christmas Eve party
We arrived in Maine around 8 pm on Friday night the 23rd after a looooong ride. We had hoped the kids would nap, but only Asher did. Charlotte stayed awake except for 1 moment where she nodded off, but that was the exact moment that Eric pulled into a gas station and so she woke up. Charlotte kept us company by alternately saying, "Yay! We're almost there!" when we were just north of New York City, and saying, "how much longer? I don't like my car seat! I wanna get out of here!" She constantly asked for snacks. As the day wore on, Eric got increasingly exasperated with her, and his threats to her became increasingly ridiculous. At one point, he said, "If you talk one more time, I am giving a present of yours to charity." That bought him about 3 minutes of silence. At another point, when she asked for more food, he said, "You can't be hungry! If you ask for food, I am NEVER GOING TO FEED YOU AGAIN!" I am a helpful spouse and burst into laughter. In fact, I laughed most of the ride, since it was so over-the-top. I don't think Eric was pleased with me, but he didn't threaten to make me walk.

We went straight to Eric's brother, Ryan, and his wife, Kerisa's, house. They were hosting a party for Eric's mom's family, and there was a lot of food, cousins, and company. We stayed until 10 o'clock, knowing we had nothing to do the next day.

The next day we did just that- nothing. I used the treadmill at Ryan and Kerisa's house in preparation for all the holiday eating, and then the kids took naps and we just hung out until it was time for Hanukkah and then the holiday party. 

Every Christmas Eve we go to a party at Eric's grandparents. There is always too much food, and everyone is always excited to see the kids. We eat, and then we wait for Santa. This year we brought our good camera (ha! I remembered it!) and Asher took some very nice photos- he has a good eye!
The boys with their big cousin Marcus. He was the ringbearer at our wedding 10.5 years ago and every time we see him, someone in Eric's family makes a comment about it.
Charlotte eating her dinner- I think she ate nothing but crackers.

Photo by Asher: Benjamin and mommy

Photo by Asher: Charlotte with cupcake

Dessert #? All they did was sneak treats

This sweet-looking girl is holding a Santa that farts when you squeeze his hand. He was the hit of the evening.
Finally, Santa arrives. Charlotte was beyond excited, and the second he pulled a gift out of his bag, she screamed with glee and rushed up to him- but the gift wasn't for her. He always brings gifts for the kids, and gag gifts for the grown-ups. Santa has a great sense of humor.
Happy girl receives her gift. It was a set of 3 Disney princess dress-ups.

Nope, no chaos here.
Charlotte loved her princess dress-up, and put on all of the accessories at once. I don't think we even came home with all of them, because she lost them in the first 5 minutes. There were clip-on earrings she loved, which makes me think she'll be asking for pierced ears sooner than I had planned for.

The boys were perfectly polite and wonderful, and remembered to say thank you for all their gifts. Benjamin got a beanbag game and Asher got a box full of crafts. 

Even though it was late, Asher had to write a note to Santa before bed. 
"Dear Santa, I hope you like the gingerbread men!"
Waiting for Santa
On Christmas morning, we opened our stockings and then had breakfast together. The boys got a lot of Pokemon cards. We had a funny moment when I opened up a fancy wine bottle opener from Eric's mom. She said, "I bought it off your Amazon wishlist!" I said, "No... I never put this on my wishlist..." And she said, "yes, with a book about bird watching!" Now, most people who know me know that I am afraid of birds, so I started laughing. I said, "You must have chosen a different Rebecca!" And yes, she had purchased from someone else's wishlist.  

We spent the day doing nothing, much, as is tradition. The kids decorated gingerbread houses that Charlotte had received as birthday gifts. The boys slopped frosting and candy all over their house, and Charlotte painstakingly and neatly decorated hers.
Princess decorates a house
Later we got ready for Christmas dinner with Eric's brother's family- they have 6 kids, so no other company needed. Asher had a seriously loose tooth, and he finally let Eric pull it right before dinner.
"All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!"

After dinner, we went to open gifts with all the cousins. It was a storm of wrapping paper and boxes, but Eric's mom had carefully chosen three thoughtful gifts for each one of her grandchildren. Eric got an Amazon Dot and I got a firepit for our back patio- nice stuff that was immediately put into use.  We had dessert and then... the children began to fall apart.  Of course with 9 kids in the house things were pretty wild no matter what else was happening.
Benjamin made up this saying and then wrote it out. We googled to see if he had plagiarized (proud parents don't believe their son could come up with this on his own...) but nope, it's his.
The day after Christmas Eric and I took the kids up to Portland to the children's museum there, and then out to lunch for Thai food.  We had a great day with our little family of 5, and the kids were acting sweet and kind and were great company.

The next day was another quiet day at Eric's parents' house, and then at night, we celebrated Charlotte's 4th birthday and her cousin Chandler's 3rd birthday. We had dinner and then cupcakes and singing Happy Birthday. Charlotte got more presents... and it seemed she began to expect presents everyday! What a disappointment these next few weeks have been.
Yet another birthday celebration
On Wednesday the 28th, we drove home from Maine. Our trip was originally supposed to be 6.5 hours, according to the GPS, but ended up closer to 8 hours. What a loooong day. The next day I offered to take the kids all kind of places- one of the museums where we have a membership, or to see Sing- and they refused all of it.  They stayed home and played with all their new toys and gifts, and then finally, around 2 pm, we went out to the library and took cookies to our librarians.
Quiet day at home
We hosted New Years Eve at our house, as we have for the past few years.  At noon we went to the "ball drop" at the library, where they spill candy on the street. 
Waiting for the ball to drop

Getting hugged by her school friend- the girls in her class are very into hugging
 Last year there was some trouble where not all the kids got candy and the big kids took too much. This year, Charlotte was prepared- she dashed in before almost anyone else and came away with about 10 pieces of candy! She is fearless. I was talking to a couple whose daughter is a couple of months younger than her, and they didn't even let their daughter stand on the ground, much less pile on for candy.  1st child vs 3rd child, I guess.

Our New Years party was fun, but I left my phone upstairs, so got no pictures. We had tons of food, lots of friends, plenty of alcohol, and a fire in our firepit and made smores.  Charlotte and our neighbor Blake danced to the Cha-Cha Slide in dresss-up clothes. Our friends stayed even later than they have in previous years, so we must be at least a little fun!

On New Years Day, we partook of our annual traditional trip to IKEA.  It was eat free if you spend $100, and we had no intention of spending it, but guess what- we ate for free.
I love this beautiful face.

Someone can't stand to be out of the spotlight
The kids were their wild and crazy selves. I think Eric was embarrassed (trying out all the beds? Piling on each other on the floor?) but I had to laugh. I love our wild and crazy family, and how much fun the kids always have with each other.

I know it's mid-January now, but Happy New Year to us, and to all our friends and family.  We have good health and good fortune, and so much more, to be thankful for.  I am dreading the events of this coming week (and the following 4 years), but our little family is thriving and well.

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