Friday, January 29, 2010

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we had been reading Christmas stories before bedtime - The Polar Express, Olive the Other Reindeer, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, etc. Apparently the latter stuck with Alex because when we read it to him on Christmas Eve, he was able to finish each line of the story as we read along. It came as a total surprise to us because we had only read it a handful of times, and he never really participated that much before. I guess he just decided to pull out the big guns right before Santa showed up, perhaps as a last ditch effort to impress the big buy and redeem himself from any indiscretions he may have committed during the year. Based on the haul that Santa left in the living room the next morning, his strategy seemed to have worked.

Anyway, we were so surprised and impressed by his efforts that we made him "perform" a second time so that I could get it on camera. And don't mind the nasty throat-clearing before the narrative begins - that's what all great storytellers do before a big performance.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christmas '09: Mamaw's House

On Christmas evening, we went to Mamaw's to celebrate with the Meador family. We knew Alex would have fun because his cousins Macey, Colton, and Davis would be there. He ran up to Macey right away and took a seat next to her on the footstool. After that, they did puzzles together and shared some dessert. Colton showed Alex a game on his Nintendo DS (or whatever newfangled device kids are playing with these days), and Alex created a laser light show with flashlights (go figure) to entertain Davis.

When he wasn't entertaining or being entertained by the other kids, he played with his trains. This kid is so predictable.

We did our gift exchange after that, and Timothy got this very becoming Razorback-themed Snuggie, along with coordinating plush Razorback, from his cousin Jeremy.

Of course, no Christmas is complete without a Christmas story, so Mamaw read a little out of her Norman Rockwell Christmas book.

We were all pretty beat by that point, stuffed to the gills with delicious homemade food and ready to climb into bed and sleep off the day's food and fun.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Christmas '09: Christmas morning

Christmas morning was a little anti-climactic this year. It seems like whenever we go to Eldo, Alex tends to get congested and ends up with a cough and runny nose. It's most likely allergies as opposed to a cold, but whatever the case, he is miserable and crabby and doesn't sleep well.

So he woke up Christmas morning with snot pouring out of his face - certainly the image I want to wake up to on the morn of Christ's b-day - and was a bit out of sorts. Not that I can blame him, poor pitiful thing. The rest of the family had gathered in the living room with video cameras and eager smiles, and I was supposed to usher him down the hallway and into the living room, where he was supposed to jump up and down and pee himself with excitement over the giant piles of presents that Santa had brought him. Instead, he stood in the hall and said, "I don't want to, I scared". Apparently he thought that Santa himself was going to be standing in the living room and wasn't too keen on Santa seeing him snot-nosed.

Eventually, we convinced him that Santa had brought his presents, ate his cookies, and left to deliver toys to other kids. The first thing he saw when he finally came into the room was the battery-powered train making its way around a track in front of the tree...and that's pretty much the last thing he saw that morning. He was so enamored by that train that he really didn't care about the towering piles of presents waiting to be opened. It was like pulling teeth trying to get him to open anything else, so the rest of us ended up opening his presents for him and shoving them in his face, saying things like, "Look Alex!! You love this!! Isn't this so much fun!!???"

We did get him to open a few things, like a giant Magnadoodle, a Thomas coloring book from B and Grampa, and the Smart Cycle we got him as his "big gift" this year. He mostly played with his train that morning, although he has since fallen in love with his Smart Cycle, a story which will probably earn a blogpost of its own.

That pretty much covers Christmas morning. I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it was so hard not to be disappointed when I had such high expectations for how Alex would react to all of the great things his family had thoughtfully picked out and bought and wrapped just for him. And I hate that my most vivid memory of that morning was Alex being a whiny, fussy, crabby-patty with snot running down his face when I should be focusing on his excitement when he saw that Santa had eaten his cookies, and the shock on his face when he saw that train chugging around the track.

Anyway, that morning was just one small hitch in what had been a great week, and there were still more good times to be had. We had another Christmas celebration that evening - more info on that to come in the next post.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Christmas '09: Christmas Eve

So clearly blogging isn't at the top of my priority list these days. I'm going to try to eke out a quick Christmas post, mostly consisting of pictures, before I doze off and plant my face directly into my keyboard.

We spent this Christmas in Eldo. Alex and I went down on the Sunday before Christmas and Tim came down later that week, on Wednesday afternoon. Alex and I had lots of fun in the meantime, going to Candlelight Communion at MHC, cooking with Grammy, and playing with Grammy's Christmas decorations. Alex loved Grammy's plush Christmas characters. In particular, he loved lining them up and then knocking them over. Not sure what this says about Alex except maybe that he was hoping to find coal in his stocking.

He attempted to redeem himself by making up with Santa and offering a big hug.

His favorite thing, by far, was the snowman that sang Christmas songs and played the piano. He played it over and over and danced and sang to the music.

He also thought that "Frosty" needed a large audience to play for, so he would line the other toys up to listen. Here he is helping Santa get a closer look.

Grammy was glad that Alex enjoyed her decor.

Alex found this fun red ladder that he pretended was a railroad track to run his train cars on.

Too bad he stole it from the elves that were using it to climb into Grammy's Christmas tree. Poor elves.

There was no shortage of good food at Grammy's house.

When I asked Alex if there was anything Grammy needed to get for him before we got there, he said "pumpkin pie". Mamaw Meador made him his very own "pumpkin pie" (which was actually pumpkin-flavored pudding in a pie crust topped with whipped cream). A definitely got his pumpkin fix with that number.

Not that all of these great things came without a price. Grammy made us earn our keep by helping out around the kitchen. Alex helped her make some Chex mix...

...and we helped Grammy bake and decorate a cake shaped like snowy mountains with a train running around the bottom.

To burn off all those calories, Alex cut a rug with Mamaw Meador.

His favorite part was falling on the ground. He thought he was so funny. Then it was Grammy's turn.

Then it was time for a solo performance.

On Christmas Eve, we got together with the gang from MHC and went caroling. Alex made a bold fashion statement with these edgy Santa-head deely-boppers. You may call them "dorky" - we are calling them "fashion-forward".

That evening, Mamaw Meador came over bearing gifts. A was very excited about his Gator Golf.

After presents, we baked some cookies for Santa. I had planned on making some from scratch, but Alex picked out some Toll House Ultimate Turtle Cookies when we were at the grocery store. I have a feeling Santa isn't too picky about such things.

Somehow we managed to distract A from the cookies long enough to get his jammies on and get him ready for bed. Tim and I read him Christmas stories before bedtime, including The Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express, and a kids' version of the Christmas story from the Bible. It wasn't too hard to get him to sleep once we told him Santa couldn't bring presents if he was still awake. I wanted Santa to bring me presents, too, so I went to bed shortly after that. Christmas morning came way too early - I think I woke up around 4 and couldn't fall back asleep, maybe because I was anxious for Alex to see what Santa had brought him. Had I known then what I know now, I think perhaps I would have slept in. More on that later...