While there are still a few vestiges of Christmas past lurking in our house (Playskool's Virgin Mary was hiding in my bathroom), things are for the most part put away and back to normal. The consensus is that the holidays were good: everybody got stuff they liked; there was lots of yummy food around; nobody got lice.
And we even squeezed a bit of religion into the season. The Sunday before Christmas church was cancelled due to a storm and so the Kellys trekked across the street to join us for our own mini-service. Jim and Dave slept thru most of it. Denise brought her costumes so we could do the nativity. After fighting tooth and nail for the role of Mary, Maren got cold feet so Dave graciously stepped in. He did a fine job but perhaps got too realistic during the stable birth scene when he labored on all fours for a bit then asked Jonah/Joseph and Shepard/Dallin to hold his legs while he pushed.[sleeping daddies]
[the Virgin prior to going into labor]
Though Dave did get a concussion on Christmas Eve which honestly, irritated me. [It was reminiscent of the eve of our wedding when he sprained his ankled playing basketball and limped thru our wedding and honeymoon. The temple workers would see us coming, see Dave's laboured, dragging walk and they'd all pat my arm, like wasn't I the sweetest sister to marry this "special" man and kept quoting that part in Samuel when the Lord says not to look at people's outward appearance but on their hearts.] I know it's not rational--or kind--for that to irritate me, but his Grandma was here and she is such a worrier and I knew I'd NEVER hear the end of it. We went to Lisa & Dave B.'s and Gr Jean spent the whole nite, not checking on Dave, but following me around, asking me to check on Dave. I'm in the kitchen cutting hunks off Costco's flying saucer size pizza's to get them into the ovens and she's there. "Miss Heather, do you think Dave is all right?" "He's fine. Go check on him." "Where is he?" "In the living room." She hobbles off (one knee's been replaced; the other needs replacing). She hobbles back. "Miss Heather, he's not there." Hoping the pizza's won't burn in my absence, I hurry to the living room where Dave is sitting, plain as day. It continued like this all night. Georgia & Ellie are playing "Good King Wencaslas" on violin and she's tapping me on the back to check on Dave. She got frustrated with my lack of worry and enlisted our host, Dave B., to call everyone to attention so he could pray for Dave. Poor Dave B. was so not thrilled about it, but bless him, he did it anyway.
[Ellie & Georgia]
Grandma is big into prayer and worrying which is great because she can then spend all her time either worrying or praying about the things that worry her. Danny S. came over with his father-in-law Buzz to talk to Steph, a publicist, about a book he's writing. But Grandma gets it in her head that they are there to pray. They settle down in the living room and I get the kids in the kitchen and try to get Grandma in the kitchen so that they can get down to business. But Grandma won't leave. I'm making pancakes and keep hollering for her to come help me. She keeps taking over the conversation to talk about her aches and pains. Then she walks over to Dan and Buzz and says, "Will you pray for my neck? It's been making me crazy." At this point I shout, "Grandma!!! Get in the kitchen now!" Stephanie must have clarified the purpose for their visit at the same time because she wandered laughing into the kitchen, "I thought they were here to pray, so I wanted them to add my neck to the list."
Every year when she comes she has to make jello and every year I try to make it palatable. Last year I had fresh raspberries and whipped cream. But she doesn't want that. And this year I surrendered. I bought her strawberry jello and canned cranberries and pineapple and pecans and mandarin oranges and didn't even add those extra cups of water to her mix that is so high on jello/fruit low on water that the sugar crystals never quite dissolve and one bite can put you in a diabetic comma. I had to leave the room as she made it. But to show my love for this wonderful crazy bird every night before I went to bed I took the bowl out and scooped some down the disposal so that she would think someone besides herself was eating the swill.
Jonah was thrilled that we got a huge dumping of snow the weekend school let out. He and some friends made a giant mound on our front lawn, and then carved out an entrance and a sleeping cavity. Dave was so delighted that he got into the project of building a "quinzee" and the two of them slept out there in the middle of a storm. Poor Jonah. In the morning he looked terrible. "Too cold, huh?" I said. "No. I was plenty warm. Pop just snores so loud I couldn't sleep. So half way thru the night I turned around but he snored so loud that my feet vibrated and kept me awake." Welcome to my world, little man.
[Cave Sweet Cave]
Jonah also had another rite of passage during winter break. I was running errands and got a call from Dave, informing me that Jonah had broken a window. He was trying to knock icicles off the back awning, threw a frozen tennis shoe at them and it busted both panels of the window above the kitchen sink. Jonah was terrified of my wrath and was just falling apart. Honestly, I am flattered that I inspire that kind of fear in my kid. Dave put him on the phone and this is what I said, "Hey Joe, you know my party philosophy: it's not a party until someone spills and someone cries. Well, here's another thing I believe: it's not a boy's childhood until he breaks a window. Welcome to your childhood." Poor guy was so relieved his Mean Mama didn't open up a giant can on him, he just sobbed.
One of my favorite holiday memories is ABBA related. I got Dave a Blu ray for Christmas. He was happy...expect that now the picture is so great, it really makes the sound seem sucky. Enter Jeff and ten thousand trips to Best Buy and Radio Shack and as many hours in the basement and now we have this whole home theatre thing going on. (I need to say that to help me get on board I was promised VHS capability, and it's never happened--I know I'm a techno-tard, but damn it if DVD's don't get scratched and become useless after a month!) I invited the Snow girls over and their 3 and my 3 set up camp in the basement to watch a movie. They love music and getting their groove on so I put in Mamma Mia and went thru all the songs for them. They went nuts. Pretty soon all 7 of us are bouncing around the room to "Dancing Queen." It made me so happy. The funniest part was when Piece Brosnan started "singing" and Bea clapped her hands on the side of her head and screamed, "OWIE OWIE MY EARS!"
Speaking of Bea, she is potty trained. Unlike our other kids who will relieve themselves anytime, anywhere, Bea has always demanded "faux privacy" while defecating. If you ever saw her crawl under a table, go behind curtains, or in some other way "hide," you knew exactly what she was doing. And when she started to talk, the phrase "DON'T SEE ME!" accompanied her hiding. This is fine and dandy if we're at home, where I have to help her onto the potty, get banished from the bathroom only to be summoned 30 seconds later: "Mama, now you can see me." But in public this is trickier. Last week we were in Panera and she informed me she needed to go potty. #2. So I get her in the stall and on the throne and then she starts shouting: "Get out! Don't see me!" So I leave the stall, pull and hold it closed with me hand over the top. "Mama!! Move your hand! Go away!" I try to explain that the door will open but she keeps insisting I "Go see Lisa" whose waiting at the table, as if I'm going to leave a 3 year old alone in a public bathroom. But when I let go of the door and it swings in a few inches, she flips. Somehow between her need to both have the door closed and not have my hand on the door, she evacuates her bowels and is suddenly all sweetness, "Mama, you can see me now." Sigh.
[Bea sporing her big girl panties]
[Eloise & Cece decorate a gingerbread house]
So we've concussed ourselves and prayed and made igloos and shattered windows and discoed and potty trained and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.