It's been several years since we spent Christmas morning anywhere else but our own living room. For various reasons, my family didn't see us at all last year for any of the holidays; so we decided to make it up to them by spending a few days over Christmas. Honestly, I can't recommend a long car trip in a vehicle with no trunk. It's tricky trying to hide all those presents from curious eyes! Not to mention the fact that Max is NOT a good long haul traveler. The last two hours of the ride I felt like a vaudeville performer in my efforts to keep him from wailing (there are only so many ways to puppeteer a paper cut out of Elmo). The last 30 minutes of the ride, I had to pull out the secret weapon. I blew bubbles into the back seat until my throat was raw.
My mother was on her best behavior (thanks Mom!) but my Dad was up to his usual tricks. We don't call him Grumpy Grampy for nuthin. Luckily his crotchety moments weren't too bad (I've packed up and gone home days early, in the past).
We had a birthday dinner for my brother at a favorite local Chinese restaurant on Christmas eve. Good food and great company. The boys were on their best behavior too. Thanks to Grampy for picking up the tab.
Christmas morning...Santa was very good to my boys. I think we kept Tyler waiting a bit long to go see the tree. He had to wait for Mommy and Max to wake up. Then he had to wait for his Grands to get out of bed (they were a bit slow at 7am - the "Tyler" alarm clock is a shock to the system at that hour). Then he had to wait for Grandma to get out of the bathroom (what the heck does she DO in there for that long???) Then he had to wait for Grampy to make coffee and finish doing the dishes (wait...what??? Hurry UP Grampy!) By the time I got the video rolling on my camera, Tyler strolled in and just stood there with very little reaction. Where was the excited screams? The shreds of paper flying everywhere as he tore into his gifts? WTF? LOL! The video is dead boring. Oh well. You'll just have to watch the cute video of Max playing with Tyler's new race car.
My mother shocked the CRAP out of me with her Christmas gift. She is terrible at keeping a secret, but she managed to stay mum about receiving an inheritance from her Aunt. She shared a little of the wealth with my brother and I via a check in our Christmas cards. I cried. It was so unexpected! Money and my mother are not soon parted, unless she's at the mall and it comes in a size 2! Thanks Mom! I was wondering why she kept hinting that Santa might have brought the camera I've been dreaming about. John was nervous that she was raising my expectations so high. He knew what was in the two wrapped packaged he gave me from the boys (a back scratcher from Tyler and a new game for my Nintendo DS from both boys).
As a return favor, I shocked the crap out of both my parents with the announcement that I had connected with my bio-mom, Liz. But seriously, I told them on the 23rd. I didn't want to spring the news on Christmas day. What a bomb to drop that would have been. They took the news fairly well. My Mother had lots of questions (primarily on whether Liz had asked about HER and what had I told her.) *sigh* I wish she wasn't so worried about how everyone else on the planet thinks of her and worry more about what she thinks of herself - or how her daughter thinks of her. Ah well. I can't knock her too much. She paid me! LOL! Just kidding. I am totally getting that new camera, tho. [squeeeeeeee!]
Uncle Mike and Aunt Katia were present rock stars this year (so were Grandma Lois and Uncle Greayer and Aunt Anne). They got the perfect things for Tyler and Max. Good job, guys. Only one glitch...Max was TERRIFIED of TMX Elmo. I feel a little ashamed that I laughed at his reaction. But it was too funny! He would pick up Elmo, carry him to me, I would tickle Elmo, and Max would stare for a moment then his lip would quiver and he would burst out crying. Awww! He did NOT like how Elmo threw himself around on the floor in a laughing fit. They aren't kidding when they say this Elmo is extreme. He's practically maniacal.
The rest of our stay was pretty uneventful. The drive home was hellish. Once again, Max is NOT a long haul traveler. We had to stop sooooo many times. Ugh. I'm so glad to be home. And now for some photos:
John's Birthday Party/Christmas with Grandma Lois
Christmas with Grandma Carol and Grampy Bob
Max and the Smash n Crash Racer: