Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day in the (very early) Morning

"A froggie! It's what I always wanted!!!"*

And with that, Christmas Day officially began.

The day unofficially began when Cameron arrived at our bedside sometime before solar dawn. He was told to take himself back to bed in no uncertain terms. The next kid to appear was Claire, dragging her Purple Blanket, who climbed in next to her dad and promptly went back to sleep. Next was Aeron, who wanted to know if it was now Christmas Day. When I told her yes, she squealed with joy, climbed into the bed and started to shake me, saying, "Mama! Come on! Time to open presents!!! Come on!!"

I managed to stall for a few more minutes by asking Aeron to go tell her sister Kayla it was finally Christmas Day. The little girl scampered off and Miles, Claire and I got a few more minutes of horizontal. But Aeron came back rather quickly, saying Kayla told her it was too early and to go away. Then Cameron was back, and as it was (barely) daylight, we surrendered to the inevitable. Cameron was instructed to go turn on the coffee maker and we sent Aeron back to roust Kayla.

We had a lovely time opening gifts, with lots of squeals and shouts from the younger 3. Gifts of clothing and books and a few toys and gadgets were opened and exclaimed over. A few photos were taken.

Pam was supposed to roust Terry and Trevor and come to our house to have brunch and open more gifts. As of 9:30am, someone who shall remain nameless still wasn't out of bed. So, we decided to pack up our show and take it down to SLO. We got out the door in record time and descended on the San Luis Clarks.

Santa bags were opened and more oohs and ahhs were heard. Then I took a break to get the cinnamon rolls in the oven, along with my veggie strata. Once the cooking chores were done, we moved on to the living room, to open more gifts. Everyone was very pleased with the wonderful presents. Then, weary from opening Christmas gifts, we repaired to the dining room to stuff ourselves silly with brunch. So silly in fact, no one wanted dinner that evening.

The older two went off to their mom's house and they rest of us had some downtime. I had a nap, since I hadn't gotten to sleep until sometime after 2am that morning. When Miles returned from delivering Kayla and Cam to Atascadero, we plunked the little girls in front of the video babysitter. And opened still yet more gifts (I'm so glad we cut back this year....)

When the Templeton Clarks finally crawled home, we were all tired and mellow after a happy day.

* Claire found a frog bath sponge in her stocking. Aeron got a duckie.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The run up to Christmas

Ah, the holiday season! The cookie-baking, decorating the tree, the shopping.... Followed by the sweeping the flour off the floor, sweeping up the shattered glass ornaments, the scrabble to find receipts....

Every year, Miles and I wonder how we can possibly recapture the magic of the Christmases of our youth. When is it going to "feel like Christmas"? I have come to the conclusion that it simply ain't gonna happen.

See, now, we're the grownups. It's our job to do the work so our kids can enjoy the season.

This year Claire & Aeron are really aware and enjoying the whole Christmas shtick. They were thrilled to get our tree, sobbed when told we had to wait for Daddy to set up the tree in the living room, gleefully pulled lights and ornaments out of boxes, and stuffed Santa hats on their heads. They have decorated gingerbread cookies with globs of frosting and sprinkles and been found hiding in the kitchen, eating those cookies when they weren't supposed to. (how long before they figure out it's the frosting on their faces that gives 'em away?) I've decided I can't possibly put any gifts under the tree yet; their little heads will explode with excitement, then they would tear them open.

Kayla seems pretty indifferent to the whole thing. She's got other stuff to worry about; her social life, the Mock Trial team, buckets of homework, climate change. Cameron is still got the little kid attitude. He's having a great time with the Advent Calendar Chris & Caitlin sent, he fusses when our kitten pulls ornaments off the tree, he goes to school wearing his Santa hat.

Another reason not to put gifts under the tree; Mitzi. She is having the time of her young kitten life pouncing on just about everything. Most mornings there are a half-dozen ornaments on the floor. Any scrap of paper or ribbon is a cat toy. The tree is also very pounce-worthy; I have asked Miles to secure the tree to the wall just in case Mitzi tries to climb it.

It's also a sad time of year for the Kurths and related clans. We've lost quite a few family members in the last years, all between Thanksgiving and Christmas. My grandmother, my uncle and my mom. The year my mother died, we lost two in one week; Mom and Great-Uncle Hazen. So, for me, the holidays are rather bittersweet. I'm never going have a Thanksgiving or Christmas like I had when I was a kid. I need to make new family memories. But now, I'm the adult. It's quite an adjustment.

That said, we have a nice holiday planned. Trevor arrives tomorrow and will be in San Luis for two weeks. Christmas Eve we will have the traditional Clark Enchilda feed, followed by the family church service at Atascadero UMC. I'm singing again this year; it'll be interesting to see if my girls can hold it together during the service. Then Christmas morning, Pam, Terry and Trevor will come to our house to open gifts and have brunch. The cherry on top will be a visit from the Dodges for New Year's Eve.

It's not like it was. But that's ok.