I've been trying to do this post for the past 2-3 days, but could never quite get around to it. Chalk it up to post-Christmas blahs. Because I know you've all been waiting to hear - our Christmas Eve was good. Rex and his family arrived about 2:30 and the good times began. I'd had a kids basketball hoop for almost a year that I'd never pulled out and put together, and we finally got it out and put it to use. Lexi and Matthew had a great time (after being in the car for almost 2 hours!) shooting hoops and running after balls. Lexi was a superstar, but Matthew was still a little bit too short. He would shoot and miss, and then sigh and say "I try again!" He tried and tried and tried, and managed to get a few in the basket while we would applaud wildly.
We went inside, had a pre-dinner snack and brought out some games to play. Matthew soon fell asleep in the bean bag chair and had a good nap. Rex and Ronna played checkers and Lexi and I played a game and then went upstairs and played with the fairy castle. L slaved away in the kitchen getting dinner ready so I could play with the kids - jealous much, ladies? (I'm still shaking my head that I was lucky enough to win this prize - my life with him is a constant wonder.) Andrew was also here visiting from Provo, but he opted to spend the evening with his cousins at L's parents' house.
Scott and Ashley arrived and we sat down to eat. And we laughed and we talked and Lexi ate her dinner all gone and Matthew slept through the whole thing. It was a good time - the most fun and least awkward time I think our family has had all together ever. After dinner Lexi wanted to play with the fairy castle some more, so I got the four kids busy playing Apples to Apples, L ran over to his parents' to say hi to his brothers, and we settled down for some serious play with the fairies. At one point I asked her who her favorite friends at school were. She said that Justin and Derrick were her favorites. I asked why and she said very matter of factly in her four year old way: "Well, they're boys, and sometimes I fall in love with them a little bit." That perfect little story you tell for years, and laugh every time.
Soon we had the hunt for the Christmas Treasure: 2 bags of chocolate coins that I'd hidden in the manger of the nativity scene. The kids had a lot of fun figuring out the clues and finding the prize. We opened presents after that. When Lexi opened her Princess Castle she hugged the whole box. She was delighted with her little Rapunzel/Tangled doll that just fit in the castle. Matthew loved his Hot Wheels cars. Yay - I shopped well this year, thanks to L - all of that was his idea.
Too soon it was almost 10:00 and everyone had to go. Rex told Lexi she'd have to leave her castle at my house until after Christmas because the car was too full. Her eyes filled with tears and she begged him to "Try daddy - try to make it fit." It fit. I couldn't have let her drive off without it - my goodness! The house was quiet while I cleaned up, but I basked in the memory of a good evening with everyone. Without going into detail, I'll just say that there were some issues that needed to be smoothed over, and I think the time spent together laughing and playing did just that. Success. I went to bed with aching feet but a happy heart.
Christmas, quite honestly, was a let down. The fun had already been had. None of the kids were coming - they had to be elsewhere. It's funny how you can understand that, and it's still lonely and waay too quiet. I woke up with a headache - not a regular one but a hormone one. The kind that just never really goes away. Ugh. Andrew got up and we opened presents and I was glad that he was happy to be with us. He and L watched basketball, and I was happy for the peaceful day, but couldn't help wishing my kids were coming back. I miss the noise and laughter and L cherishes the quiet. It's about the only thing we ever disagree on. Later in the afternoon, the two of them left to see "True Grit" and after my mom and dad came over for a bit, I headed out to see my grandma and aunt. When I came outside after visiting with them it was raining. A fitting end to the day. It was an OK day - it just didn't feel like Christmas. So while I got Christmas Eve down, clearly I need to figure out Christmas Day - especially if I can't have my kids come. I spent pretty much the whole day feeling sorry for myself - how selfish. Holidays can be hard when things change, so next year I want to be better prepared to have a Plan B.
On Sunday after church we took Andrew down to Balboa Island to walk around, and so he could smell the ocean that he gets homesick for. It was a good afternoon for all 3 of us.
I'm off of work this week - a much needed vacation! My mom and I finally got around to her birthday lunch and afternoon of shopping that I'd promised her. We went to South Coast Plaza and tooled around. It was fun to hang out with my mom and have a nice leisurely lunch. She just turned 80 and we walked around from 11:30 until almost 5 - and I think I was more tired than she was! She's a wonder. While we were in Nordstrom, I found a hat. A rainy day chapeau. I love this hat. I'd never planned to get a hat or look for a hat, but that's just the kind of surprise I like to find when out shopping. It's exciting to come home with something completely unexpected. And so today I had a little fashion shoot with myself and my topper. Like Lexi with her boys, I think I've fallen in love with this hat a little bit. Indulge me.