Christmas Eve: Grandma and Grandpa Llama graciously take our three boys for several hours in the afternoon. Just long enough for Llama Papa and I to finish cleaning the house. (Oh, how quickly it all goes without any little helpers!)
5:30 p.m. Grandma and Grandpa arrive with their overnight bags and join us for a bowl of soup. A few of my friends have told me how strange it is that my husband’s family (who all live about five minutes away) all spend the night on Christmas Eve. But it feels normal to us, to all wake up together on Christmas morning. And so the tradition continues and we all take turns hosting the party.
9 p.m. My husband’s sister and her family arrive. I tuck my nieces into their bed on the floor of the office.
until 11 p.m. The house is full of Christmas magic as stockings are stuffed and toys are put together. We all have way too much fun trying out the wii that Santa leaves for the noisy boys.
11 p.m. My sister-in-law is impressed with the cute Christmas basket I left on her bed. A few bottles of water, chocolates, tissues, and a flashlight. Of course, they’re sleeping on a pull-out futon in the basement, with boxes of stuff lining the walls. She is sweet to notice the basket instead of the stuff.
2 a.m. “Mom! Mom! My tummy hurts,” a too-hot Twin A. crawls into my bed. I go downstairs to get the children’s tylenol, and give him a dose.
“Did Santa come yet?” he asks.
“I wasn’t paying attention. I was too worried about you,” I tell him.
He cuddles up with his Dad and I move into his bedroom.
7:03 a.m. I hear stirring downstairs, but see that Twin B. is still snoozing. Suddenly, he sits upright and moves his curtain. “YES!” he shouts when the light comes in. Like a bolt of lightning, he runs to his door. I am glad I got to see this. And, thankfully, Twin A’s fever never comes back.
7:15 a.m. Wii.
8:00 a.m. The look on baby b.’s face is priceless. He woke up today with no expectations, and suddenly, there’s a party at his house! With presents! I love watching him toodle around from person to person, trying to take it all in.
8:30 a.m. The cinnamon rolls come out of the oven and we all enjoy this yearly indulgence. I read the Christmas story since everyone is still, and my sister-in-law and I both try to ask the kids thought provoking questions. It doesn’t work, but I’m glad we tried.
9:30 a.m. Twin B. opens a pirates of the carribean dart gun from his Aunt and Uncle. “THANK. YOU.” He tells them. Clearly, this is the favorite of the year. (Yes. I’ve given up my non-violent toy stance. It simply doesn’t matter. The boys were building guns out of Tinker Toys, people.)
11 a.m. We’ve managed to open all of the presents, except a few left for baby b. He’s busy playing with his brother's slinky and has no interest in opening more boxes. I’m beyond grateful for family who understands the nature of an overstimulated one-year old and the fact that nobody insists he open more gifts.
12:01 p.m. More food. We snack our way through the afternoon while baby b. naps.
The cousins play, the grown-ups visit, we all have a turn on the wii. The afternoon is a blur of play and naps and newspapers and conversation.
5:00 p.m. We sit down for a nice dinner, and I’m grateful for the family that gathers here. Half of us are still in pajamas, which is a beautiful thing. The food is a pot-luck of family favorites, and I’m grateful for family that pitches in and brings stuff when the party is at my house. Even more, I’m grateful for the clean-up help.
6:30 p.m. My sister-in-law makes chocolate fondue. Oh. My. What a way to end a party!
Last night on the way home from our favorite chinese restaurant:
Twin B: Santa Claus isn’t real. He’s just for pretend.
Twin A: No! He’s real, B! Remember we left those cookies and in the morning, they were all gone!
Twin B: Maybe it’s somebody’s job to sneak into people’s houses at night and eat all of those cookies.
I love that nobody even considered the fact that maybe Mom might eat the cookies. Just maybe.