Christmas Review 2010

Rachel had a haircut yesterday and was asked how her Christmas was. She excitedly told him what Santa brought her and talked about some of her other favorite gifts. When he asked her what she's been doing over her holiday break from school, she said, "Taking care of my sick mom."

I really hope that's not all she remembers.

This isn't the first year I've been sick over Christmas. And it probably won't be the last. Although we had to cancel/modify many of our plans, we were still able to fit a lot of things in. Special thanks to my mother-in-law, Gloria, for helping me pull things off.

A couple of days before Christmas, we went down to Salt Lake with Mike & Angie's family to play at the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum and to see the lights at Temple Square. Those aren't the best places to go when you're not feeling well, and Thaifoon definitely isn't the best place to eat when you are sick to your stomach, but I survived, and we all had a good time:

(All of my holiday photos are pretty pathetic. The battery charger to my camera was not found until after Christmas.)

On Christmas Eve day, we had a really nice lunch at my parents' house with all of the Malouf Family present. Speaking of the family, this picture shows most of the Ron Malouf Family after Thanksgiving dinner at Rickenbacker's:

But back to Christmas. My mom always does a quick little reenactment of the nativity with the kids. Lucy had been talking about it for a few days prior to Christmas Eve. "Every year, I always have to be the angel. Always the angel. Never anything else. I think Grandma gives us their parts based on our personality, so that's why I always have to be the angel."

Sure enough, she was assigned to be the angel. But a special request was made, and Lucy had her debut as Mary. She was fabulous. The kids also decorated sugar cookies. It was more like they used sugar cookies as a plate for their candy. Whatever you want to call it:

We went home a little early and I went to bed. Steve fed the kids a super-festive meal of pizza and soda. See the red and green:

Steve put the kids to bed. (I do remember that he asked if there were any special Christmas Eve pajamas for them to wear and I moaned back to just get them to bed.) After they were asleep, I got up and we went to work. We finished by 11:45 pm, a new record.

And then it was finally here, Christmas morning:

The little kids at 7:00 am, not wearing cute pajamas, but still cute:

The tree and the stockings:

Steve's traditional favorite-cereal gifts, usually opened on Christmas Eve:

Lucy and Adam, showing his stocking loot in his new wheelbarrow that Santa left under our tree: (I love it when gifts are so perfectly suited for a child that there is no need for a label and nobody has to question who they are for.)

And then it began. The reaction to Lucy's ipod was definitely my favorite. I can't get the video from my phone to upload, but it went like this:

Lucy: A fake iPhone!!!
Rachel: No, it's a charger for it!
Steve: Are you sure? Are you sure. . . ?
Lucy: Is it an iPhone?
Rachel: It's a real iPhone!
Lucy: It's fake!
Rachel: It's an iPod Touch.
Lucy: It's an iPod Touch?
Rachel: See, it's an iPod Touch!!! Lucy, guess what that is? That is like SO COOL.

Derrick even popped out of his chair to see it if was true. Rachel admitted she was a little jealous. Until she opened her own.

Derrick's opening of his Jordan shoes was a close second. You could see his eyes do a quick little double-take when he saw the box.

"What! Are you serious? I was joking. You know I was joking the whole time. I've said that for years, right? Holy crap! Sorry. But thank you! Wow. Wow! This is awesome."

(For the last three or four years, every time the girls have asked him what he wants for Christmas or his birthday, he has always told him he wants Jordans.) He gave the kids some high fives and spent the next ten minutes grinning from ear to ear, carefully inspecting each shoe.

And then it was time for me to open my humongous stash of presents that were To: Mom, From: Your Family:

My favorite was this small little treasure box filled with chapstick and custom modified with a lock on the side. (The lock is to prevent Kaleigh from eating all of my chapstick.)

My other present was a small little refrigerator (well, big enough to damage our kitchen floor) full of drinks. Steve's plan was to put it in our bedroom closet to avoid going downstairs to get me a drink on a nightly basis. I'm still getting used to this gift. (He refuses to let me return it.)

And then we were off to Steve's parents' house for lunch. The kids sat at a big table and got to use the fancy Christmas plates. Gretchen was way too cute not to take a picture of her:

The food was amazing. Absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well and didn't get to enjoy it. Everyone opened their gifts, and then I spent the next few hours sleeping.

Another notable gift. Ever since Adam was a baby, I couldn't wait for him to get a train for Christmas. Well, that day came and went a couple years ago, and it didn't turn out at all like I had dreamed about. He rarely played with it, and when he did, there was no excitement, no love. This year, Adam got a Hot Wheels 4 Lane Raceway from Richard and Gloria. Adam loves it! He lines up all of his new cars and races them over and over again. It has definitely been his "train". And yesterday, for the first time ever, Adam did jobs around the house to earn a new race car.

Some of my other favorite Christmas memories. . .

My beautiful new tree. The one that I waited three years to finally buy. And now I have to return it because of a recall on the lights. (Of course.)

Our pretty white poinsettia, purchased through the Junior League of Ogden:

Our string of cards at the front entryway. We have a new bench just below the cards, and I find Kaleigh standing on the bench, looking at all of the pictures on the cards multiple times per day. She never damages the cards or tries to pull them down, just looks.

And probably my favorite thing of all. Watching happy kids share their new toys with each other:

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas. I am finally feeling back to normal after going to the doctor yesterday. I have an abdominal CT scan in the morning and meet with a surgeon about removing my adhesions in the afternoon.

I only completed three out of nine of my top secret Christmas projects. So I guess that means I should get to work NOW so I can have them all ready for next year!


Rebecca said...

Great post! I love that Kaleigh stands on the bench to look at the cards...so darling. I wonder why I was sitting so far away from you in the Rickenbackers picture...hmmm. I'm so glad you are feeling better! I need to get the update from today's dr. visit.

Min said...

Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas . . . illness aside.

Josh M said...

I am really curious about the traditional favorite cereal gifts. How did that tradition start?

Ryanne said...

I really like the favorite cereal tradition, that's fun. Are your stockings homemade or bought? They're really cute. Looks like a magical Christmas despite your illness, sorry :(

emily ballard said...

Josh, the favorite cereal gifts is a tradition from Steve's childhood. When Steve started it with our kids, I really liked that there was a part of Christmas that he did all by himself. (He usually wraps them.)

But then, last year, as I was laboring over ebelskivers while Steve was lazily playing with the kids and their new toys, I decided to forget fancy Christmas morning breakfasts. We are going to stick to eating their new boxes of cereal for breakfast on Christmas morning. . . and then we can BOTH lazily play with the kids.

(He thinks it is far superior to my childhood Christmas stocking tradition: a jar of baby food. Before you laugh, you have got to try some pears. It's like gourmet applesauce.)

emily ballard said...

Ryanne, the stockings are Pottery Barn Kids stockings, purchased from DownEast.