As for how I've spent the past few days, read on. Or not. That's why it's behind a cut.
Christmas Eve was spent cleaning and baking and doing last minute gift wrapping. Around 4:30, we left to drive to my mother-in-law's house. She was in excellent spirits (I think she's still feeling the glow of her surprise party a few weeks back). Don's older sister and husband are back in the states for the first time in four - five? - years. It's lovely to have them here once more! Don's younger brother was there with his daughter, and his baby sister was there with her husband and their three kids. Full house, but great fun watching the kids tear into things.
Since the grown-up kids had just sprung for Mom's party, we agreed not to exchange gifts with one another. Rather, we brough presents for Mom and the kiddies. I did give homemade shower salt-scrub to my sisters in law, but that was no big. Bought books, as usual, for all the wee ones, as well as a few toys. I made scarves for the two girls. They're quite the little fashion plates, and long skinny scarves are 'in' right now. So, sparkly purple for one girl, and sparkly pink for the other. Now, I wasn't certain how they'd like them. For all I knew, it could have been an "oh. socks." type of reaction. Fortunately, they liked them. A lot, in fact, for as soon as they'd unwrapped them they put them on and started having a fashion show.
Best moment of that night was when the younger niece sat down beside me and, very very seriously said, "Aunt Kelly, I have to tell you something. I love this scarf. I love it so much that when it is too small for me, I'm going to put a nail in my wall and hang it up in my room so I can still look at it."
"Sweetie, I can always make you another one."
"I know," she said, "but I want to keep this one, too." And, right before she left, she ran over to me again and said "I love love love my scarf!" Her mom told me she wore it all of Christmas Day, and when I saw her on Sunday, she ran to her room and put it on again. Yay!
Don and I exchanged one gift each that night: I gave him the Pearls Before Swine treasury and he gave me the coolest dorky hat in the WORLD!!!!
Christmas Day meant driving to my folks' house in CT. The weather was clear and not too cold, and traffic was blessedly light. Again, we tried to keep the gift exchange light. My mom tends to go overboard, generous woman that she is. Wonder of wonders, she really kept it within reason this year.
Dad's health is not so great. I know he hates being unable to do all that he used to. He's cranky and snappish and I know he doesn't mean to be so. Still, it hurts. He's particularly snippy with my sister - although I can not blame him altogether on that one. She's always - and I mean ALWAYS - late getting over to the house. When we pulled into the driveway, Mom was out with the dog. "I just spoke with Kerry," she said.
"She hasn't showered yet and none of the gifts are wrapped," said I.
"Oh. You talked to her, too?"
"No, Mom. She does this every year."
She and her boyfriend arrived at long last. We had a nice enough visit, though Kerry gets incredibly loud. Funny - talking to her on the phone, I can barely get her to speak above a mumble. But get her in an enclosed space, in person, and the volume control goes to eleven.
Don and I exchanged one more gift when we got home that night. I can't remember what on earth I gave him, but he gave me issues 0 and 2 of 'Soulfire.' He couldn't find 1, but we'll track it down eventually.
Boxing Day has traditionally been our Christmas (as we're bouncing about from family to family the two days prior). It started with a jaunt over to the sister-in-law's to babysit the youngest for an hour. He woke up from his nap about fifteen minutes into our stint. Of course, he woke up crying. Very energetically. I lifted him from his crib, and when I tried to set him down he clung to me. When I tried to hand him over to Don, he cried harder. So, Auntie Kelly got to walk around with a giant 18 month old on her hip for a good fifteen to twenty minutes. Then, we caved. We put on an Elmo video.
After that, all was good. We all played, the kiddo laughed and ran around and generally had a good time. He's a great kid, that one. And yes, tickety-tock.
Off to Sugarloaf for a quick lunch, then home again to do some last minute cleaning and put the gifts under the tree and in stockings. Around 4:00 we spread a blanket by the tree, lit a fire in the woodstove, cracked a bottle of champagne and had our first Christmas in our new house. It was lovely. It started snowing about 3:30, just in time for our festivities. Thank you, nature!
We were both pretty practical about gifts, and mindful that we don't have a lot of space for stuff. So, Don got a wheelbarrow from me and I got my kitchen cart from him. Boots for both of us (though mine are a bit small; he'll exchange them next week), slippers for both (poor Don! He got me a men's small, and so he'll be exchanging them too) as well as socks. WOW, did that boy buy me socks! he also got me a pot rack, which I can not wait to put up!!!!! Oh, and a Batgirl Barbie, which I really didn't need but I do love it. Babs Gordon is definitely my inner superhero.
Then, it was curling up on the love seat for Justice League Unlimited and a couple of episodes of Stargate SG-1 (season three).
And now back to the real world. I'm back to work tomorrow, though Don has the week off. He's taking my car in for a tune up tomorrow (YAY!!!!!) which is beyond joyous. He also gets to cart me to and from the eye doctor on Wednesday. Yup - I'll have my new glasses in just a few days. I'll have to find a way to get pics online so y'all can tease me.
Now, to make more tea and try to get some writing done.