Friday, January 05, 2007

Christmas 2006 in Photos

I thought I would leave you this weekend with a montage of our Christmas vacation, as told through pictures. Yes, I know, a journal entry comprised entirely of pictures is totally cheating, but what do you expect? I spent all day today taking down our inside Christmas decorations, and muttering under my breath about how all this shit fit into five Rubbermaid bins when we got it OUT, so why the hell won’t it fit BACK into the same five bins? Did I really buy that much stuff when the new Hobby Lobby opened in our town? Did the ornaments on the tree multiply while we slept at night, or did Rudolph and Frosty get busy behind the manger scene when we weren’t looking and reproduce all these extra snow-deer I’m finding everywhere?

(Kidding about the snow-deer. I’m pretty sure Hobby Lobby was my downfall.)

So here you go, our Christmas vacation in pictures:

For the most part, the entire trip can be divided into two parts: 1) Christmas morning at Grandma’s, and 2) The entire rest of the trip, when my kids were either at their cousins’ house, or wishing they were at their cousins’ house, or begging us to drive them over to their cousins’ house, or asking how much longer until they go to their cousins' house, etc.

The end.

My youngest nephew, Daxton. This is the one who fell off the top bunk at the lake, hit his head on the ceiling fan on the way down, and busted his elbow when he landed, requiring surgery, pins, and a cast all summer. This happened the weekend my Grandpa died, when my dad fell out of his wheelchair and I was in the emergency room with an epidural headache. We like to call him our “little good luck charm”.

What we don’t call him, as evidence by the football going right past him, is “coordinated”.

My sister and her husband own ten acres of land. Plenty of room to play football, basketball, and all other kinds of testosterone-fueled activities. I’m pretty sure Kellen has already filled out the adoption paperwork, transferring his parentage to them, just so he can stay forever at their house and play.

This is my second-oldest nephew, Landon. He and Kellen are only six weeks apart in age and were pretty much joined at the hip the entire time. We most likely won’t move home for at least another year, and Kellen has already asked me no less than two dozen times if he can be in Landon’s class at school. I’m pretty sure the boy will have an ulcer by then, worrying about it.

The sun on their faces, room to run and play, mud, trails, bonfires, horses, cats, dogs, all of which translates into lots and lots of stuff to step in …. What possibly makes boys any happier?

This is Brayden with my oldest nephew, Dalton. He recently turned eleven and I was worried the male-female dynamic might come into play and they wouldn’t want much to do with one another. Instead, he gave her the magical nod of approval by showing her where his hideout was located, and the two of them spent hours and hours and hours together.

Brayden might very well like her pink and purple clothes, and she's all about Hannah Montana, but she’s not afraid of getting dirty. And yes, the waves in her hair are natural, although I have no clue what to do with them. As if you couldn’t tell that by the way she looks most of the time.

Dalton has many interests, but his top two right now are riding his dirt-bike and wrestling. Our last night in town, he found out that if he keeps his hair this long, he’ll be required to wear a hairnet the next time he wrestles in a tournament. Something tells me the scissors will be brought out soon. Although he does look like a pretty cool biker dude for now.

Pretty much the way he would spend every minute of every day, if he could.

The only ones I don’t have pictures of are Kendrie and her 6-yr old cousin Lawson. That’s because once they re-discovered one another, they simply disappeared. For hours. Playing, laughing, exploring. I’m pretty sure she would marry him, if not for the fact its illegal. And icky. But he adores her, and I’m quite positive the feeling is mutual considering she’s cried for him every night since we left.

Once we got them in from outside, away from the dirt and mud and wind and NATURE *Kristie shudders* they cleaned up pretty nice. Here they are on Christmas Eve with their ADORABLE Santa Claus plate from Cali Ali. I’m fairly sure the California elves are done toiling away in their sweatshop workshop for this year, but if you get a chance to order a plate for next year, do. You won’t be sorry.

A new tradition we started this year, courtesy of my girlfriend Erin in Florida: planting peppermints on Christmas Eve, which magically grow into full-size candy canes by Christmas morning. Unfortunately for *some* kids, though, Santa (cough, cough) accidentally broke one of the candy canes pushing it into the ground. Ugliness and an early morning temper tantrum ensued first thing Christmas Day, even before the gifts were opened. Which, is pretty much normal for Christmas morning given the overall level of sleep-deprivation, sugar inhalation, and over-stimulation my kids endure while visiting cousins at Christmas.

These, the seven beautiful reasons I am so eager to move back home. Seven cousins, ranging in age from 4 to 11, who enjoy one another’s company more than any seven kids I’ve ever seen. They go together, like peas and carrots, like peanut butter and honey, like rambalamba lamba ga dingity ding ga dong. (Pay no attention to me; I’m simply warming up for my night of karaoke tomorrow.) But these kids really, truthfully get along well and I can’t wait to make that happen more than once or twice a year. I hope my sister feels the same way, otherwise it’s going to be like a never-ending family reunion, with one side of the family stalking the other side. (Guess which side we’ll be?)

PS. Speaking of the Christmas plates from Cali Ali, they were a fundraiser for Baby Donovan, who is having a very difficult time of things. While I'm never one to give up on a miracle, it looks like that is what it will take for him. Please visit his site and leave a note of encouragement and support for his family, who are enduring a parents' worst nightmare.


Anonymous said...

Seeing the pictures of all the cousins made me smile, as my family is the same way...only 24 cousins ranging in age from 20 to 6. (spread over 5 siblings.) :)

The Christmas plate is adorable!!! I didn't really have a reason to order one this year...but in the future I just might!!! (or my Aunt might...her son is a 13 year wilms tumor survivor and she is always looking for ways to raise money for childhood cancer research...or for children fighting cancer.)

Hope your New Year is full of blessings, and hope that you enjoy the peace that comes with the kids going back to school!!!!

angela a friend thru your entries said...

Now THOSE are some beautiful children. My three grew up with their 1st cousins...oh what memories.......

Leeann said...

I love your pictures of all the cousins. There is most definitely a family resemblance too! I know what you mean about wanting to be near cousins. I didn't have any similarly aged cousins growing up and I make sure my kids live near their cousins and see them often. It is really important to me.
So glad you had such a good time!
Love your new site.

Lisa said...

Hey there! I'm trying to figure out how to post. I love your blog and the pictures are adorable. No, we've never met, but my friend introduced me to you through cyberspace and I've been praying for you and other Caringbridge friends ever since. I sure wish my children were near their cousins, too. Nothing like it!!!

kim said...

Now that I've officially started leaving comments, I just had to let you know how much I enjoyed seeing these pictures--what a cute bunch of kids, and I also see the family resemblance in them. Seeing them took me back more years than I care to say when I got to spend lots and lots of time with my cousins--which I REALLY loved since I was an "only." Your kids will have these great memories FOREVER. And my wish for you is that you will be able to actually live closer to all of them sooner rather than later. From your post, it sounded like it definitely will happen eventually? I REALLY HOPE SO! Thanks, thanks, thanks for sharing the pix--you and Blaine did good on the kids :)!

Natalie said...

Dear God, does your sister have four boys???? She's my hero!