Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our Christmas story

We celebrated Christmas at our house this year rather than visiting our daughters' families in Victorville and Santa Cruz, and Linda's brother's family in Sonoma County in the Bay area. It was much more hectic for us than if we had traveled around California! Here is a day-by-day rundown:

Wednesday, December 19: I flew to Santa Cruz (into San Jose, picked up by Lori, Lucas (age 4) and Logan (almost 2)) and spent the night at their house on the hide-a-bed. The boys have a lot of toys and are always playing with the airplanes and race cars, not so much the trains any longer. They also watch a lot of Disney Channel (Wiggles, Tigger and Pooh, Little Einsteins, etc.) and Nick Jr. (Diego and Dora) on TV and video. Lori had a board meeting in the evening, so I got to bathe the boys, read to them, and put them to bed. Lucas likes stories about dinosaurs, airplanes and my childhood. Lori's computers are on the fritz, so we will take them to Chula Vista and see if James can resurrect them.

Thursday, December 20: We packed the car in the morning, then visited Logan's school, Lori's friend's family , went shopping, and had lunch at home before we started the 500 mile drive to Chula Vista. We left at 1:30 PM and got to CV at 11:30 PM. We stopped in Paso Robles for a break and walk the dog (Annie), then in Santa Maria, and had dinner at a forgettable Chinese place in Santa Barbara. Then it was straight to Chula Vista, stopping for short breaks in Santa Monica and Long Beach. The boys watched videos most of the way, and slept after Long Beach. This was not a fun trip ... but necessary.

Friday, December 21: I came down with a cold overnight - fever, headache, cough, snuffy - so I started my Tylenol Cold regime augmented by Robitussin overnight and Hall's lozenges when needed. I don't remember much about this day except wrapping some gifts in the garage with Lori after the boys went to bed.

Saturday, December 22: Still sick, feel even worse. Stayed home. Watched TV with the boys and read a lot.

Sunday, December 23: Still sick, but getting better. The boys and I watched videos all morning, and went for a walk. Linda went to church. I watched football games and played with the boys in the afternoon - lots of chasing through the house, wrestling on the floor, race cars on the kitchen floor, etc. After the kids were down, Lori and I put Logan's trike together - she's good at mechanical things - I couldn't have done this by myself - no step-by-step directions, only pictures!

Monday, December 24: I'm feeling much better, but Linda has a stomach virus - can't keep anything down, so she's miserable in bed. Lori took the boys to Sea World for awhile. Tami, James and Lauren (age almost 3) arrived in the afternoon with Walter (a basset hound) and the kids had fun playing with each other. James looked at Lori's computers on the fritz, but couldn't fix them without more diagnostics. We watched most of the Chargers game - they won 23-3 - no stress! Lori cooked a pot roast for dinner - and it was timed for halftime. We had to house Tami and her family on short notice at a friend's house due to Linda's sickness, so I escorted them over there at Lauren's bedtime and they spent the night there. Lori and Lucas wrote the letter to Santa and set out cookies and milk. She got the boys to bed while I got the stuff into the back yard. Lori and I put up the Blow-up Jump House in the back yard ready to plug in on Christmas morning. Then we brought all of the gifts around the tree and in stockings. Lastly, Lori wrote the Santa letter back to Lucas and Logan, and we ate the cookies.

Tuesday, Christmas day: The boys were up by 7 AM, and Tami and her family came by 8 AM. We turned the tree on, got the stockings down and distributed and the kids tore through the gifts in a frenzy. Then we distributed the gifts from under the tree. In the mean time, Logan played his new drum, then discovered his tricycle and rode it around a little, while Lucas played with his new airplanes from the aircraft carrier box and put on his astronaut suit and helmet. Lauren was happy playing with her gifts - we gave her a scooter and helmet, Disney princess boombox and microphone, and lots of goodies. After the opening frenzy was over, we turned on the Jump House and the kids were surprised again, and ran out and jumped away for awhile.

I was exhausted and took a nap at 11 AM, then went into the Jump House with the kids after lunch. The moms tried to have the kids take naps - they had short ones. Tami and her family decided to go home early - they left at about 3 PM.

Linda and Lori started the turkey at 2 PM, and worked on the other dishes for a 6 PM feast. We had turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie and ice cream for dessert. Linda ate dinner but took it easy. The boys ate pretty well, but really scarfed the dessert. They went to bed fairly easily, having had an exciting day. The house looked like a tornado hit it - we tried to gather toys and gifts in boxes for each of them, and put the trash in bags. The cartons and boxes and plastic wrap were stacked for recycling. Whew. It was a long day.

Wednesday, December 26: No rest for the weary. Linda felt sick again and stayed in bed. I took down the jump house, packed it in the car, and packed everything else - the van was very full! We had lunch, then left at 12:30 PM hoping to get to Santa Cruz at a reasonable hour. The traffic through LA was OK, only one or two stop-and-goes, and we stopped in Thousand Oaks for a break. Lori bought some new videos at Target, while I walked the dog. Then we went to the Foster's Freeze for ice cream (the boys loved it) and gassed up for the next trip segment. Traffic through Santa Barbara was terrible - a 10 mile backup, and we got to Buellton at about 6:30 PM. We ate at a pancake house across from Pea Soup Andersens. We got the boys in PJs, then took off again, stopped in Paso Robles for gas and a break, and finally got to their house by 11:45 PM. It was 1 AM by the time everyone got to bed.

Thursday, December 27: Logan was up by 7 AM, so I got up and let Lori and Lucas sleep until about 9:30. We ate cereal and played in his room and watched Disney channel shows. After everyone was up, I unpacked the car (put all the toys into the garage) for Lori and put my bag in the car. We left for the airport at 11 AM, and they dropped me off at noon. The lines were long but I was at the gate by 12:45 for a 1:20 departure, but the plane wasn't. When I got to San Diego, I hitched a ride home with Linda's friend Barbara who came in from Sacramento about 30 minutes after I arrived. We had an early dinner (leftover turkey) , watched a bit of the Holiday Bowl, and talked about the week a bit before I adjourned to the computer room to retrieve two days of messages.

Looking back, most of my time and energy was spent with Lucas and Logan. I feel like I neglected Lauren when she was here, although we sat in my chair cuddling, played on the floor with blocks and puzzles, and bounced in the Jump House together. She played most of Monday afternoon with the boys, and all of Tuesday morning was devoted to opening gifts.

The boys require a lot of patience and attention - they are very "busy" - always playing, talking, testing and trying. They whine a lot, and often tussle with each other. In the mornings, I usually watched them for an hour or two while Disney Channel played - we have waffles and pancakes (Lucas eats them frozen, Logan eats them toasted with me), and cereal (Honeycomb and Rice Krispies with milk) until they got dressed and went out and played or went somewhere. At bedtime, I put Logan down several nights - we rock, lie down together and I sing to him - then I recite his genealogy and he passes out quickly!

The most fun is talking to the boys - listening to them talk and think out loud, asking them questions, and playing games with them. Lucas talks a lot about his feelings and about what is happening around him - he really enjoys life. He is very bossy - he tells people what to do and wants to lead his brother and any body else in what to play and do. Logan has some words and is directive too - he says the word for "yes" a lot. Their grandpa is just a big kid at heart, and they know it.

I'll put some pictures up when I have had time to upload them. We didn't take very many pictures this week because of the sickness and the hecticity of the days.

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