Christmas 2008...survived

holiday.jpg It’s been an exhausting run, but we survived the holiday week, and even got a good couple of days just to sit around and relax a bit.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Day was a busy one. The wife and I have started a tradition of having a nice breakfast and then exchanging gifts. This year it was a bit hurried because we had to fit in nursing, naps, and packing around the meal, unwrapping, and playing with new toys, all in time to get on the road by 1pm. No small feat. And we only missed our target by 45 minutes or so.

The Ackerman family Christmases have typically been quiet affairs, what with me being sans siblings. But this year was a little different. The addition of a 18 month-old and a 5 month-old makes what’s normally a low-key celebration a more zesty affair. My mom, smartly, decided to serve Papa Murphy’s pizzas for dinner, so as to minimize cooking and cleanup time and maximize time spent playing with grandkids before they head off to bed.

The early and tasty dinner was followed by a wild thrashing of wrapping paper and throwing around of a new set of foam blocks. And I’m sure that the full appreciation of the lovely little wooden cradle (just the right size for Thessaly’s new Elmo plushie) will come later, after the thrill of the season subsides and she can get into some more serious playtime. The youngsters made out very well, reaping the full rewards of being the only set of grandchildren on this side of the family.

Erin and I also were recipients of some lovely and generous gifts, and had a very fun Christmas Eve. We even stayed up until 11pm, well past our bedtimes, in order to play my parents’ in some rousing games of tennis and golf on their Wii.

Christmas Morning comes early…really…damn…early

Sleeping arrangements were a bit tight, and we had put Thessaly in the same room that we’d expected to be slumbering in. But as we retired, the commotion of opening doors and rustling bedsheets roused the usually heavy nighttime sleeper.

And she didn’t fall asleep again until nearly 4am.

And it wasn’t a quiet 4 or 5 hours of being awake either. It was an early morning neverending span of a full-throated, tears-and-snot-running-down-face, sweet-Jeebus-is-someone-killing-her style screaming.

After awhile, we adjourned to the basement to try to afford my parents some peace and maybe some sleep and, in between the little girl’s mucousy intakes of breath, tried to work out just what the hell was going on.

Earlier in the day, she had been noticed chewing on her thumb and starting to act teething-little-girl crabby, so we dosed her with some ibuprofen. But she had been well-behaved and happy until bedtime, and while she resisted going to bed initially, we assumed it was the new surroundings and/or the atypical amount of sugar that she’d ingested in the form of a few servings of fruit juice. No big deal. And she did eventually went to sleep.

I’m not surprised that it took us as long as it did to think of it, and it was Erin who got it right. But about 15 minutes after giving the girl the good stuff and after a few stories and a lot of rocking, she was out. Erin then came back upstairs, put the girl in the bed, got bed herself…

…and enjoyed a luxurious 2 hours of sleep before Torbin woke up and wanted to eat a little something.

The rest of the holiday was very nice

After a nice, but bleary-eyed, Christmas Morning breakfast, and a quick enjoyment of the fine and equally generous wares that Santa brought, we were back on the road, this time with the outskirts of small Western town of Henning as our destination.

It was nearly 1pm when we pulled into the driveway of the in-laws, and we joined a large party already in progress. Erin’s 4 brothers, their wives, and the host of 11 or 12 offspring fill a house like few families I’ve seen. There was plenty of food and conversation, and it was a good time.

Our youngsters were immediately swept up by their excited cousins and played with, freeing we oldsters to melt into soft couches and try to recover somewhat from the previous night. Good naps were had by all, and it was a nice time. And as families departed, the volume level continued to drop, and the relaxation increased. A relatively good night’s sleep was had by all, and the next day, quieter still, was a nice balance of conversation and lounging about.

My only source of tension was concern about our Friday night departure. It had been misting all day, and while temps were above freezing during the day, as night approached they started to sink. Fog warnings and icy roads were in our future. Another night spent there was an option, but I had only fed the cats enough for 2 days, I had a minor and breakable commitment on Saturday morning, and mostly I just wanted to go home and be home for awhile before starting the next week.

And the roads were icy and treacherous for the first hour and a half until we got to the freeway, but it was smooth sailing thereafter.

Home again

We pulled in at 11 or 11:30pm, tired but happy. The kids had slept well the entire ride home, and Erin put them into their beds while I half-unpacked the car. But, as is quickly becoming the norm, sleep was a long way off for us.

Thankfully, it was not due to barfing, as was the case after Thanksgiving. But there was a point where Erin and I were lying in bed getting serenaded by both children over the child monitors. More ibuprofen was administered to a little girl and a baby boy, who’s taken to flipping over, had to be flipped back. Eventually sleep was achieved, albeit punctuated by a feeding @ 5 or 6.

But no one is sick. Just tired. And maybe a little crabby from teething.

We survived Christmas 2008. Yay. Now, I’m going to go lie down.