Monday, January 7, 2008

Not "Just like the ones we used to know"

We had a different Christmas this year. Every year we alternate which family we will spend Christmas with--mine or Shaun's. This year was to be with my family, but that has presented a problem as of late. We are increasingly scattered (primarily geographically but arguably in other ways as well) and there is no longer a standard family Christmas celebration to attend.

We decided to head to Southern California for the first time in a year and a half. The Christmas players would include: my sister, who dwells in a small and charming apartment in Koreatown in LA, my grandfather, whose 50's era tract home in Garden Grove provides ample grounds for having him committed, my mom, who flew in from Bend, Shaun's aunt Nancy, who lives in her parents' house in La Habra Heights which has not yet been de-pack-ratted, and Shaun's Grandma Martin, who lives in a small apartment in a swanky place for the elderly in Fullerton.

If you've followed all that, you will perhaps have noticed that we were left without a suitable place to have a Christmas gathering (mainly Christmas dinner!) with all of those folks. Shaun's sister, who was celebrating with her husband's family, came nobly to our rescue and not only let us use her home (where we stayed for the week) but even prepared a Christmas morning meal for all of us ahead of time. Very, very kind.

My family spent Christmas Eve at Hillary's house, where we enjoyed a very memorable meal. Nels ate prosciutto and asked for a second serving of pate. I had duck confit for the first time. In case you're wondering, it was like the bird version of bacon. The homemade butterscotch pudding was really really really good. And pudding is not something I normally get excited about.

On Christmas Day the boys got way too many presents and we enjoyed time with Kim and Cory and Henry before they left to be with Cory's side of their family.

We ate too much, with a full breakfast followed by a dinner of prime rib roast, potatoes au gratin, and all sorts of other wonderful things. We were so full that we didn't even bother with the butternut squash soup. Hillary once again had done all the shopping and cooking. Quite a production.

The rest of our week was relaxing. We had a nice day at the Huntington with "Antsy Ancy" and Grandma Martin, and one friend visit with Steve and Danica. We are now trying to snap out of the "let's move back to California" mood that gripped us as we enjoyed the balmy climate and the great company.

The boys were introduced to and fell in love with the Grinch this Christmas. Willem is making his best Grinch face here.

Ah, sunny, sunny day at the Huntington Gardens.

How could this display not be a hit? It featured a seed pod that spun like a propeller and a fan operated by a TRIGGER!

Nels, Nels and Willem waiting for our flight home. Yes, this family traveling from Ontario (they live in SoCal) to Boise on our flight also had a four year-old son named Nels after his grandfather.

The art of appeasement: give the two year-old ALL the toys you brought. And all the snacks. All at once.

And now, here we are back in cold and snowy Boise, housebound thanks to the severe cold/flu-type thing the boys have been thoughtfully passing back and forth. Willem is developing a new dinosaur scream. Nels figured out that I find it annoying when he repeats my own words back to me. I have let the boys watch too many videos while they've been sick, and we've spent most of the day dealing with some very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. I have finally relented for the sake of my stress level, and they are watching a Bible Songs video as I write this. I am hoping that the biblical content will calm them. Or maybe it will calm ME. Right now a choir of children is exhorting me that "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam." My attitude today has not been sunbeam-esque. But then again, a sunbeam is of no use in preventing one child from strangling another with a measuring tape. So we'll have to see about this sunbeam thing.


Kim said...

VERY well put as usual, Gypsy. Thanks for the laughs. We thoroughly enjoyed your visit and Henry is sure missing his cousins. Just like last time, Henry waited a week to tell us what he learned from Willem: "That's mine!" =)

Hillary said...

Yes, yes, move to SoCal! Or Paris? I was so happy to wake up this morning (no work until 11) and find a nice meaty blog entry from you. I had to prepare my tea first so I could properly enjoy it. And I did.

Danica said...

I second that call to know you want to :). We had such fun visiting with you and the boys. Steve wants kids more than ever now! (I bet you didn't think that would be the result eh?)

eric O said...

Bummer! Why couldn't we have been home for the '07's Christmas, instead of '08's? But if you guys follow up on all those "move back to California" offers ...

Trader Joel said...

Sounds like a busy time-we know all about it. We're going back next month...nothing like a trip to SoCal to break up a Minnesota winter. Great entry Gypsy.