all that’s merry and bright

I was pretty terrible with my camera this year for the holidays…especially considering it was Charlie’s first Christmas. But I think I have enough to give a pretty good glimpse into what our celebrations looked like…

Christmas actually started the week before for us.  Each year we pick a day to get together with Cort’s siblings and his stepmom. This year it was the week before Christmas.  Grandma Lynne spoiled her five grandbabies with gifts, we all ate too much of her yummy reuben dip, and we all gave her a bracelet with each of the grandbabies’ birthstones.

Christmas Eve EVE brought our friends from afar to our house for some cocktails and great company.  Cort’s best friend lives in Denver, and one of my best friends lives in Urbana, Illinois, but both were in town for the holidays.  My BFF who lives in Chicago was too sick to join us, which made me sad though.

Before we knew it, it was Christmas Eve.

This was the first year Eddie actually “got it” and could look forward to all the things that Christmas means.  And of course, it was Charlie’s first Christmas all together.

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Because Cort was gifted the day off on Christmas Eve, we spent a good part of the day snuggling and lounging around…until nap was over.  Then it was time to gather up all the yummy treats we made and pack the truck full of gifts and head to Cort’s mom and stepdad’s house for our traditional Christmas Eve party.

beer and a baby niece.

beer and a baby niece.

Grandpa Ray read the Christmas story and we were ready to dig in to the presents.  Since Eddie is the oldest of the five grandkids, he got to help Granny play Santa. Everyone got wonderful gifts, but most importantly we had so much fun being together.  There is something new about Christmas now that we all have children…something wondrous and magical.

The grandbabies: Kingston (his profile) (20 months), Eddie (3.5 years), Charlie (9.5 months) Kyrie (20 months), Lilly (under a month)

The grandbabies: Kingston (his profile) (20 months), Eddie (3.5 years), Charlie (9.5 months) Kyrie (20 months), Lilly (under a month)…hey, it’s not easy getting a pic with 5 under 4!

After all the fun of Granny’s we got home and got everything set up for Santa.  Eddie was very particular about the cookies he chose and it was his idea to leave a Coke instead of milk (thank goodness).  He also dictated what I should write on the note.

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After Eddie was in bed and we were sure he was sleeping, Santa came.  And yes, he left Eddie some chocolate milk (and a bowl of dry Fruit Loops).

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This year was the first year Eddie wasn’t in a crib on Christmas morning, so after we went to bed, neither Cortney or I slept well…at all.  Both of us kept waking up checking the clock just waiting for Eddie to bound in.  What would his reaction be?  Would he come get us right away?  He’d been SO good about not going in our room…aka The Santa Room…for the past month.  I was pretty sure he wouldn’t rip into anything without us, but would he barge in our room or would he be cautious?

Around 5am, Cort got up to use the bathroom after waking up a million times in the night.  He turned the Christmas tree lights on for effect.  Then, around 7:30ish, little feet padded into our room.  “Dad? Dad?  Mom? Santa came!” an excited Eddie softly proclaimed.

And just like that…we were up.

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stupid crappy camera and the fuzzy pictures.

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new slippers.

new slippers.

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this one had more fun with the mess than with the gifts…as expected.

Expert gift opener.

Expert gift opener.

Eddie got absolutely ecstatic about every single gift…it could have been a shirt or a race track…didn’t matter. He LOVED it all!  And he was SO grateful! After everything we heard,  “OH THANK YOU!!!”

It made me smile so hard.

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Cort and I didn’t have much to spend this year on each other, but I think I picked a winning gift in the new Pearl Jam tshirt I bought him.

We had a Christmas party with my dad’s side of the family in the afternoon meaning the boys didn’t go down for nap until after 3pm…and so did I.  Cort got us all up after 5pm.  Eddie thought it was morning and asked if he was going to daycare and if he could have breakfast.

This was the beginning of a slippery slope of lack of schedule for the week.  Have I ever mentioned that Eddie starts to slowly lose his mind when his schedule is disrupted?  Like mother, like son, I suppose.

Oh, and Charlie got a molar.  At 9 months.  And as usual, this molar caused horrible poops and butt rash. The worst butt rash I have ever seen complete with bleeding butt.  His little biscuits looked like he had sat on a tanning bed for three days.  So he was miserable all day on Friday.

By the time Cort got home from work and was ready to whisk us to my parents’ house for the last Christmas party of the year, we were all a hot mess.

But I popped an anxiety pill, Charlie got his butt smeared with $45 Rx butt cream, Eddie got a talking to by his daddy, and we jumped in the truck with gifts and goodies and headed out.

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More awesome Tshirts for Cort.

this was probably a shirt. and he probably squealed...because he is awesome.

this was probably a shirt. and he probably squealed…because he is awesome.

oh look! I AM in a picture! With a very clingy, butt hurt Bird. Poor baby!

oh look! I AM in a picture! With a very clingy, butt hurt Bird. Poor baby!

So this is Christmas...

So this is Christmas…

Usually I get a family picture by my parents’ Christmas tree.  But this year it just wasn’t happening.  By the time gifts were done, the boys were on the verge of sleep and/or meltdown because it was a good two hours past their bedtime.  So no family Christmas picture this year to end the post.

Instead, I have pictures of the “aftermath”…

We were definitely spoiled, though.

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Today we packed it up and put it away in an attempt to take back the house.  Eddie helped take down each ornament and put it in the correct box.  He helped me pack up my new nativity scene and put away the Advent calendar.

And in the end, it was put away.

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We are ready and watching for 2013 and all the new adventures we will have.

The Year of the Frisky Santa and Freckled Lemonade

We don’t have a very good history with visiting Santa.

Eddie’s first try he was awesome…until he realized whose lap he was on.

The second time around was by far the most disastrous, but also quite classic. I blame Marvin.

Last year Eddie talked a big game, but when it was show time? He blanked.

This year he knew what Santa was about.  This year we had practiced what he was going to ask Santa for and how polite he would be to prove his “goodness” when the Big Guy asked about it.

However, leading up to the event if you asked Eddie if he was excited to see Santa, he would say, “No. I don’t yike his bee-yud” (that’s “beard” in 3.5 year old speak).

He did not sway from this.

As we stood in line he hung back a bit giving Santa the stink eye.

“What’s the matter, bud? Look how nice he is!”

“I don’t yike his bee-yud, mom.”

“You don’t have to touch his beard, hun.”

“Ok. Cha-yee will go with me?”

“yup. And I will too.”

“Ok.”

Boy. I did NOT know what I was getting myself into agreeing to that.

When it was our turn, Santa gladly took a reluctant Eddie on his knee as I sat next to Santa with Charlie.

Please excuse the I-Worked-All-Day-With-Teenagers look I have going on.

Please excuse the I-Worked-All-Day-With-Teenagers look I have going on.

Moments later, Santa insists that I get on his knee too.  I offer to just give him Charlie, but he insists.  I look at Cort…who is just laughing poised ready to snap the picture when I climb up on that pony.

No, there was no organization to this.  We Sluiters enjoy flying by the seats of our pants...as long as those pants seats end up on Santa's lap. Wait. what?

No, there was no organization to this. We Sluiters enjoy flying by the seats of our pants…as long as those pants seats end up on Santa’s lap. Wait. what?

Oh…and the conversation between Santa and Eddie was absolutely too riveting not to share:

Santa: What is your name?

Eddie: Eddie

S: How old are you, Eddie?

E: Three.

S: Have you been good this year, Eddie?

E: I don’t know. Yeah.

S: Well what would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas this year?

E: I don’t know.

S: what is your favorite toy right now?

E: I don’t know.

S: What do you think your baby brother would like?

E: I don’t know.

S: How about your mom and dad?

E: I don’t know.

S: Well you are all in luck!  We made extra “I don’t knows” this year!!! Lots to go around!

It would have gone on like this forever had I not excused myself from Santa’s lap and told Eddie to tell Santa thank you.  Then Santa sent Eddie on his way with four mini-candy canes. One for each of us (so really four for Eddie).

All of a sudden Santa was Eddie’s fricking BFF.  He wanted to go back and “do it again.”

But we persevered and headed to our annual post-Santa meal at Red Robin.

(Sidenote: when I say “annual” I mean we did it last year so we figured we would do it again this year, hence it is now annual.)

When we pulled into the parking lot, Eddie said, “We get to go IN?”

Apparently we don’t get out much.

Also? Both Cort and I obsessed over what we would order ALL DAY.

Yeah, no. We don’t get out much AT ALL.

mmm. freckled lemonade for the win!

mmm. freckled lemonade for the win!

Eddie ordered his own meal, ate the whole thing, peed on the potty, and used his manners.

And said, “Thank you mom. Thank you so much dad. I YUV dis place!”

We may not get out much, but least when we do? We make it count.

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