Friday, December 30, 2011

This is what Christmas looks like with a dozen people in the house

I can't wait! I can't wait! I can't wait!
Stockings first
Some time I'll have to tell the story of this plate
You know you're the Mom when you're picking up or helping untie bows in every single picture on Christmas morning
Christmas proved too much for Dr. Miner
Sammy's first Christmas!
Annie was happy to have her own Apple specialist to walk her through setting up her iTouch
At the last minute, Santa came through with a scooter for Miss Maren
Eddie got his Christmas wish-- an NBA season!
Maren helped us open Rose's presents too. This is now our proxy baby.
This is how you get fresh herbs all winter in Minnesota, Dad.
I'm bored by this whole Christmas thing
The 3DS has been surgically attached to his hand since Sunday

Silent Night, Holy Night

When Bryce and Annie were babies, we started the tradition of having a live nativity on Christmas Eve. In theory, it should be the epitome of everything I like about religious traditions-- it's familiar, we sing good songs, the story is simple but meaningful, and it's over quickly. We have a quick dinner of chili, cornbread and salad (a weird Christmas Eve dinner, I know, but tradition nonetheless), then open up our Pandora's Box of costumes. But as our kids have grown, the even has gotten less, ahem, reverent. This year the wise men presented Baby Jesus with gifts of Coke Zero, Mountain Dew, and a whoopee cushion.

"Atari is basically the oldest gaming system so it works as part of my costume"

Booted from her longstanding role as Baby Jesus, Maren attempts to look angelic

Joseph's ride to Bethlehem was pretty tiring

Wise guy #1



Inkeepers rehearse while Granddad tries to keep a yet-to-be-born Son of God quiet

Red-- it's my color
The inkeepers are now shepherds-- we multitask in this house

Holy Family

Baby Jesus has two Mommies too
The good news is that it's over in about five minutes, which gives us a chance to redeem the Spirit of Christmas. It may not be as quiet and reverent as it once was, but I don't see us giving up the tradition any time soon. We soon sat down near the Christmas tree for the other big tradition of the night-- the Christmas book and jammies. Every Christmas, the kids all get new jammies and we get a Christmas book for the family. This one has a long story including my parents' one copy of a rare Scandinavian book that had one US printing, a sister who is a thief, a search of used book stores over the course of several years, an impulse purchase from eBay, a slow shipment from media mail that made the book arrive after Christmas in 2010, and two sisters spending most of Christmas Eve dividing up their hale and hearty mother's earthly possessions to ward off future thievery on the part of the aforementioned younger sister. That's why I look so happy in the pictures. I made her read my kids every page of the dang book as penance (also, I had laryngitis).

We drugged all the kids and sent them to bed, then got down to the real work of the night-- setting out the presents:

That was way, way too many pictures, but I have a new camera. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Cinq, cinco, wu, funf, FIVE

The great thing about having a birthday two days before Christmas is that Maren often has family here to help her celebrate. On her "real" birthday, we went to the Nutcracker and then had afternoon tea at Grand America, which was both lovely and fancy, but unfortunately, we left the camera at home. Here are some of the highlights of the princess party, where Mimi played paparazzi while Annie was the cruise director and Mom was crafts coordinator. I think all of the princesses felt that they had the royal treatment.

Grannie made the princess dress

Mimi made the cake-- the princess cake is a tradition!
Barbie as Mother Ginger-- her skirt was an angel food cake and a bundt cake!

Coloring princesses

The girls on a scavenger hunt (with their clue-reader)

Making crowns

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

Playing "Princess Says"

The whole gang (minus the ones who had wandered up to my closet and were trying to get into the Christmas presents)

Princess, princess, queen
"Happy Birthday, Dear Maren"


Behold-- my presents-- aren't they lovely?

Hey-- I thought this one was discontinued!

Just what I always wanted!