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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas, etc.

The blind was a great idea, but Elle decided it was way too risky to chance being caught. What might happen? Would she scare Santa away? What if he took off without leaving presents? Instead, the three girls decided to sleep in one bedroom with the door securely shut. Their sense of fairness was sweet. If Sarabelle wandered from her room first, she would have had a sneak peek at whatever was under the tree. If the others were up first and went to fetch her, they would have had a first look at the loot. So sharing the one room leveled the playing field. Because we are now in a house with a split floor plan -- something foreign to us, we who kept the kids in the room with us until they were at least two years of age and who typically had one or more in our bed at some point during any given night -- the girls hatched a plan to awaken us so that we could prepare the music and tree lights before escorting them all from their room. Gracie signaled us around 9:00 AM, bless their hearts, with a sharp blast on her recorder. I shot out of bed so quickly I nearly decapitated myself on the ceiling fan.

There was much screaming and stomping around, in a good way; they were absolutely thrilled with their surprises. Santa dropped off a pair of lovely dresses from this place for Sarabelle; this really cool bike for Gracie (Remember these?!); and a new wagon with a big teddy bear friend for Elle to pull around. A game, and stocking knickknacks for each, plus a few books and a DVD from Mom and Dad, and that was it. Just enough.

Several gifts turned up even though the givers had at first been gently discouraged, and then clearly warned against giving. Our plan to donate inappropriate or unwanted gifts to charity was clearly stated up front. This did not dissuade the givers though, who feigned surprise and later outrage at our reaction. In the end we returned said items to the givers because they did not want their money wasted on charitable gifts. They will be recycled to some other, presumably, more grateful family member. Think they've learned their lesson? I wouldn't count on it.

There was no driving from coast to coast to coast this year. Imagine that! We managed to hang out all day at our house and relax and play with our kids. A goose was even cooked, somewhat successfully, and served on the new dining room set that was finally taken out of the boxes cluttering up our living room for weeks and assembled for such an auspicious occasion. Jorge had to have some work to do; it couldn't be all fun and games now, could it? Later in the evening we sat down to share O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the latest in our Netflix lineup, with Jorge. All in all, it was a wonderful day. I don't even think we had one single argument. Of course it probably helped that I kept reminding the kids that if they wanted to celebrate Christmas, they had better behave like Christians.

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