We came, we saw, and - like Milton's squirrels - we were merry.
(Did you get the "Office Space" reference? Did you know that there was actually a spirited debate within our family as to whether the Stephen Root character describes the squirrels that he used to be able to see out of his office window - when he actually HAD an office window - as "merry" or "married"? For the record, they were merry. Which probably means that they weren't married. Heh, heh, heh.)
Evening of the 23rd: Festive holiday celebration at Friend Melissa's. You have to appreciate a hostess who:
Puts out a separate buffet spread for the kids (not pictured, but totally cute).
Sets up a Christmas photo booth.
Hangs a Christmas pinata in the garage. And then, an hour or so later when kid attitudes were starting to flag, hangs another one.
Also not pictured: my spouse encouraging the adults to roundhouse kick the pinata, Chuck Norris-style, after the kids were initially unsuccessful in taking down pinata #1. Yes, at least one mom (wearing spike-heeled boots, no less) took him up on the offer. By the time pinata #2 appeared, Spouse and I were enjoying a lovely champagne and cassis beverage with friends and were utterly unmotivated to poke at a pinata, because that would have involved getting up and separating ourselves physically from the lovely champagne cassis beverage.
Evening of the 24th: Dinner and presents at the in-laws. Lots of fun now that there is an adult niece and a soon-to-be-sister-in-law in the mix, in addition to sister-in-law #1. Throwing in my mom-in-law, the adult guy-to-girl ratio was 1 to 1. This is unprecedented in the history of the McGlinchey family. Have I ever mentioned in this blog the fact that there hasn't been a female born to the McGlinchey line since 1889? This is my answer when people ask why we stopped at two children: because I only wanted two boys, not three. I would not be surprised if you told me that these people did not actually possess X chromosomes. Somehow, they have been getting by, for more than a century, on just the Y.
This would explain why I occasionally feel like the house mother in a frat house.
Okay, not occasionally. All of the time.
Nephew Brandon and wife Courtney scored major points with our boys by presenting them with the Nerf functional equivalent of a machine gun. Times two. It was immediately suggested that we label the guns in Sharpie marker so that when someone (ahem - PJ) broke his we would know which one was broken. Spouse printed PJ's name unobtrusively on the underside of the gun. Then I jokingly asked PJ if he wanted me to monogram the gun in Sharpie marker. Spouse was appalled when PJ said yes, because this is proof that the monogramming thing is so ingrained in them that they actually think it is appropriate to have a monogrammed gun.
I thought it was hilarious. And I gave PJ the monogram that he requested: "The three letter kind, Mom, with the last initial big in the middle."
Morning of the 25th: Major explosion of LEGOs in the living room. I am still stepping on shrapnel.
Santa brought PJ a ginormous LEGO Hoth Ice Base set, a Commander Cody Transformer (the #1 item on his list - actually, it was the only item) and a bunch of Imaginext Batman villains complete with lair. We now have an entire Imaginext Batman village going on - low-rise Bat Cave, high-rise Bat Cave, Planet OA and Joker's Fun House. The little dog is overjoyed, because this means increased opportunities to decapitate action figures.
Fisher-Price really needs to market a "Superhero Triage Hospital" and sell replacement heads and feet. Just sayin'.
Santa brought C:
The even more ginormous LEGO Ewok Village set, which he constructed in a nanosecond before moving on to appropriate the Ice Base from PJ;
A Spy Net video watch, which is a source of much continued amusement - to his parents (see below); and
The Hoodie Buddie that the elves had to work overtime to secure.
In the pockets of the Hoodie Buddie: an iTunes gift card and a Target gift card. Because the elves remembered on the 24th that the charger to C's iPod is missing. Given that it would be kind of cruel to give a tween a Hoodie Buddie that he could not enjoy because his iPod was nonfunctional, the elves set out on Christmas Eve morning to secure an iPod charger, only to be told by the Apple Store geniuses (genii? Whichever term is appropriate, I use it loosely) that said charger never existed. At that point, the elf in question decided that he would be damned if he would give the Apple Store his business and set out to procure a new iPod, except that the desired model was no longer in stock at the North Pole. So C got a Target gift card, and his mom's iPod as a loaner.
Santa also threw lots of cool boy-appropriate stocking stuffers the boys' way, including Batman and Star Wars comic books, a folding six-foot carpenters' ruler for C, and erasers shaped like mustaches. I think that the stocking stuffers got a better reaction than the other stuff, which is amusing to me, because I was always a stocking stuffer girl. Guess it's genetic.
PJ received an Uglydog keychain in his stocking, to add to his Uglydoll keychain collection. (I think that we are up to six or seven. None of them actually have keys on them, but he likes to attach them to his belt loops and wear them out in public. He can get away with this, because he's seven.)
C got a Star Wars keychain that plays sound clips of Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2D2 and an Ewok. And this is where things got amusing: at some point late on Christmas Day, C discovered that the video watch, in addition to shooting video and taking time-lapse photos, can be used to record sound clips and turn them into alarms. So he held up the keychain to the watch and recorded various noises. Then he came in all excited, with brother in tow, exclaiming that he had figured out how to record things by holding a recording device up to them. It was apparent from his demeanor that he considered this to be a significant innovation in technology.
Holding back our laughter - well, a little bit - we explained that THIS IS HOW PEOPLE RECORDED THINGS BACK IN OUR LITTLE KID AND TWEEN DAYS. YOU TURNED ON A RADIO, YOU HELD A CRAPPY TAPE RECORDER UP TO IT AND YOU MADE A CASSETTE TAPE. And if someone walked in during the middle of your recording session and said something, then their voice - or the sound of your dog barking, or the sound that the tape recorder made when you fumbled and dropped it - would be recorded for posterity. Not an innovation - a REGRESSION, and proof that all things are circular.
Afternoon of the 25th: Roast beast and wild rice casserole at my parents. A generous helping of wild rice, plus two loaves of fresh-baked bread and two bags of homemade candy, went home with us, to join the Kentucky Derby pie that my mom-in-law sent home. You never totally grow up, do you? Further proof that you don't grow up: as is the case every year, I got stocking stuffers, too. Grown-up ones - no mustache erasers, but I did get an eyebrow pencil. In excess of 40 years old, and still getting makeup from Mom for Christmas. Gotta love it.
Mom also procured several items off of my Pinterest wish list for the house - cabinet and pantry organizers, glass canister jars, and THIS bad boy:
Ladies and gents, I present to you the Kik-Step rolling step stool in the copper finish. Guaranteed to immediately add 18 inches to your height.
The Kik-Step was actually presented as a gift to Spouse - on the theory that when we move back into the "not-new-but-definitely-improved" house, with its 42-inch to-the-ceiling upper kitchen cabinets, I will be able to retrieve things on my own, without disturbing Spouse with annoying requests while he is attempting to watch a ball game.
Both mothers offered to store various Christmas gifts for us until we move back in, which was incredibly thoughtful - but I insisted on taking the Kik-Step back to the apartment. Currently it is in the master bedroom closet. And I can report that it is totally awesome.
PJ walked by it and asked: "Why did you steal a step stool from the library?"
Because it is totally awesome. And, also, because I am short. Duh.
Hope that everyone out there in the blogosphere scored the number one item on their Santa list as well . . . .