Tuesday, December 29, 2009


"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
EVERYTHING was stirring...except, perhaps, the mouse.
The stockings were laid in front of the tree with care,
Until Owen and Connor dragged them someplace over there.
The children were wired, not ready for bed,
Perhaps all the candycanes went to their heads."

Yes, Christmas Eve was full of activity in the Sawdon home.  Santa was being tracked on NORAD.  My sister-in-law and I were busy making candy for the party.  The kids were wearing their new pj's (the one present they get to open this night,) and the countdown until bedtime seemed to take forever.  The older two began the annual negotiations with their father regarding what time they were allowed up the next day.


"WHAT??!!!  Come on!  Six?"

"No.  Seven-thirty."

"Come on, we were allowed up earlier than that the year Marissa was SICK!"

Marissa turns to Jay, "now is the time we ask Mom to jump in."  They look at me.  I give Bruce "the look."

"Honey...what time did you get up on Christmas when you were a kid?"

"That doesn't matter!  We barely get any sleep as it is with the two babies!" 

My sister-in-law is giggling on the couch, gesturing to me that the time he woke up was WELL before 7:30.

"It shouldn't matter, then...we'll be up anyway."

"Fine. Six-thirty.  If the babies are up before then, we'll get you up."

Irelynn carefully picked out some cookies to leave out for Santa, and instructed me to make him some chocolate milk. 

"Everybody leave Santa reg'lar milk...but what he really likes is chocolate milk."

We sent the older two to bed, and turned to the toddler.  Oh boy.  This was going to take awhile. 

After responding to many questions, ranging from "will you keep Connor and Owen away from Santa's cookies and chocolate milk?" to "When does Santa get here?  Like, three o'clock?," we finally got her down.

The older children were up at 6:30am on the dot.  They actually had to wake up the toddler.  Connor was awake (for his normal 3rd feeding) but Owen was not ready. 

Now, I suppose you could say we spoiled our children this year (or Santa, rather.)  I mentally tallied up the number of items for each child, thinking perhaps I was a bit overzealous as I scanned the living room, piled with presents.  I counted about eight items each...which doesn't seem too bad.  However, I suppose when you have five children...times eight gifts...it makes for quite a pile.

The children began tearing into presents.  The boys (for Owen was now up, begrudgingly,) were sitting in their brand new blow-up Little Einsteins rocketship with balls...and trying to rip thier own gifts.  I looked around.  It looked like Toys 'R Us exploded in our living room.  Irelynn was excited about each and every gift she got...even the pajamas.  She had something to say about every one of them...until she got to the gift.  Over the course of the holiday season she claimed that she wanted just about everything for Christmas...from the talking dollhouse to the automatic toothpaste dispenser.  However, the two times she saw Santa (whom she is terrified of in person) she only asked for one thing:  the pink heart cash register (it was a Disney Princess one.)  I heard a small, quick intake of air.

"Is that what you asked Santa for?"

She just nodded and looked it over carefully, pushing each button.  I smiled.  These are the moments I absolutely love.  The first reaction they have when they realize that Santa came....and then, when they open the one special present...the thing they wanted the most.  It makes battling the holiday crowds, searching store to store and over the internet, watching as your account gets depleted and you have to get "creative" with dinners for a few days, stressing out because you also have to worry about everyone else on your list worth it to see their eyes light up like that.

There are two parts of Christmas I do not enjoy.  The cleaning up of all paper and packaging, picking up every little piece before it gets lost, and trying to find a home for the new additions.  Worse than that, though, is trying to get the toys out of their packaging.  Nothing like having an eager child bounce next to you as you first yank open a box, then peel off a couple layers of packaging tape, to reveal a maze of twisty ties, and finally realize that even after that...you still need a screw driver to unscrew the toy from the piece of plastic anchoring it in it's temprorary home.  There should never be a reason that a toy should be screwed into a piece that you are supposed to discard after removing.  Seriously.  By this time, the child has moved onto a different toy...or stolen one from a sibling.  I do see benefit to doing this before wrapping...it would make Christmas morning go much smoother.  However, I can barely find time to actually wrap a gift, let alone remove each item from it's original packaging.  Perhaps next year I could hire some elves cheaply through the "No Elf Left Behind" program...I'm sure there are some out-of-work elves in this economy looking for work...

Well, overall, I'd say it was a good holiday.  The kids got what they really wanted.  Our home was filled with family, food and music.  My husband splurged and bought me an iPod.  And Santa brought me good coffee.  What more could you want? 

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