I hope everyone had a good Christmas! It was, of course, Benjamin's first, so I thought I would try to record what went on a bit.
A week before Christmas we went to Bentleyville, a large display of lights here in Duluth. Benjamin loved it! Despite the cold, he was pointing and fascinated by everything! (as expected really).
Christmas eve my family came to our house. We carried on the tradition that started when my siblings and I were children, that everyone gets to eat what they want. When we were little it was very special because we did not get to choose "whats for dinner" very often, and we rarely agreed. I believe it started as a tradition because my parents wanted "adult" food, like Shrimp or something, and decided to give us Pizza Rolls. Then one of us probably said "But I would rather have XYZ" and so it began. Of course, now we are all adults, and we eat what we want all the time. Despite this, it still feels special. It feels special to pile into a kitchen and all cook different things together. My mom always has shrimp. My dad always has Reuben. The rest of us have varied our choices over the years, but recently I usually have Reuben's with my dad. This year, my brother has mac&cheese, and cocktail weenies. My SIL had Thai Taquitas. My little sister made a stromboli in advance, and DH picked up some Chinese food. We all crowded into my kitchen and the merrymaking began. It was a really fun night! Benjamin of course ate everything. He liked my brothers mac&cheese a lot. After dinner we sat around and talked awhile and people started taking their leave. Then I read Benjamin The Night Before Christmas. I was unsure he would sit for the whole thing! I mean, sometimes he will sit through a whole book, but its one of his choosing. The edition we read was Jan Brett (a really cool illustrator). My older sister got it for Benjamin as a gift. It was perfect! While he squirmed once or twice, he actually sat through the whole thing and looked at the detailed illustrations! (Pointing at cats and teddy bears and other things he now likes to point at in books).
Christmas morning, DS actually did let us sleep in a bit, he got up around 7:30. Unfortunately DH woke up sick with the same stomach bug that kept me in bed on Friday. We all went downstairs to find out what Santa brought. The Christmas tree is in the kitchen, so I dragged a bunch of snugly blankets down to all sit on/in. DS was adorable! As soon as we came in the room he saw his stocking on the floor and went over to it and pointed "daaaa?". So cute! We sat and helped Benjamin unwrap some books, puzzles, and a sleepy time sea horse. In his stocking he got Crayon's and paper. He is fascinated by things that make marks, like Crayons and pens etc, but you have to watch him carefully because he tries to eat them eventually. We also wrapped some great presents from my ILs, who got us all things we very much need and want! Including snow pants for Benjamin, we want to take him ice skating soon! Unfortunately it was clear that DH was getting more ill every minute, so he watched Benjamin while I loaded up the car (quite full), and then we parted ways. Poor DH had to stay home along sick on Christmas while Benjamin and I went to my parents :(
I arrived at my parents around 9am. I thought I would be the first one there, with Benjamin getting us up early. It was quite the opposite! I arrived there last, very shortly after my little sister. My little sister had brought a miniature Dachshund she was petsitting. It was zipping around the house when we got there and set Ben down. He was totally enthralled by it. He has never been around such a small dog before and he thought it was very interesting. Shortly after we arrived breakfast was ready - the traditional sausages my Dad made (w my Grandfather's recipe). After that, to the presents!! Benjamin was not entirely into opening gifts, but he was willing to participate. With some persuasion we could get him to grab and rip the paper. If one or two rips revealed part of the present he would be interested, but if there was a box or the first couple rips were not big, then he would lose interest. He also enjoyed climbing ON to the bigger boxes. We unwrapped for awhile, but then he was getting tired, and my Mom wanted to make lunch, so we stopped and I put him down for a nap. While he slept, we pulled out a Jig Saw Puzzle and worked on it.
Lunch was homemade Au Gratin soup. It was hilarious feeding it to Ben! He wanted to eat it with his hands, but it was too thin to grab. That did not stop him from trying! I am not sure what percentage of the soup got into his mouth and what ended up elsewhere, but it was fun and he did get enough to eat between the soup, cheese, and bread. After lunch was divided and conquered - naps, prepping for Christmas dinner, and a few people off to a Christmas open house of a friend. I mostly hung out and watched/played with Benjamin. I also squeezed in a little reading. When everyone was back/awake again, we finished opening presents. The highlight of the gifts for Benjamin was a handmade rocking horse from my BIL. It is really cool! Benjamin cannot ride it yet, but it will be in the family a long time! After that, more downtime, a second (but too short) nap for DS, more reading and playing.
Christmas dinner! Oh yum! We had all sorts of goodies. My favorite though, and what I really just want a big heap of, is the Sauerbraten, Mashed Potatoes, and Sour Cream Gravy!! Benjamin loved the mint carrots and the cranberries (and of course, the olives! That boy lives for olives).
After dinner the party began to wind down. I packed up as Benjamin got some last minute playtime in, and headed home about an hour after his normal bedtime (so we left at 8pm). I brought the sleeping Benjamin home to a husband who was feeling a lot better, though not 100 percent.
On the day after Christmas, DH and I took the day off. We still got up when Benjamin did (6:45am) and took him to daycare. Then, we just spent the day together. In the morning we hung out. In the afternoon we went to see a movie - Les Miserables - that DH was very excited to see. It was really good, and despite my general dislike of Anne Hathaway, I have to say she did an amazing job with her part (as did all the actors). After the movie we ran some errands, finally got a Christmas ornament (a tradition we had failed up to that point), and got Benjamin a dump truck ornament. Rumor has it that he is getting a Dump Truck from Santa for his Birthday.... Santa just wanted it to be perfect so it ended up a little late....