A very busy and fun first quarter of our Christmas break is in the books. As is required of anyone who still runs a personal blog, here is a rundown of the past few days.

The girls were not released from their academic responsibilities until 1:00 Thursday. By comparison, the neighborhood kids all finished the previous Friday, so our girls felt like they got a late start. They do go back a week later than the neighbors, so it all evens out.

Friday evening we went out to dinner with our neighbors and then took all the kids to Christmas at the Zoo. It sounds like a lot of fun in theory, but in practice it was a bit of a letdown. Sure, there are pretty lights throughout the zoo along with other holiday decorations, but some of the animals have been removed for the winter. Others were simply locked up for the night. And even some of the animals that were still out for display had their lights turned down for the evening, so they were hard to see. Oh, and there was a steady if gentle rain the entire time we were there, which made the evening kind of sloppy. It needed to be about eight degrees colder so the rain drops turned to snowflakes, which would have been perfect for the evening.

Friday and Saturday daytimes were filled with the usual, last-minute racing around to get the house prepped for hosting folks. Multiple “final” trips to the grocery store were squeezed in between cleaning and straightening and organizing. Our first family gathering was Saturday evening for Christmas Eve. Lots of good food, the four youngest kids in the family all together for the first time, and a good kickoff to the official holiday.

Christmas Day. It’s funny how kids who have likely all figured out the Santa thing get upset when you insist they can’t wake the parents or go downstairs until at least 7:30 on Christmas morning. We had a couple arguments about this on Christmas Eve. By the time all the teeth were brushed, the fire was lit, and the obligatory pre-gift pictures were taken, the girls finally got at their presents around 8:00.

M got a Fujifilm Instax camera, a Vera Bradley cross-body clutch, a new volleyball, and a sweatshirt for her future high school. C got a Yogibo, new headphones, a neck pillow, and a Boogie board. L got a stunt drone, a teepee tent, and headphones. The family gifts were a couple games and a karaoke machine. In addition, they each got some fancy colored pencils and coloring books and other arty gifts from various aunts and uncles. They each seemed pretty pleased with their overall hauls.

After that, the two big family events of the day: brunch with the immediate family and then afternoon dessert when a handful of the extended family joined us. In all, we had guests for nearly 11 hours on Sunday. It was a long, tiring, but very good day.

Monday it was spring-like here in central Indiana.[1] L and I hit a park early so she could fly her drone on wide-open soccer fields. Later, we took the 18-month old cousin to a bigger park so all the kids could run and play. The afternoon and evening was apparently 1985 here in our house. S and I watched Fletch in the afternoon.[2] The girls all got an old movie in their stockings and we selected The Goonies for our evening flick. It was in L’s stocking and she was the only one who watched all the way through. She really liked it. Amazingly, I don’t know that I had ever seen it from start-to-finish.

Our agenda for the rest of the week involves doing some more cooking and probably a trip to a local, kid-friendly indoor attraction or two. Our Denver relatives arrive late tomorrow night, and our annual family game night will be at our house on Thursday night. And likely lots of lazing around.

So it’s been a good break so far. The girls have had their moments of annoyance, but for the most part been decently behaved. Same for the adults. The Christmas music has been stashed away for 11 months, but the tree is still lit, the decorations still out, and we still have six days of the most wonderful time of the year remaining.

I hope all of you had pleasant Christmases, too.

  1. Mid–60s and balmy. This morning the wind chills were back into the 20s.  ↩
  2. Her choice!  ↩