Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Markos' First Christmas Morning

Markos was so excited when we put him to bed, that we thought sure he would be the child who awoke at 4:30 AM, ready to open gifts (after all, that wouldn't be too different from any normal morning for him!).  Surprisingly, Grammy was awake first and was watching Markos when he started to stir at 5:50.  She said he opened his eyes, leaned up to look down where the other 2 littles were sleeping, saw that they were still asleep, and laid his head back down for a while.  A few minutes later, he did the same thing.  Again and again, until he actually fell back to sleep.  (A Christmas miracle?!  Maybe!)  ;-)

The kids didn't really wake up and get out of bed until close to 8:30 - yay!  Then, they waited obediently upstairs until everyone was awake, gathered together upstairs, and ready to go open gifts.  The adults, armed with cameras and video cameras went down first, with kids crowding at the doorway ready to come down.

When they were finally given the go-ahead, Markos led the pack down the stairs.  (I know the pile looks ridiculous - and it is - but remember, it's for all three of our families plus Grammy & Pappy's gifts for all of us, so that makes it a little less appalling - right?!) 

The kids ooh'd and aah'd while the cameras clicked away.  I think Markos might have been a tad overwhelmed, but he was smiling and excited, too.

I love how happy and excited the kids are at Christmas.  I love giving gifts.  Truth be told, I'm not a big gift person, myself, as far as receiving them goes, but I do love how excited the kids get at Christmas to give the gifts that they have made for us, or that they purchased in their Santa shop at school, or whatever.  It's just neat to see them also filled with joy at being able to give!

Markos' preschool had a Santa shop and we gave him money to buy Mackenzie, Daniel, Eric and I something.  He was beyond excited about it when he came home that day.  He completely blew all the surprises and told me everything he bought before we left the parking lot of his school.  But, it was fun to get to see him give the gifts that he thoughtfully chose for everyone.  He also made some cute things at preschool, which his teachers helped him wrap, and they actually remained a surprise.  He was very excited to give me this plate that they made because I have plates in my dining room with Mackenzie's hand print from when she was a baby, and Daniel's foot print from when he was a baby, but I hadn't yet made one for Markos.  Now, I don't need to make one.

He bought Eric a measuring tape and an ice scraper for the car that has an attached mitt to keep your hand warm.  One day before Christmas, he picked up the one that we had in the car and said to me, "You won't need this one anymore after Christmas."  So funny.   

From the Santa shop, he bought me a snow globe and a coffee mug that says "The Time is Right to Make New Friends".  He also keeps telling me how I can drink coffee from it.  Funny thing is, I don't drink coffee.  I'm wondering if he thinks I don't because I don't have a mug.

For Mackenzie, he chose fuzzy socks that have little stuffed animal faces attached to the side of them.  And, for Daniel (who is apparently his favorite!), he got 2 bags of toys, pencils, erasers, little notebooks, and other stuff boys like.

Daniel didn't get to go and shop for us but he decided that he really wanted to make gifts for people.  Being the creative little thing that he is, the gifts were...shall we say entertaining?!  Oh my.  That boy.  We laughed (and are still laughing) about his gifts.  For Eric, he made a little card with a nickel and two pennies taped inside.  It read:
"I love you....and money."

He made Darren a toilet paper tube with a face on it and a card that said something about "not being a veggie weirdo".  We still have no idea what that is, but Uncle D has now taken to signing his emails to Daniel, "Love, Veggie Weirdo".

Meanwhile, for the second year in a row, Gracie gave the special gifts she made in school to me and to Grammy.  I love the picture/poster she drew and gave me.  It reads, "Add color to your life.  Stand out in a crowd."  I was chuckling a little thinking that it could have also read, "Add color to your family.  Stand out in a crowd", as all trans-racial adoption families already know.  

Of course, in addition to the homemade and kid-purchased gifts, there were the Santa gifts and the parent gifts and the grandparent gifts.  All too numerous to detail, but cameras were a big hit this year.  The boys both got scooters.  I think all the kids got a Wii game or a DS game of some sort.  Abby got an i-Pod.  Grammy got a sewing machine.  Pappy got lots of his favorite sports team apparel.  I got a Kindle (and have already finished the first book of The Hunger Games series and am half-way through the second).  Eric got a computer game that he's been wanting (Dear Mom and Dad, Thanks a LOT! Love, your neglected, ignored daughter and wife of the computer game addict!).  Daniel got a new hockey bag and two remote controlled helicopters.  Mackenzie got new Uggs and a new North Face jacket.  (Yep, that's about all she got, too.  Not sure I like these teenage requests of 2 items that cost a lot - although it did make the shopping easier to accomplish quickly!)  Markos got some electric drums, a talking Tow Mater, and a few games.

Markos with his new camera

Gracie got a camera, too!

Kenzie also got a new camera!

Abby got an i-Pod

Scooters for the boys

Grammy's apparently going to start sewing again

Daniel with his new hockey bag (with wheels - yay!)
Markos taking a little break to play with his Tow Mater

Pappy's funny new t-shirt

More Cars toys!
It was a fun morning.  The kids were awesome.  They were all very happy and content with all that they received.  They were patient and watched one another open gifts, getting excited and happy for the others while they waited their turn.  Markos even did amazingly well - especially when everyone was getting different things and he wasn't getting exactly what Daniel was getting. (We were worried about that!)  

After the gifts were all opened and the wrapping paper and boxes were cleaned up a little, the kids finally got to play with their new toys while the adults rested a little before getting ready for the next round of company, family, presents and food!

Playing with Kenzie

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Eve 2011 - Let the Festivities Begin!

On December 23rd, we arrived at my parents' house in time to visit for a few minutes, get air beds inflated, unload the van and get the kids to bed.   In addition to presents and clothes, the boys in my family also decided to take a respiratory virus along to share with the rest of the family.  (You're welcome.)  ;-)  It didn't appear to slow Daniel and Markos down much (notice I did not mention Eric). 

Due to Daniel's hockey tournament schedule, our visit was shorter this year than usual, so our days were pretty packed.  On Christmas Eve morning, my friends, Suzanne and Catherine, and Catherine's daughter came out to visit.  Lily loved the attention.  Markos received his first Christmas presents.

Markos and Daniel opening their gift from Suzanne

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like toys with which to shoot each other

When they left, the kids played while the adults women started making food and preparing for the annual family Christmas Eve party. 

Eric 'dying' on the couch

Lily would pretty much snuggle up with anyone who would let her

Once the kids were dressed in their nice clothes, we forced them to endure countless photos in front of the tree.  I think we *might* have gotten a handful of cute ones.

Markos thought these antlers were THE funniest, coolest things EVER

After the Grandmas both arrived, Mackenzie and Abby played some carols on the piano for MaMaw. 

Mackenzie & Abby providing musical entertainment for the evening
We ate (too much), laughed, visited.  The kids opened gifts from the Grandmas and their aunts & uncles.  The adults did their traditional "Wrap the Crap" exchange.  The kids played "Minute to Win It" games with M&Ms.

Just to prove that I was, indeed, present

Waiting for presents from Aunt Barb & Uncle Rick

Yay!  A truck that plays music!

Yay!  Stuff to build crafty things with!

Big kids "Minute to Win It"

Pappy with his mom, MaMaw (my grandma, my kids' Great-Grandma)

The kids with NaNa (my other Grandma, the kids' other Great-Grandma)
 And then, when the party was over and everyone left, the kids changed into their Christmas pajamas and set to work preparing for Santa's arrival.  Markos dumped sprinkled his "reindeer food" that he made in preschool out on the back patio.  The kids each put a cookie out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer and the adults anxiously awaited the sound of sleeping children so they could make their preparations and get to bed, too!

Markos putting out the "reindeer food"
Markos "fixing" the pile of reindeer food

Cookies out for Santa

The sweetest, cutest bunch of kids in the world, ready for bed so Santa will come!