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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

It's been a long time since I've had the energy to post to the blog, but I've been doing well and the boys are too.  This year I found time to finally finish my Christmas stocking, and to knit one for Eddie too (per my husband's request).  They're arranged on the wall according to age.  As you can see, the boys stockings (the red and green ones) are pretty narrow and they have both expressed a desire for updated ones.  I guess I can do that, but I have a real fondness for these.  They're 9-years old, and I finished Dante's because I really wanted to knit one for Alex and I had to finish Big Brother's before I could make one for the new baby.  However, they're a real pain to stuff ever year, so maybe I'll just keep these in a special place and knit bigger ones that are easier to use.

I also finally finished my Smittens garland this year, but not in time to actually use it as intended.  Next Christmas it will replace the advent calendars that I've been buying every year.

This year, Alex announced that he didn't believe in Santa.  It was a little hard to take at first.  I've had a believer-in-Santa in my family for 18 years.  It made me a little sad at first, but I have to say that it also took a lot of the pressure off.  I didn't have to knit a zillion-dozen cookies this year.  I didn't have to remember to clean up the reindeer food, or take a bite from every single cookie so it looked like Santa was there.  This year, the pressure to be good (which always results in the opposite behavior) so that Santa will come was gone, and we could just focus on doing things for others, and remembering the Savior.  I was able to pace myself and take it slower this holiday season.  As a matter of fact, I still haven't baked a gingerbread house yet.  There's no hurry. 

We spent our Christmas Eve visiting with family and friends.  The day started with a long overdue visit to our friends Mandi and Graham so that Alex could play with the dogs.  Mandi used to watch Alex after school on Thursdays, and he just loves to spend time with her so we try to do that when ever we can, but it's just not often enough.  Yesterday we got to visit for a good long time until both Alex and the dogs were pretty well wiped out.  Then it was back home to pick up Dad and Dante, and head out to Grandma's and Grandpa's house.  As you can see from the photo, those Washington genes are very strong, lol.  We had a great visit, getting to see relatives that we only see on holidays, and watching spy movies with Grandpa.  After several hours, it was off to Nana and Jim's house to have dinner, watch Christmas episodes of Spongebob, and drop off their gifts.  Nana is Italian so she treated us to the traditional Night of the Seven Fishes.  We ate so much food that it felt like Thanksgiving all over again! 

Finally, around 9 pm we finally headed home to crack into a roll of Pillsbury sugar cookies so that we could have some fresh cookies for Santa ("just in case he is real").  A few more Christmas cartoons, and Alex finally headed off to bed.  That's when the real work began. 

Alex struggles with waiting, and has a hard time regulating strong emotions due to the sensory disorder.  This means that I've learned (the hard way as most parent do, lol), that we can't wrap gifts in advance and put them under the tree as the season goes along.  That's what my parents always did, but it's just too problematic at our house so I wrap them every Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed.  That means I'm usually up until 2am, which means that I'm exhausted every Christmas morning.  This year I put a time limit on Alex.  He had to wait until 8:30 am before waking us up, and if he woke us up before then I'd make him wait an additional 3-hours before opening gifts.  The was a good plan, except that we forgot to set his personal clock back at Daylight Savings, so he woke me up at 7:30.  I told him to wait until my alarm went off; he woke me up three more times asking if it had gone off yet, lol. 

Aaron and I exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, since we're awake.  He got my car fixed for me and ordered a set of healthy spice blends from FlavorGod.  They have very little sodium (he uses sea salt), have no fillers or GMO's, and are ground fresh to order.  They came with two free cookbooks as well, and I'm excited to give these a try.  Here's to more clean eating this year! 

The boys did quite well (per usual) thanks to their generous and loving grandparents, and this year is the first year that Alex was able to get through gift opening without having a meltdown because he didn't get something on his list.  He's come a long way this year in terms of social skills, being able to handle disappointment, and being able to focus on the positives instead of the negatives.  It was really nice. 

And now that the big day is done, it's time to settle in for my first ever Christmas vacation since 1996.  I'm looking forward to the break.

Some of the haul

Traditional Christmas Lego Boobie-trap

Alex's gift to me