i've been too busy with reality to post to the blog the past few days, lol. gotta love it when things work that way; that's a good life. and this is a LONG post about all the past few days; be warned!
dear sister-in-law (SIL) needed cataract surgery and last week they scheduled her for 12/23 (wed.), at Duke (which we're very close to). anyone who has had eye surgery knows that they require you to come back the next day for a checkup. so we planned to celebrate christmas with them early, and for them to stay over so they didn't have to drive back and forth and forth and back for the recheck.
tuesday they got the news that the surgery time was VERY early. they planned to drop off nephew4 and niece3 after checking in, but because cataract surgery is a very short procedure, they wouldn't let BIL leave, or they wouldn't do the surgery.
so they all showed up about 11 a.m., SIL VERY groggy - anesthesia really hits her hard - and everyone kind of dozy. we got SIL tucked into the recliner and she was out. i made some lunch (ham biscuits) for everyone and chased the boys outside (niece3's boyfriend picked her up, they have a long-distance relationship and take every opportunity to get together. nice.).
lolly ate a ham sandwich (the special, non-cured ham, because of her allergy), and i tucked her into BIL's lap while they watched a movie. she was hungry again (!) and ate two clementines and some popcorn (she shared). BIL is too skinny so i was glad he sat down for a quiet time and had a snack!
i got busy in the kitchen, between visiting briefly. made some smashed sweets (which i boil the heck out of whole, takes forever but the skins WIPE off afterward) and some cranberry relish. after the movie BIL took all 3 boys out shopping and for an oil change. and i tucked lolly in for a nap.
finally had some work there and worked for an hour or two. BIL came back with a CHRISTMAS TREE. we had not gotten around to deciding to have one and had just hung up last year's gorgeous gold christmas tree quilt. he came back with a little (skinny) tree and lights, and the boys helped him assemble the tree, and lolly helped put the lights on while the boys went back outside.
it was so nice having some peace - my sons get along better with the cousin around, which is awesome. and i about choked up when he brought a TREE back with him! obviously we don't have a huge emotional investment in a tree, but the thought behind it just overwhelmed me.
then i delegated him to cutting up chicken. orange chicken was on the menu and i had set aside 5 pounds (i didn't know if niece3 and her boyfriend would be there for dinner, and the BF is a BIG guy with a matching appetite) of chicken to make. BIL had it cut up in about 10 minutes - it takes ME that long to do the 1.5 to 2 pounds i usually make! (of course, i trim it well and knock off the yucky bits, but leaving them in really didn't make any difference to the finished product. i may not do this in the future!)
SIL woke up and was less groggy, so i put her on a chair in the kitchen while i breaded and pan-fried 5 pounds of chicken, then made orange sauce to go over it, also made rice and broccoli because you HAVE to have them with orange chicken. it took about a half hour to cook but EVERYONE ate it up yum and was very complimentary. and smashed sweets go really well with it, yay!
#2 son hadn't had a birthday cake so i made one for him earlier in the afternoon (i was a busy girl). we opened presents and had some cake, and stayed up late watching movies - edward scissorhands, a gift. lolly got a dolly and some talking cleaning things (vacuum, broom, trash can, iron), so she was in lolly heaven. clothes for all the kids and a video game for the brothers, and books for DH and myself. SIL brought gifts from other SIL in PA, whom she had recently visited, so there were lots of gifts to open for the kids; lots of fun!
got everyone to bed, everyone actually SLEPT! the 3 boys slept on couches and the 3 guests in their beds; #1 son has a double.
next morning BIL and SIL left early to go to the doctor, and we planned to meet up for brunch after the appointment. we left as planned to go to the diner, but the doctor visit held them up the whole time, they got there when we finished breakfast. :( and had to hurry home and SIL was pooped. but it was a great visit; when we visit them, they're always running like chickens, and it was really nice to get to sit and talk with THEM on downtime.
so, Christmas Eve, and i hadn't wrapped any presents for the sons. plus i planned a nice dinner. we came back from the diner and i made a potroast. DH put the baby down for a nap and i tried to work. not much work this time of year but they have to have coverage. set the bickering brothers to scraping carrots and washing potatoes, hahaha! then i sliced up carrots and put them in the steamer basket over the pot of boiling potatoes. quit work when those were done and smashed the potatoes, sliced the roast, and dinner was on the table! it was a killer roast; we made one a couple of weeks ago that was WAY too fatty and we didn't even keep the leftovers, they were too greasy. this one was PERFECT; i made it with lipton onion and mushroom soup mix and it was divine. PS - the carrots were DIVINE - tasted buttered though they weren't. bagged carrots have no flavor, and we've converted back to scraping carrots. :D
then i got to go wrap presents - WAIT! DH hadn't wrapped his yet! so i had to wait. by the time i was done, it was 9:30. relaxed for a little while, then opened christmas eve presents (jammies, a tradition). and chased everyone to bed. too tired to do stockings; my kids never get up early for christmas so i said i'd do it in the morning.
christmas morning, i got up at 7 and sneaked off to stuff stockings, then DH did the same, and after that the kids started waking up (~7:30). the first thing lolly said as she went down the stairs was "where's uncle P?" she's so sweet. she looked in her stocking and said "a candy cane! for me!" i could've quit after getting candy canes!
lolly got LOTS of clothes from various relatives. it's so fun buying little girl clothes, and she LOVES to dress herself and wear pretty clothes. i had to forcibly stop her putting them all on at once. brothers got books and Guitar Hero and a punching bag. i got Julia Child's cookbook which i asked for, but not the treadmill (still shopping for it, i'm afraid), and books.
i had searched and searched for that dancy dance dress and lolly LOVED it! it's a tutu that just pulls over all clothes, and i got her real dancy dance shoes, and she put them all on and danced and danced. when she stopped dancing she took them off and put them away. and when she wanted to dance some more, she put them back on. we didn't have to explain a thing to her. we DO have to find a dance class for her next summer; she's a dancy-dance girl!
lolly got a good nap with me, and i got what i REALLY wanted for christmas - no fighting for a whole day, and peace! had fun playing a little guitar hero and lounging about eating bon-bons. then i made a lovely salmon crusted with pecans for dinner. it was a hit!
i've cooked and shopped and wrapped and i'm in kind of a let-down right now but a good feeling anyway. i told DH i was doing 3 big dinners in a row and he was on duty for the rest of the weekend, lol! that was my christmas - guests, cooking, the leisure to enjoy cooking instead of the chore cooking usually is, and some peace with my family. i sure hope yours was as awesome as mine was!