Christmas was great this year. Pumpkin was excited to find the light pink bike with the bumblebee on the basket under the tree (good listening, Santa!) and Petunia was so taken with her wagon that she refused to get out of it for most of the morning. Pumpkin was also thrilled with the train set we got her (good listening, Mommy!), with the little cupcake box her Nonna and Poppa sent her from New Zealand (a perfect place to store the Silly Bands that she got in her stocking- good listening again, Santa!) and the "wedding dress" (a floor length lavender dress with sparkles) that my Mom sewed for her and included in her gift of dress up clothes. I'm dying to see her in the cow girl outfit my Mom made, but she really only wants to wear the "wedding dress" so far. So I'm being patient. Petunia has enjoyed her new blocks from Mimi and Boppa, and she likes to sit on the Little People Farm that we bough her. We think that she thinks it is a ride on toy of some sort, and plan to take a good look at day care to see if we can tell what might be giving her that idea. The biggest hit for her, though, was the little toy baby bottle that came with the stuffed monkey from her Aunt. She sucked and sucked on that thing, and then stopped and grinned, and then sucked on it some more. It was pretty funny.
You can't really predict which toys/gifts will be favorites over the long term, and everything they got was pretty darn good. Pumpkin, in particular, was so happy opening her gifts, that it would have taken a very Scroogey person not to love Christmas right then.
The girls got some great books, including the latest (and one has to assume last) installment of the Knuffle Bunny books, Knuffle Bunny Free. I think it is my favorite of the Knuffle Bunny books, and I've liked them all. We also got some new books from New Zealand. I'd strongly recommend that anyone traveling there stock up on kid's books- they have some great ones that we can't get here.
And don't even get me started on all the wonderful new clothes the girls got. Those were really like gifts for me- sparing me from shopping for new clothes while also ensuring that my girls look really cute.
As for me... well, I love my new Crocs. My parents got me the Mammoth Clogs, which I wear as slippers. They are not all that attractive, but they are warm and comfy, and they keep my feet and legs from hurting if I spend a lot of time standing on our hard flooring. And I can run out the the garage to swap the laundry over without changing into shoes.
My sister brought us all great things from Nepal. My kids are going to look very wordly wearing their new t-shirts. And our new yak wool blanket is a perfect match for our living room. I plan to retire our less than perfectly matched afghan soon, but Pumpkin is resisting the change.
The biggest surprise was definitely NOT my gift for Hubby. I took Pumpkin shopping with me, and despite the long talk we had about it being a surprise and how we shouldn't tell Daddy what we bough, she came home and walked up to him and said "Daddy! We got you a watch!" Oh well. At least he likes it. He managed to completely surprise me, though, despite buying me the one thing I had specifically said I wanted- a Kindle. When I got laid off, he had said that he didn't think we should spend so much money on our gifts to each other this year, and I believed him. Sucker! I was completely surprised when I opened that box. So far, I'm really liking it- but I have the next two months' of book club books in the old-fashioned paper format, so I won't be giving it a really workout for awhile. I'll probably tell you all about it when I do.
My sister made the dinner this year, with some help from my Mom, and a tiny bit of potato peeling from me. It was delicious, and I loved that I didn't have to make it! I did make a pie, which tasted great even if it looked a little funny. Let's just say that next year, I need to ask for a 9 inch pie plate for Christmas. I have an 8 inch and a 10 inch, and the 10 inch was definitely too big for the chocolate custard filling I made. We topped it with mint whipped cream and crushed candy canes, which hid the vast expanses of bare crust fairly well. I was pretty proud of that idea, frankly. I wanted a chocolate pie so that Pumpkin would like it, since she's been asking about pies. But I wanted something Christmas-y, too. This worked perfectly.
The girls are out of day care for this entire week, and Hubby is back at work. My parents are staying at least through Thursday, because I have an informal lunch meeting that day with the hiring manager for one of the two jobs that are looking most promising. (I had an informal phone interview for the other one last week- so things are moving over the holidays, albeit slowly, which is nice.) Even with my parents here helping, today was exhausting. Trying to keep up with my kids all day positively wears me out. And once again, I chuckle a little (in the nicest possible way, of course) at the people who think that being a working mother is hard. As I've written before, I think the truth is that being a parent is hard, if you're doing it right. And I think that for me, being a working mom is what makes me happiest. Or at least, less exhausted.
I have to admit, though, that having me at home and the kids at day care has made things a little easier, although I'd like to point out that losing my job did not, in fact, make me suddenly like housework. I still hate it. So even if it were financially feasible to continue this set up over the long run (it is not), it would not be a good idea to do so. I think it would result in me either going insane or becoming a hopeless daytime TV addict. Or both. So let's all think good thoughts about the jobs I'm working on right now!