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Friday, January 9, 2015

Christmas of 2014

Happy New Year!  Here we are in 2015 when it seems that the Y2K scare was just last year.  Do you remember where you were when they speculated the apocalypse might come?

The holidays were for us were the typical conglomeration of wonder and magic, joy and laughter, full bellies and fuller hearts and the exhaustion and sleep deprivation that only the holidays can bring.  

To kick it all off we had Maya's first grade gingerbread making party at school.  I wish I had a dollar for each time I heard a kid (namely my own) say, "MAN, I just wish I could eat just a piece of this candy."  

Sandi and I were quite proud of how prepared we were come Christmas Eve.  For surely, we had a humane bedtime planned.  Nearly all the wrapping was done in advance for the first time ever.  But, alas, we soon found ourselves in the dark-circles-under-your-eyes o'clock hour and had to just suck it up:  being a parent on Christmas Eve means working part of the night shift.  (Especially if you are the kind of person who really needs to have the house be clean and tidy in preparation for the onslaught of stuff OR if you're the kind of parent who, without fail, has something to assemble that involves Allen wrenches, a drill and directions that come in several languages.)

We told the kids to stay in bed until it was light outside.  They pretty much did.  Or at least after we made Maya go back to bed at 1 A.M.  

There is nothing quite like Christmas morning.  It is its own special brand of magical.

Santa brought the girls exactly what they asked for.
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And Mommy and Momma got them some stuff to get ready to ski! (More to come on that...)

 I just happen to love this tag. 
Ella made the most beautiful scarves for Sandi and I with a technique called hand (or arm?) knitting.  She worked on them with Tia as part of homeschool and completed and wrapped them all without our knowledge.  She was so proud of them and we were so proud of her!  I didn't get a good picture of it but here is Maya wearing the one Tia made for her, plus a typically silly face.
It is so much fun to be a parent at Christmas.
The girls were DYING to know what was behind this contraption.  I kept telling them it was a pony.
Nope.  Even better.  We got their reactions on film and they are priceless!  Lots of screeching and jumping up and down.  It was time for them to  have a computer of their own.  Especially for homeschool.  (This was a purchase we were intending on and just let it coincide with Christmas for the fun of it.)
We had the best Christmas to date with our girls.  They were grateful and considerate, thoughtful and loving.  We enjoyed them thoroughly.

And then, in the spirit of most major holidays, there was illness.  The day after Christmas when we were supposed to be heading to Beals for the Carver Christmas, we were instead seeking a strep culture.

Maya, keeping her germs to herself:

She was VERY upset about getting swabbed.  How cute is this?

After several rounds of trying to hold poor Maya down so they could swab her, finally the assistant said, "Just go ahead and scream at me."  Maya couldn't resist that offer and as soon as she began her screech, in went the giant Q-tip much to her surprise and disgust.   Yup, it was strep.

Doesn't everyone bring a face masks to a family Christmas?
I have to say, this was a first for the reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."
There are so many wonderful traditions we have for the Carver Christmas, from the food we share and the books we read,  to the hands after hands of Rook played at the table and the way gifts are given.  There is such a wonderful bond of love, family and gratitude.  It is a treasured day to spend together and we all look forward to it all year.

There is also the tradition of the Christmas Elf.  I am thrilled to say that the outfit was passed to me for next year.  (FINALLY.)

One of the best stories I can tell you is about the two blondies.  They had each asked their grandparents for an American Girl doll.  For a few weeks these rectangular boxes, seemingly the perfect size to fit such an item,  had been wrapped and under the tree.  Both Maya and Makenna would say, "I know this is my American Girl Doll."  To which their grandmother would reply, "No, those are clown shoes."

Now, Gram is known for being a bit of a jokester and she had planned a good one for the girls.  She had carefully constructed boxes that were size-replicas of the American Girl boxes and wrapped them up with hand-made clown shoes inside.  

The girls were so excited to open their dolls! 

But, WAIT.  These are CLOWN SHOES.

Can you see them rejected on the floor?  I think they were water shoes with mini ornaments on them. Oh the crossed arms and the dagger eyes kill me.

Gram quickly produced the "real" gifts but they were a bit more wary this time around.  As evidenced by the hands on the hips.
YES! The real dolls!!

Trish is the volleyball coach at Maine Maritime Academy and we had all bought these shirts to support a campus campaign to respect all students (and to help seek equality for women in a male dominated environment).  They say "Respect every anchor" and are pretty cool looking shirts.  Matching shirts begs for a group photo.
Then it was back home for some work and reorganizing and then time for Christmas on New Years with my family.  We do an overnight New Year's Eve thing and it has become a wonderful new tradition.  There are meals to share, games to play and so much laughter and fun.  Plus, the kids were happy because no one got clown shoes.

I cannot tell you how especially blessed I feel that our girls are so close with all of their cousins.  These relationships are so unique and profound.  Not to mention fun.

two peas in a pod

When my family gets together there is often an impromptu dance party, Maya or Braeden usually have to be asked a multitude of times to behave at the table, Michaela always raves over whatever food I feed her, my mom loves to talk to Brian about the Red Sox or the Patriots and she always helps with the piles of dishes, Kathryn and I get to figure out the problems of the world in the kitchen, Sandi comes up with some fun, new game for the kids,  Brian lends the most easy-going and cheerful spin to anything, Ella and Michaela usually lock themselves in a room and create a performance or movie and I always feel so lucky to have these people I adore so much.  My family is small and just right.

Maya needs the spotlight like a plant needs water. 


I got a hand painted apron, jewelry and a heart magnet among other wonderful homemade items.

It was such a beautiful Christmas.  My heart overfloweth. 

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