Holidays in my family are never relaxing affairs. In fact, they're down right exhausting.
For us, Thanksgiving started on Monday and lasted until Sunday night. Andrea and Adam, and their four kids came to visit from Arizona, which meant my dad was in full "grandpa" mode.
The following is a run-down of our activities:
Dinner at "Grandma Great's"
Kids' Movie (Planet 51)
Another movie for grown-ups only (The Blind Side -- a must see)
Lunch at Chuck-A-Rama
Two solid days of Thanksgiving dinner preparations for me (at my house this year)
The birth of a new niece
Pirate Island Pizza
Black Friday Christmas shopping
Christmas Choirside rehearsal (why my Stake performs this on the Sunday after Thanksgiving is beyond me)
Hiking the "Y"
BYU kicking the U of U's trash
Games and food at Mom's and Dad's
The Christmas Choirside (I conducted and Jimmy sang the solo in "Silent Night." He was amazing.)
Tacos at Mom's and Dad's
Classic Movie Night (this week's feature: An Affair to Remember)
I need a nap.
My parents are troopers. I have no idea where my dad gets all the energy he has to play with and entertain his two dozen grandchildren. Granted, they weren't all here this year (only 11 of them), but still a lot of active kids to keep happy. And he does a great job of that.
Sydney pulled out her other front tooth last night -- and then promptly lost it. After much weeping, wailing, searching and fretting she decided to write the tooth fairy a letter and put it under her pillow in place of her tooth.
Dear tooth fairy please get me a doller cus I lost my tooth I am shure you can find it then I'll no I can get a doller if you don't I will cry for the day. from Sydney henderson
She was very relieved to find money under her pillow this morning. I still can't find that darn tooth.
Last Friday I went to Denver for the RNC Women's Summit. That morning, as I was getting the kids ready for school, I reminded them that I would not be home when they got back. Syd had apparently forgotten that I would be leaving, and immediately clung to me and began sobbing.
Sydney: "Mom, why do you ALWAYS have to leave me?"
Me: "Sydney, I'll be home on Sunday. Daddy will be here with you when you get home from school, and he'll play with you."
Sydney: (With giant tears running down her cheeks) "But when you leave me, it makes me think you don't like me!"
So I drop the kids off at school and Syd walks in with shoulders hunched and head down. It was totally killing me.
At home I told Gabe how bad I felt leaving the kids. I shouldn't be going away. I have major separation anxiety when it comes to my children.
Gabe (who is extremely supportive of my political dabbling): "Feeling guilty isn't a virtue."
Hannah landed the role of Liesel in the Sound of Music. The director had mentioned to me earlier that she wanted Hannah to play the part, but she felt obligated to give the role to an older student.
Jimmy got the role of Kurt. The director had also mentioned to me earlier that she wanted Jimmy to play that part, but he was too short (she wanted a stair-step look when the children were all lined up).
The solution? She double cast the Von Trapp children roles. There is a tall cast, and a short cast. My kids...are in the short cast.
Haley is a nun because she was chomping gum during auditions, and was therefore not asked to call-backs for a speaking part (another little tidbit the director mentioned to me). I'm sure that's now a lesson well-learned for Haley.
Brooklyn is in the Vienna Children's Choir.
Opening night is February 18 -- Hannah's 15th birthday. And she will have to kiss a boy, which I think she's rather excited about. She gets mad at me every time I say I'm going to lobby the director for a kiss on the cheek. (This is where I break into a stirring rendition of "Sunrise, Sunset")
I've decided I like preparing for an event much more than I like the event itself.
My annual Halloween donuts went fast this year. Maybe because I invited more people than I had counter space to make donuts for.
Halloween day was busy. Jimmy had a Boy Scout Powwow at BYU all morning, followed by his ghoulish acting debut in the school's spook ally. Hannah went to the school early to help set up the carnival and play the part of a scary old hag. Haley went to the mall with her friend, Cassie. Brooklyn went to the school Halloween Carnival with her friend, Averi, and went through the spook ally three times (I'm so proud). Sydney hung out at home with me while I cooked, baked, chopped, and mixed. And Gabe ran all my errands.
Late in the afternoon, the kids all came home from their various activities. Jimmy was unusually quiet. He sat on a chair and observed me working in the kitchen. He said he was fine, just tired. Even though his face was caked with Grim Reaper makeup, I could see there was a problem. His forehead was burning hot to the touch. I quarantined him to my room for a Gilligan's Island marathon. Poor kid. But with swine flu going around everywhere (Brooklyn, Sydney and I already had it), and a houseful of guests coming soon, we didn't have much choice but to keep him away from everybody.
We had a fun (but hectic) night with a basement full of teenagers, a kitchen table full of food, and a houseful of good friends, neighbors and family.
Detective Nat Harward
Katie (a.k.a Hill-Billy Ray Cyrus) and Alex (a.k.a. Hannah MANtana) Stone
My little angel, Sydney
Curtis and Lisa Blair
Brooklyn, beautiful bride
Haley and friend, Gracie. The 80's rock.
Hannah (the pretty one in the middle) and a bunch of boys.
Beth and Jonny. They went all-out on their Halloween costumes this year.