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Sunday, December 25, 2005

How do you keep Christmas with four children six and under from turning into total chaos? Well, the first thing you do is send two of them to their fatherís house before noon on Christmas morning. Then you only have the two babies, neither of them a hundred percent healthy, and seven adults to keep them entertained (and vice versa). At least, thatís how it worked out for our family this year.

D.J. and Dakota had Christmas morning with Tammy and David and Aiden and Kylie this morning, then went off to their next Christmas at Santaís other drop point. Someone mentioned D.J. at one point this afternoon and Aiden, on the other side of the room and apparently not paying attention, said ďD.J.Ē in his sweet, insistent voice. So the big brothers were not forgotten in their absence.

It was pouring heavily when Mom and I showed up at Tammy and Davidís house around one oíclock this afternoon, and I got extremely wet (and a little pissy) as I was emptying my trunk and the colors of all my wrapping paper were getting spotted and smeared. But I calmed down after a little cheer was exchanged (in fluted glasses).

Aiden was very definite about what he wanted to do and what he wanted to play with all day long. When he found a toy he liked, he didnít want to open anything else for a while. For a long time it was the high-tech flyswatter I got that fascinated him most, but he loves his kitchen unit, his barbecue grill, and his train table. Anything with working parts that he can manipulate can get his attention and keep it.

I was pleased with everything I got for Christmas. My people know me well. Besides the flyswatter, I got many specialty tools for my kitchen, and the full working food processor that Mom has been wanting to get me for a long time. (For my birthday I asked for a lawnmower instead.) Everyone was more than generous to me, and they even appreciated the potato dish I brought (although trying to sit down to Christmas dinner with two fussy babies is a bit of a challenge in its own right, and youíd better count on eating in shifts).

After dinner, and after most of the commotion had subsided, I rode around with Tammy and David and Aiden and Kylie (and Titus, of course) in the back of the van as we looked at Christmas lights on the houses around the area. There are some that are spectacular (and spectacularly expensive to operate), with lights and colors and moving parts and a whole pageant all in one yard.

At the first house where we slowed to look, Aiden recognized what he was seeing. ďChristmas lights!Ē he said brightly. By the second house, he was asleep (which was half the reason for the trip). Tammy and David have taken the kids out many times since the season began, so they knew all the great spots and all the best houses. It was fun.

25 December 2005

Aiden loves his new train table.

This was Kylieís first Christmas, and despite a cough that wouldnít leave her alone she handled it in her usual mellow fashion. I even made her smile once, and Mom made her giggle. It was Aidenís second Christmas, and despite the occasional confused meltdown, he handled it as well as anyone that age can be expected to. It was my fifty-seventh, and I canít remember a better one. Iím so grateful not only for the family that I have, but for the fact that they share themselves and their children with me. I couldnít have asked for a better present.

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I thought Iíd figured out some of the quirks of my camera, but I still missed a lot of shots because of delayed shutter reaction and slow processing. I donít know what Iíve done wrong, but the incomprehensible manual is no help at all. I can take decent outdoor photos with this camera, but I might need to research another one for the very important indoor shots.

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One year ago: First Noel
"But they were winningly charming throughout the whole ordeal, which is a tribute to the love and patience of the adults guiding them through these early years."

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