There’s a lot to catch up on, so please bear with me over the next couple of days, gentle readers.
Christmas was lovely. We had a wonderful day with our families. I received books and gift cards and chocolate as gifts, plus new baking sheets and silicone muffin pans and little kitchen things. The children adored all their gifts and were beautifully behaved. The food was excellent and the turkey much complimented. At the end of it all I was tired, and I’d done something to my lower back, but I was very pleased indeed with how the day was managed. Making Christmas for others is really special.
I have felt very peaceful and happy this Christmas. We seem to be between colds, we have had good snow and now it’s bright and clear, we weren’t scrambling at the last minute for anything, and all the food was planned. I remembered to pick up sausage meat and peas this year, and I remembered to set a batch of dough for rolls to rise when I got up on Christmas Eve morning. I think Owlet’s kitchen has had a lot to do with how much I was looking forward to it all this year. It has been so much fun planning and executing it. (What? Have I not mentioned Owlet’s kitchen here? HRH built her a play kitchen. We designed it and he started putting it together after classes ended at school and the workshop was pretty much empty. Read on for pictures!)
In our house we are heartless and cruel, and no one opens gifts on Christmas morning until the grandparents get here late in the morning, after Owlet’s nap. (We’ve always done it that way, so Sparky doesn’t know that other kids wake up before dawn, heh heh.) Owlet’s kitchen had been placed in our kitchen, but she hadn’t seen it because HRH whisked her right downstairs to open her stocking on our bed when she woke up. (Sparky does that, too; he wakes up and his stocking is hanging on his doorknob, and he can open that and play with whatever’s inside it; the candy is fair game to snack on, too. Although he came down at 5:45 to excitedly catalogue everything that had been inside it, and then again to make sure that it was okay to eat some of the jellybeans.)
There was a chaise longue waiting in my attic office Christmas morning. Apparently HRH didn’t want me to be jealous of Owlet’s kitchen, so he built a chaise longue for me.
I just. You know? Words failed me. And then I think I started to laugh, and laughed for a while. I adore chaises longues, and we toyed with the idea of getting one for the living room when we bought the house, but they were all too big for the space and expensive. He’s been building this on and off with scrap bits of wood at work for over a year, and keeping it a magnificent secret. He hid it in the shed after bringing it home, and wrestled it up the stairs on Christmas Eve. Sparky must be commended for keeping the secret, too, because he was with HRH when he bought the goosefeather-filled linen pillows for it at Ikea when they got the Christmas tree.
More pictures! Owlet meets her kitchen! It was her first gift of the day. She looks so serene. And yes, those are owls in the shelf brackets.
She wanted to start messing about with it right away, pointing up at our pot rack and making imperious little “ah! ah!” sounds, so I gave her the little saucepan and wooden spoon she usually plays with on the floor while I work in the kitchen. She got lots of felt and wooden food throughout the morning as various gifts, plus a set of pots and ladles afterwards, so it’s very well stocked now.
And the last gift, a co-present from both sets of grandparents: the Wheely Bug. It’s the bee, not that you can tell because it’s hidden by the skirt of her lovely velvet dress. (That’s a tiny purse hooked on the antennae.)
I love this age at Christmas. Owlet kept picking up random presents from under the tree and bringing them to people with a beautiful smile. And she wanted to examine and play with everything she opened, bless her, but we had to keep going.
I think we have a picture of Sparky immersed in a book he’s just unwrapped every year, don’t we?
Sparky was very efficient without being careless, was terribly excited about everything he opened, and dashed off to put each thing in his room as it was unwrapped. His list was pretty much checked off, thanks to cooperation between parents, grandparents, and Santa. Not that it was horrendously long; we set him a limit of five items for the list, five special things he particularly wants, and we remind him that he may not get all of them. This year’s theme was Skylanders, a video game designed for kids that he was introduced to by his best friend at school. He asked for both the original game and the new release, but his grandparents co-gifted him with the original starter set, we actually found a set of original figures, and a guidebook (he adores guidebooks, and pretty much memorizes them). He was over the moon.
I think all round, it was a successful day indeed, and we are all very, very grateful for the generosity of our loved ones.