I was going to post pictures from Billa's first trip to the Zilker Tree, but like a dumbass I went and left the camera at my parent's house when we did laundry this weekend. So instead you get to imagine her laying on her back in my arms and giggling like a maniac while Mommy spins her around under the lit up tree. The best part was when I would stop and she would throw herself backwards to do it again. Classic! We had so much fun going to the Trail of Lights and the Tree with the Marino's and hopefully all of the lights will be working next year when we go back. The tunnel at the end of the Trail was burned out (it had been foggy and rainy that day and the day before) so we got partially robbed of the whole experience. All in all, it was a blast and Little S was a trooper that evening, staying awake until 10 pm! As soon as I get the camera back I'll put the pix up in Picasa so that you don't have to imagine it anymore.
On Sunday we had the famed Eagle Lake Christmas with Michael's grandparents, the home of the five hour gift exchange. Ok, I exaggerate a little, but it is long. Gramma Bobbe loves to do round robin with opening the gifts, but it can be a bit much with 18 to 20 of us opening presents (no exaggeration there). The younger kids get impatient, so they open their gifts all at once first and then go play with their new toys, which helps quite a bit. Gramma asked if Billa could open her gifts round robin since she's still so little, but everyone kept forgetting her so I just opened them all and acted excited when it was close to Billa's turn. Billa was more interested in eating the wrappings and climbing all over the boxes and bags everywhere. Little stinker! I made a peppermint cheesecake for dessert and we had lots of good wine and spent many long wonderful hours catching up with all of the relations. Billa finally got to meet her "Uncle" Stephen Travis and "Aunt" Casey and she was walking around everywhere she went!
Our Christmas Eve will be spent with Judy and Carl (Michael's mom and her SO) and Christmas Day will be at our house for the first time ever. For the past 7 years of our relationship, Michael and I have had to travel to everyone else's place on Christmas day. Last year we had five Christmases and that was just too much, so we decided to stay home this year. Besides, Michael only has Christmas Day off and we didn't want to spend it driving from house to house. So we are very excited to have Michael's dad and future stepmom, his sister Michelle, my parents and my brothers coming over for our Mexican Christmas. I wanted to do something different foodwise this year since I got tired of turkey and I don't eat ham, so I figured why the hell not do enchiladas, tamales, rice and beans? I mean, come on, who doesn't love Tex Mex? Heck yes! And to top things off I found some really awesome recipes to try at my fave food blog, The Homesick Texan. If you haven't found it yet, you need to visit. The girl's a Texas expat in NYC and she manages to duplicate all of her down home faves up there. If you remember my kolache posting, I got one of the recipes from her.
The one thing I'm not looking forward to about having Christmas at my house is that my Christmas Eve will be spent doing mostly cleaning and cooking and last minute gift putting together. And of course day care is closed. Argh. I told myself three months ago I wasn't going to do everything last minute again but we decided to move and everything kinda went to hell in a handbasket over the last few weeks. And of course, with Michael's injured thumb, I've been having to do everything around the house which leaves me little time for anything else. His thumb by the way, seems to be doing better and the swelling has gone down considerably. GROSS OUT ALERT; SKIP TO NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TOSS YOUR COOKIES. The flap of skin that the ER staff sewed back appears to be gaining some color back although we won't know for sure until next Tuesday whether or not it's dead and will require some creative grafting. [Sigh/shiver]
I tried to go shopping today for a couple of last minute gift making items and I gave up after hitting tons of traffic and getting ridiculously angry over it. I've found myself really angry and tense lately and I know it's due to the stress that we're under financially and from the moving and Michael's accident among other things. I've found myself frustrated that our expectations for Billa's first Christmas haven't turned out how we had hoped. I've never much cared about receiving gifts but it's difficult when you feel like you can't give any gifts and it makes me feel bad when I receive something and am not able to reciprocate with everyone.
I've always believed that God has a reason for everything and I think that the message this Christmas is that we as a society have gotten too caught up in the everyday materialism that we live in. A gal at work sent an email out with this quote in it: "The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other." I couldn't agree more. While I'm not able to give or receive the gifts I wanted to this year, I am thankful that I am here in this place, at this time, to share the season with everyone around me. I'm thankful for my friends and my family and for the things that I've taken for granted, like a roof over my head and clothes on my back, food in my belly, a nice warm bed, and a job. One of our favorite movie quotes definitely takes on new meaning in this time of doom and gloom: "It could be worse; it could be raining!" (A tasty treat to the first person that gets the movie right!)
So to all of you this year, the gift we give is our love and well-wishes. Despite all the bad things in the press and that may be happening to you, we hope this season finds you warm and well-fed inside and out and that you make many happy memories with your family.
Happy Christmas everyone!
Kelly, Michael, Sybilla, and Gumerry the Gray Destroyer of All Things Paper, Q-Tip, Hairtie, and The Occasional Christmas Tree Skirt
PS: I'm sorry if you receive your Christmas card late. They're stamped and will be dropped in the mail tomorrow.