So, here's what happened. Christmas Eve, I let Leila watch five Christmas shows, totaling 6 hours of television, in her pajamas. She was in complete vapor-lock with the TV. I don't normally let her watch a lot of TV, usually one or two shows a week, so she was in hog heaven. As a special Christmas treat for Rob, I made banana oat bread which I wrapped in parchment with a red ribbon around it.
Now, for those of you who have been reading this blog since the beginning, you might remember that I mentioned the pink mildew in the shower grout on September 16, 2008. Well, put on your seat belts, because on Christmas Eve, I SCRUBBED THE SHOWER. I took vinegar and water and scrubbed the grout with a toothbrush, and followed that with a thick coating of scrubbing bubbles that I left on there for five minutes and then rinsed off. Can you believe it?
I did not scrub the bathtub because my foot still hurts and I can't kneel, but mostly because I was already so pleased with myself about the grout that I felt like I deserved a metal. The only disappointing thing about this is that it was a horrible grout job to begin with, and I can say this without feeling bad because Rob and I did it ourselves and had no idea what we were doing. Here and there, in the pristine white grout, mortar shows through, and if you don't know its mortar, it looks like dirt. But I know its clean, and I made Rob go in and admire it, too. He was not as flabbergasted and impressed as I wanted him to be. He was probably thinking "Its about freakin' time, lady." and I can't really find fault with that.
Rob macguivered Leila's fancy shoe with some string and scotch tape, but it only held until we got to my parents house, where he borrowed a black shoelace from my dad and wrapped it around her foot and tied it in a bow. It kept the shoe in place and everyone was happy. Dinner was delicious, although my mother started clearing my salad plate before I was done, and considering that is the healthiest thing I've eaten in days, it was kind of important for me to finish it. I don't know what the rush was. I then at my delicious crab, and I was sa - tis- fied.
Then, we opened presents. My family has a strange custom where we sometimes give each other odd food gifts. It just sort of happens. It started one year when my dad gave everyone some kind of meat: I got liverwurst, Rob got a ham, my brother's girlfriend got some canadian bacon. I don't know what he was thinking, but ever since, meat seems to be exchanged on Christmas Eve. Last year I gave my dad twenty jars of herring, and he loved it. This year, my dad got bockwurst, Rob got some obscure German cookies that no one likes, and, from my brother, three pounds of pineapple party sausages. My brother gave me some of those Lindt chocolate balls, which was terrific because I was trying to get my mom to open a box of Sees Candies nuts and chews she had in the cabinet, but she refused on the grounds that a) she was saving them for the next time she needed a hostess present, and b) that she had made me lovely almond crescent cookies that I supposedly love. Problem is, I don't like almonds, or anything almond flavored, so now that information will be filed away in the furthest reaches of her mind where she will never retrieve it, and it will continue with "I thought you liked tomatoes/red cabbage/kale!" Then she wanted one of my truffles and I told her, "no way, lady, since you're bogarting the Sees Candies!" Of course, now, I am so full and bloated from all the stuff I've been eating, she can have them all.
My brother gave Leila a bigwheel, which she is already a little to big for. She was really excited about it, though, so he put it together on the spot, and she went outside in the rain, in her fancy shoe-laced shoes and her rain coat and road it around the back yard. She was excited about everything she opened, and she put all the ribbons around her head, and, except for the shots of jaeger, it reminded me of my grandmother.
We got home, and set out cookies, carrots and milk for Santa and his reindeer, and went to bed. In the morning, I heard Leila get up, go to the bathroom, and go into the living room where Santa had left all the goodies, and eaten the cookies and milk. I expected her to come running into our room, but instead she just hung out in the living room, and I heard her making excited noises, like squeals and giggles, and I couldn't wait anymore. I whistled, she whistled back, and finally she came in to tell us that Santa had come, and he had eaten the cookies. She goes for this stuff 100%. She's about to be seven years old, so its one of the last years for total faith in Santa, and I am relishing it while it lasts. I totally use Santa to my advantage, too. In the weeks before Christmas, if she gets out of line, I always say, "Santa is watching, better shape up." and it works every time.
She loved everything we got, she loved everything she got, and she got a lot. The last two things she opened were tights, and two pair of socks, but she was happy. She got a keyboard from my mother-in-law, and is in her room right now plinking away. She's figured out how to play rudolph, rockin' around the Christmas tree, and is working on something else. Pretty awesome.
Then, we went to Rob's mom's house, and the most wonderful thing happened. There were tons of presents under the tree, but the three cousins, ages 7, 6, and 5, just played for half an hour or more, and didn't seem to notice the bounty that was awaiting them. Finally, the five year-old said "Can we open pwesents?" and it was about time! They all got a sack filled with the fifty state quarters and a map of the United States to put them all in. I thought it was a cool idea when I thought it was all bought together, but then I found out that Rob's mom's boyfriend had been collecting these quarters for years, presumably for the children, and that made it even cooler. Leila had to put all her quarters in the correct slots all at once (she hates to stop something in the middle) and the other kids just waited for her to finish before opening more presents.
My mother-in-law was a superstar this year. I got everything on my list, and I didn't even know she knew what was on my list. It was so fun, and it just kept on going. I would think I was done, and that there couldn't possibly be any more for me, and BAM! a roasting pan. BAM! a cardigan. Better than pineapple party sausages, and who knew there could be something better than that?
So now its over. All that food I bought? We hardly ate any of it. There are still boxes and bags all over the house, and now its time to plan Leila's seventh birthday party. I asked Leila what her favorite present was, and she listed twenty of them (what riches, really) and one of her favorites was "being all together." Now, maybe she's been prompted to say stuff like that by her teacher or one of the five Christmas shows she watched, but I loved hearing it nonetheless, and it really was the best gift. Except for the roasting pan, which I love, but after that, being together was the best gift of all.