Christmas Eve can be touch or go. You know, you have kids who are really jacked up and looking forward to Christmas and Christmas Eve promises excitement, but it’s not quite the main event, so there is disappointment built in, not to mention two or three or…six hours of yelling things like “IF YOU DON’T GO TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW, YOU WILL KILL SANTA WITH YOUR BAD BEHAVIOR! SANTA WILL NEVER COME NOW! ARE YOU HAPPY? ARE YOU FUCKING HAPPY?”
Although that last little bit usually only happens in parents’ heads.
This year for Team Stimey though, shit came together and we had such a fantastic day.
We started by heading out to IHOP because we drove past there last week and Jack was all, “I wanna go to IHOOOOOPPPP!” and I figured that it would kill some Christmas Eve morning time, so why don’t we go then?
They put us in a back corner. It was a good decision on their part.
My kids were in enormously good form what with Sam asking the waitress for her phone number, Quinn having many questions about menu items, and Jack, well, Jack was pretty chill actually. I’m not even going to discuss Alex’s behavior. We spent longer eating breakfast than we have in a long time. Usually restaurant meals are a pretty quick affair for us, on the assumption that shorter means less chance of a freakout, but everybody was happy to just sit and eat today. It was great.
I mean, we even started breakfast with hot chocolate that came topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips, so it’s not like we even made an effort to keep them from getting hepped up on sugar or anything. Quinn doesn’t like whipped cream, so his hot chocolate was plain, but the waitress brought him chocolate chips anyway.
This is when the waitress cemented her giant tip.
After IHOP, it was off to the dry cleaner, as you do on Christmas Eve.
We spent the next couple of hours at home teetering dangerously on Too Much Togetherness when a goddamn Christmas miracle happened. It started to snow.
It took him a surprisingly long time to catch a snowflake in his mouth.
It turns out that my children are unable to walk into my backyard without Nerf battlegear, so they suited up and headed out.
Our own version of Bad Piggies.
They were so happy that even Alex and I went out with them and ran around.
And all was right with the world.
It didn’t snow a lot and it didn’t stick to the ground, but it got Team Stimey out of the house and happy. You can see falling snow in the above photos is you squint reeeallly hard, but it’s easier to see on a dark canvas.
This is why we only have dark-furred dogs.
We futzed around for a while, watched a movie together, played some video games, and had our traditional steak and spinach Christmas Eve dinner.
Everyone gets to open a gift on Christmas Eve and Jack had been asking all day to do so. Team Stimey Junior even had a bonus Christmas Eve gift because my mom sent them one.
Look at them working together to unwrap that gift. They are so motherfucking civilized.
The gift was Just Dance for the Wii. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jack dance to Gangnam Style, by the way. I wish I’d gotten THAT on film.
Sam had a gift for Alex and I too and he was super insistent that we open it on Christmas Eve, so we decided that was okay. The gift was cool, but the best part was the stack of cards that came with it. Seriously, a stack. Some of those cards contained alliteration, like this: “Marvelous mom manages maidenhood majestically moving minds.”
Then, oh my God, then he had Alex and I follow him to the computer where he presented us with the Power Point presentation he had created about us. I have literally never gotten a better gift. Here are two of the slides. Judge for yourself.
“Mom has loved mice, gerbils, and guinea pigs forever practically. Rodents Rock!”
“Dad has loved the band Phish for a long time. #1 band baby!”
I have no idea where he got all those photos or when he put this thing together, but even Alex almost started crying because it was so damn sweet.
We had a few other traditions to get to, but Quinn had to squeeze in some letter writing first.
Quinn has been planning this note for a looong time.
“To: Santa, Does Rudolf’s nose really flash? Pleas wrigt yes or no under with the pen. from Quinn.”
What do you think, internets? Does Rudolph’s nose really flash?
The last hour or so of Christmas Eve before bedtime is very busy in Stimeyland. We have to mix oatmeal and glitter to make the reindeer dust.
The glitter attracts the reindeer and the oatmeal gives them something to snack on while Santa fills stockings.
There was a lot of complaining about cold feet on the porch. So they all went to get shoes while I stood on the cold lawn waiting.
You can use edible sprinkles instead of glitter, but it doesn’t photograph as well.
I let Quinn choose how many cookies to leave out for Santa, a task he took VERY seriously.
Evidently cookie placement is crucial.
Then it was off to the living room for the annual reading of The Night Before Christmas.
Jack had little smart ass comments for each line, Quinn scoured each page looking for pictures of cats, and Sam pretended to play the flute. Alex gamely carried on with the story.
We put the kiddos to bed and I gave the gerbils their Christmas seed cube and then we began to wait for them to fall asleep.
Merry Christmas, Gerbils of Power!
I’m sitting here waiting for Quinn to fall asleep. That poor kid. He wants to fall asleep so desperately, but he can’t. He’s pretty sad about it.
So. I just wrote THAT ^^^^ and then Quinn came out of his room SOBBING. He was afraid he would never fall asleep and Santa wouldn’t come and oh dear lord, I have never seen anyone quite so sad in my life. It took me an HOUR to get him to sleep. Please, Quinn, don’t wake up again.
Now I’m off to be Santa, if I can wrest my elves away from the Transformers show they’re watching on TV.
This photo is only here because I didn’t post one of our tree yet and my mom always wants to see one. Guess who decorated it?
I hope you had a really merry Christmas Eve and that your kids fall asleep quickly!