Santa and the Stormbringer

A quick run down of our Christmas week.
On the 21st K and P arrived from Florida and we had a little party on the south side involving our first Turducken (turkey stuffed with a duck which in turn is stuffed with chicken, for those who’re unfamiliar) which was very tasty. Maeve and Simon enjoyed playing with R’s toys :)

Saturday 22nd: Us girls (and babies) were going to the Christkindlmarket downtown while the boys went for breakfast and played board games. It’s been a few years since I’ve made it down there and I forgot how crowded it gets. It was fun to go and fun to see Patti, but it was bitterly cold and in hindsight probably not the best idea to take the kiddies. I will probably wait another few years before taking Maeve again, or try to go during a quieter period mid-week. I was wearing Maeve, while Christina has Simon in a stroller. Maeve had a melt down soon after arriving. I’m pretty sure she was hungry but we were both so bundled up in layers that she had to rely on the bottle and we all know how badly that normally goes :( She’s a boob girl, our stormbringer.
After a while we headed back to Oak Park and hung out for the evening playing games and eating pizza.

Sunday 23rd was a long day for everyone. Lewis, Maeve and I were up early and on the road by 7am to pick up Ian and head to the ‘burbs to see Lewis’ mom play in the handbell choir at church. As predicted, immediately after the piece was played Maeve started getting fussy and we snuck out to the family room for a feed (we could still hear the service and the kids choir do their song) and then spent the rest of the service in the crèche with a variety of little children and caregivers. One of the little boys was smitten with Maeve immediately. He kept saying “She’s precious” and wanting to play with her, but even though he was 6 years old, he seemed unaware of how to be gentle with babies. Maeve took it in stride though :)
After church we went for lunch, and then visited Lewis’ Grandma at the nursing home. Why are some nursing homes are so depressing and just permeated with the smell of illness? It was my first time meeting her and she seemed generally aggravated that her game of cards was being interrupted by us visitors. Maeve slept through the whole thing (and had been asleep since leaving church). After getting a family photo with Grandma we went to visit Grandpa. Grandpa’s nursing home is much less depressing, but Maeve was getting hungry and made the visit less than enjoyable. I made up a bottle for Maeve and handed her off to Lewis to try and feed her, but she saw me over his shoulder across the room and was crying, tears streaming down her face, like “what are you doing to me?! Why won’t you feed me?!” It was seriously heartbreaking, but the nursing home only had one public bathroom and you have to get a key from reception. I don’t want to tie up the one bathroom for 10-15minutes trying to feed Maeve. We got a quick group picture and headed across the way to the mall to use the family room. I had no idea these things existed! They had a bathroom with two tiny toilets and low sinks for little kiddies, a lounge area with games and comfy chairs while you wait and 2 curtained off cubicles with comfy chairs for breastfeeding! Maeve and I enjoyed some feed/cuddle time and felt much calmer.
In the evening we went to Brookfield Zoo to check out the lights. Lewis hadn’t had a chance to change into warmer clothes more suitable for walking around outdoors so he was kind of grumpy. I’m just glad Maeve had had some play time because she’d spent most of the day bundled up and strapped into her carseat. I hate these kind of days for her. It’s not good for her to be in her car seat all the time, she sleeps more than I feel comfortable and doesn’t eat as much either. It’s just bad all around, but the zoo was still beautiful to walk around and it’s always good to spend time with the family.

Monday was Christmas eve. I made a quick run to Target for some non-Christmassy essentials and when I got home Lewis ran out for some Christmassy errands while I finished getting things ready for having the family over. It was a good evening. We played games and cuddled with Maeve and I had cookies and candy on hand for snacking and made my cheesy bread and pumpkin pasta dish (http://momadvice.com/blog/2009/09/creamy-pumpkin-pasta) for dinner. About 10 minutes after everyone left the doorbell went and there was a fireman explaining that a valve had burst a block away and the water was being shut off but that hopefully they would have it fixed by morning :( I needed a shower, both our humidifiers were low on water and the kettle was empty! Blah.

Christmas Day was another super long day: Lewis and I exchanged our stockings- I mean, um, opened our stockings from Santa ;P Thankfully the water was back on and I was able to have a quick shower and a cup of tea :) Our morning was slower than expected because we had to take a bunch of photo’s. We took some of Maeve sitting in front of all her presents under the tree, and her opening her first present and helping Lewis open the present she got him and then a family portrait in front of the tree before we headed out. I think those are all the important First Christmas moments I needed to capture :) One of my favourite moments was watching her open her first present. We held the bag in front of her and she pulled out some tissue paper and her eyes just lit up with joy. We had to show her that there was more in the bag and wrestle the tissue from her tight grip before she tried to eat it :P

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We loaded Maeve and a big box of presents into the car, picked up Ian and headed to Sarah’s. It started snowing as we got on the expressway! Perfection! We got there about 10am and snagged some 2nd breakfast before getting down to business. Riley (just a few weeks shy of turning 3) is clearly the right age for Christmas! She was a very good helper handing out presents to everyone and helping open some of them too :) Riley’s big present was a brand new kitchen set. The plan had been to have her unwrap a picture of the box it came in and *then* do a big reveal of it hidden under a blanket but Riley being Riley wandered over to it and was all “What’s under here?!” The second she found it all other presents were forgotten :( Lewis’ mom realized that she’d forgotten to load a box of presents into the car so Sarah Terry made a quick run out to the ‘burbs to pick it up while we got lunch started. Riley decided she didn’t want to wear anything below the waist and was running around half naked before curling up on the couch to watch a Barbie dvd and Maeve played with her new soft blocks that Katie had made for her.
In the afternoon we watched dvd’s people had got for gifts while snacking, eating lunch, and napping before continuing with the 2nd round of presents :)
Riley introduced Maeve to tea parties which went nicely until Riley accidentally knocked Maeve over and she bonked her head. Luckily Nana was on hand for cuddles.
At about 8pm, I think, we started to wrap things up and head home. It was rather magical arriving home in the snow (there had been nothing on the south side) and it took us 3 or 4 trips to carry Maeve and all our presents from the car to the condo. Then we made a start on the rest of Maeve’s presents from my family and some friends. Whew.

I will have a lot of thank you cards to write!

At 10pm we put her to bed and continued without her but left the last 2 from us for her to unwrap on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day: a little more relaxed :) We skyped with the family in the UK for about an hour and Maeve showed off her almost crawling skills. She gets up onto her knees really fast and then tries to get up on her tippy toes and wobbles there for a bit. Occasionally she bunny hops forward a smidgeon.
In the evening I went to watch Eastenders (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m86d). We usually watch 4 episodes from the previous week (mon, tue, thu, fri), but this time we added a second Monday episode from Christmas eve. I’m rather glad that Christmas Day episode was an hour (rather than the usual half hour) because it was already getting late and Maeve would be needing a feed so we are saving it for our usual New Years Day viewing marathon.

Christmas week, while lovely and full of fun, has screwed up any sense of routine that Maeve might have had. She has slept in the car seat too much and been cuddled to sleep by aunts and Nana so much that she has forgotten how to sleep in her crib. The past few nights have been full of tantrums and late nights and I’m guilty too because at some point around 4 or 5am I give in and bring her to bed with us because I’m too tired to sit up with her for 10-15minutes :/

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