Christmas Superlatives 2012

Best Overall Gift: Solomon's vacuum! The kid has been vacuuming non-stop for four days.....I awake to hear the vacuum going every morning. Such a beautiful sound: someone else cleaning! And bonus: Cleanest floors we've ever had (well, until he figured out he should throw crumbled stuff on the floor to have something to vacuum up).

Best Forgotten Gift: The car battery charger I bought myself for $70 at Costco. I forgot about it and left it still boxed in the back of my truck. The day after Christmas, I needed to run into the grocery store to pick up meat for pizza sauce. Kurt stayed in the car with the kids. Ten minutes (and five bags full of food) later, I came running back out to a dead battery. Kurt didn't realize that even though I replace the car battery every two years (something about kids leaving doors open, lights on, tough winters, etc.) you can't listen to the radio in my truck without the engine running. Anyway, as I was grumbling under my breath, I remembered my "gift" in the back. As luck would have it, it was fully charged! Two minutes later, we were on the road again. BEST. PRESENT. EVER. (Almost.)

Most Sung Songs: Have a Solly Jolly Christmas and Deck the Halls (with Boughs of Solly)

Best (and by best I mean worst) Gift Idea: The Family Band: Bass guitar for Aidan, keyboard for Madeline, electric guitar for Lilly, a Toca drum for Liam, a tambourine for Solly and a couple cheap mics to round it all out. "And then, oh the noise! Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise!" (I think the Grinch was on to something!) As if they needed anything to make them LOUDER! I may invest in Tylenol stock. And maybe Advil. And Bayer. And perhaps get some noise canceling earplugs.....or a new house to live in until the kids move out of this one.....good job, self.

Most Predictable Edible Gifts: The huge pack of Mac-N-Cheese Lilly has been requesting every year for three years now and the big box of Sees chocolates Kurt gives me every year (that last me through March, at which point I hang my head low and go into withdrawal from my one-a-day habit and wonder why I shouldn't just replace them midway through the year).

Most Appreciated Healthy Gift: My brother and his wife sent a big box of Florida oranges. Now, we had just bought a huge box of CA navels from a kid down the street as part of a fundraiser. They were disappointingly TERRIBLE! Enter the box of Florida Oranges that included Navel, Red Naval, Tangelos, and Tangerines. The taste testing was a fantastic hit and we have decided to follow the wise advice of: "Get your citrus from FL and leave the wine for CA." So true!

Most Well-Used Practical Gift: A few months back Kurt's folks gave us an early Christmas gift: a gigantic upright freezer. Who knew that something like that could make such a huge difference to a family of 7 (Yay for frozen desserts ALL THE TIME! Just kidding...) Now, I just have to figure out this "Freezer-Cooking" thing!

Coolest Gadget Gift: I found a company, RC Helicopter Select, that makes vehicles you can control with your iPod/iPad/iPhone. Madeline received the iSpy Tank. It has a built in camera so she can see everything the tank sees (up to 20 meters away) and can take videos and pictures. Great for spying on siblings in other rooms. (Because THAT is a necessity.) Liam received the little race car that he can control with his iPod. It can even go up the walls. Not very useful mind you, but quite novel and very cool, at least until it falls off the wall (or Solly rams it with his vacuum) and it dies.

Scariest Gift: Santa re-gifted a rather large boxing ring bounce house that we dutifully blew up mid-morning to show Solly what Santa had brought him. He immediately hid behind a couch and wouldn't come out until the thing was deflated. Some gifts are just like that I suppose. (Thanks for the terrifying gift Deb!)

Worst Christmas Moment: I was putting a load of the laundry into the dryer (no I don't know why I was doing laundry on Christmas, it just happened!) when out fell Aidan's iPod. Cleanest, non-working iPod you'll ever see. So shiny and dead. But wait....Lo and behold, after sitting in a bag of dry rice for 48 hours, the thing actually still works. Merry Christmas, Aidan! (So much for the long lecture of being more careful and responsible for ones possessions!)

Most Heartwarming Moment: As I was putting the kids down on Christmas night, Aidan called me back in and said, "Mom, we forgot to say a special prayer for Jesus today. Can you say one right now?" And so we did. And I once again learned from my child: even kids seek meaning for their lives beyond the surface of their material world.

May the rest of your year be merry and bright, making way for a New Year that bursts forth with  wondrous love, quiet moments and all the meaning your heart could possibly desire.

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