What if you have two electric blankets and know that at least five kids would love one? Oh, I am so confused. It is hard to wrap presents with Camille up, but most of the presents are in my room, where she sleeps. I really have to sort out what is for who so I know if I have to buy anything else. The little kids are easy. They still like toys. I bought a new lightbrite, and some Barbies, and a new Thomas train for Jon's track. And some matchbox cars, and a sparkly girls' fishing game and some new dollies. Easy, easy, easy. But the older ones...ugh.
Paul and I are not getting each other anything because we just went on our trip. But he can if he really wants to. I wouldn't mind. I am really just looking forward to some down time with him around. It was SO nice to be with him in Jamaica, fantastically fun....and now that we're home again, it hard to eke out a few minutes for a conversation. I wonder if having so many kids around has actually helped to perserve our marriage, since it seems we are always longing for time together. Kids, if you are reading this, NO offense intended. We love you. When we were away, dad mentioned a few times how very blessed we have been to have you all.
When Emily got up this morning, Evelyn hugged her and started crying, and Sonja started crying, and Charlotte Claire was a bit hesitant. She climbed up on me and looked Em over a bit before she talked to her. She was only two when Emily left, and she didn't talk yet. When Camille got up, she climbed right up on Emily, then looked at her and scrambled back down. But it took her less than five minutes to fall head over heels in love with her, and Emily has a new friend. In a way it is like she was never gone. She helped the girls tidy up their rooms, and she gave them breakfast, then she took them out to play in the snow, which is still falling. She made macaroni and cheese for lunch, and she is doing homework with Kathryn. She isn't staying here forever, she has a few job interviews already, she is an RN, and when she gets a job she will be moving out. But for now, it is nice to have her here.
I made a batch of Melting Moments cookies with chocolate drizzled on top.....then for afternoon snack, after playing outside, the kids had cocoa and tea and lots of different cookies. And oranges and grapefruit and pears.
Dinner is in the oven, a roast beef and potatoes and carrots. It smells good in here, and it looks cleaner than usual. The tree lights are on and only one lamp, and it is cozy, especially with the snow coming down. It is lake effect snow, right off Lake Ontario, and the flakes are huge and fluffy. It is just really Christmas-y.
Tonight we are doing something special: we are getting our family picture taken!! It has obviously been a whole year since we have all been together. I wish we could have a video of this process. It gets more funny the more kids we have. One time a few years back, we went to Sears. Benjamin told the photographer his name was George, and everytime she called him that, all the kids laughed, and she didn't know why. When we were leaving, I told her that his name was really Benjamin....anyway, it is very funny trying to get everyone smiling or at least not picking their noses. We have two different family pictures with Mali not smiling...one because Mirielle pinched her because she wouldn't stop complaining about how it was HER turn to hold the baby, and one because she had fallen back on someone and they yelled at her. Or maybe that was the one that she wouldn't smile because she thought her teeth weren't white enough. I can't remember. But it will be interesting. I do not know what the boys will wear. They are t-shirt boys, mostly. Whenever they have to dress up, they are so big, they raid daddy's closet.
So hopefully we will get one that turns out well. My sister's daughter is supposed to come over to take the picture.
Tomorrow we have to go out and about for the mystery driver's test, and I am thinking of taking Aaron and Abigail out to lunch, with Mirielle and Joseph and Ben, and of course the little girls....but will we fit in the mini-van? I am positive that the driver will not want to take the test in the big van. No, Emily and Ben are the only ones of the kids who can navigate that thing, so far. The other kids are smart, they know they get out of alot if they don't know how to drive it.
I have to get Margaret something for her birthday! What? hmm. And I have to get something for Jon's class, his teacher is smart. She requested 18 small gifts like pencils or something. I think that is smart because the gift exchange can be tough for the kindergarteners. There is always the kid who brings a really nice gift, then the kids who just get coloring books. I know, I know, the hard knocks of life are good for them, but OH my soul.....I would cry if I were there.
Jonathan is beside himself that Emily is home. He wants every bit of her attention. They are all vying for her, and at this rate, she is going to get sick of them pretty soon.
Well, my break is over. I have to brush my long tangly hair, and brush lots of little girls' hair too......