Christmas Day and looking back a wee bit farther…

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I promised a few pictures and a continuation of the tale from Christmas Day, but first I thought I would share something else.  One of the other bloggers I read mentioned that his “year in review” put together from WordPress was really interesting, so I thought I’d check mine out.  I found it pretty neat as well because it told me things about the posts people read that I had never suspected.  Apparently, people in 75 countries read my blog this year!  That was neat to see.  The coolest thing, though, was this:  my most popular post was on (drumroll, please): infant potty training!  Isn’t that funny?? It may have just been that at that point in time (a few days after Daniel was born in July) more people were regularly checking in on the blog.  However, people have come back to that post since then, time and time again!  I just thought it was odd.  🙂 The next few most popular posts were the post about Daniel’s birth (and the differences between the birth experience in the UK and the ones I’ve had in the US), the run I went on three days after he was due, and our move back to America in August.  Rounding out the top five was (and this was also the most-searched-for term that led people to my blog) my post about the levitating Yoda on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  That really cracked me up.  I hope the total strangers who read my Yoda posts enjoyed the close-up pictures of Yoda as well as the other astonishing things we spied on that summer day.

So….where were we?  Oh yes – Christmas morning!  We didn’t get up at the crack of dawn as many people do on that fateful day each year, although a few of the children were up early.  In a rather comical set of circumstances, Patience and Gabriel ended up getting up on their own around 5am, discovering the cheesecake which was still in the oven, baking overnight at 200 degrees.  Gabriel thought this was a mistake, and before Patience was around he got out the oven mitts and removed the cheesecake.  When Patience found out, she advised him to return it to the oven (thankfully), so they carefully replaced it.  My dad purposefully got up right at 9am to take it out of the oven and found the two of them reading books on the couch I believe.  They are wise enough not to risk waking the sleeping bears in their parents’ bed (myself and John), even for something as important as 1)Christmas morning and 2)a possibly ruined cheesecake.  It’s not like we were doing presents in the morning anyway, so they had nothing really to excite them except that they wanted to catch an early glimpse of the stockings which they knew we would fill that night.  (Yes, we are the ones who don’t “do” Santa and spend December reminding our children not to talk about it with other kids.)  Even the stockings were to remain unopened for several hours, because we all needed to be dressed and out the door at 10:30 to be at the nursing home at 11 to sing carols for a bit.  We always have trouble getting places on time in the mornings, especially during the holidays when we all stay up late – every night!

There are two nice nursing homes quite close to us which share a parking lot at which our homeschooling group sang in December.  I just called up to ask the activity directors if they had people coming in for Christmas Day, and they did not, so our family went over with our van-ful of cheer (in the form of little children.) 🙂  We picked up two enlisted sailors who are students at the Naval Nuclear Power School and live in the barracks onbase who were spending the day with us.  They were really good sports and joined in on the singing and general merrymaking at the nursing home before we returned to our home for Christmas dinner.  Pictures of a few members of the choir:

getting Greer ready to sing

getting Greer ready to sing

photo-380 photo-379 photo-377 photo-376 photo-373 photo-375I have no ability whatsoever to narrow down those cute shots, so I have included them all. 🙂  After our visits at the nursing homes we came home to cheese and crackers and veggies that I had readied the night before so we could relax a while before the big meal.  The kids FINALLY got to open their stockings:
photo-378Everyone got a festive glow stick like Greer did, and she is showing you her new socks.
Here is a picture I forgot to include on the Christmas Eve post – Daniel, sitting on my dad’s lap with the toy that we bought him using his Barnes & Noble giftcard from John’s parents (yes, I opened it early so I could find him something. :)):
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The rest of the post can pretty much be covered in about 18,000 words – or a quicker way would be to show you 18 pictures 🙂  Not sure if it’s really 18 photos, but here they are, in no particular order:
Navy guy Natiel with Grandpa working on the grown-up puzzle

Navy guy Natiel with Grandpa working on the grown-up puzzle

The table ready for dinner, with Patience at the opposite end snacking on cheese and crackers

The table ready for dinner, with Patience at the opposite end snacking on cheese and crackers

Love my napkin dispenser - found in Nice, France, even though it's got the Union Jack on it

Love my napkin dispenser – found in Nice, France, even though it’s got the Union Jack on it

Have yet to unearth the Christmas china, so we're "stuck" with the British stuff.  Oh well!! (sarcasm - I am still enamored of it)

Have yet to unearth the Christmas china, so we’re “stuck” with the British stuff. Oh well!! (sarcasm – I am still enamored of it)

Things that went on while we relaxed - Kapla block building

Things that went on while we relaxed – Kapla block building

Knitting (or was it crocheting? Only Grandma knows...)

Knitting (or was it crocheting? Only Grandma knows…)

Lots of puzzling going on

Lots of puzzling going on

Polly Pocket visiting the Kapla block store

Polly Pocket visiting the Kapla block store

photo-388

Patience working on her drawings with the light-up tracing board form Grandma and Grandpa

Patience working on her drawings with the light-up tracing board form Grandma and Grandpa

John and Navy guy Austin playing some Call of Duty

John and Navy guy Austin playing some Call of Duty

Sitting down for dinner - lobster tails, steak, and crablegs

Sitting down for dinner – lobster tails, steak, and crablegs

We opened up our Christmas crackers which we brought back from the UK and all promptly put on our paper crowns

We opened up our Christmas crackers which we brought back from the UK and all promptly put on our paper crowns

digging into all that lobster-ey goodness!

digging into all that lobster-ey goodness!

Austin is in the background apparently reading something funny out to Greer

Austin is in the background apparently reading something funny out to Greer

So many crablegs!! Too bad we were too full to really enjoy those - the lobster, steak, green beans, mashed potatoes, and Waldorf salad filled us up (until later...when we moved on to cheesecake)

So many crablegs!! Too bad we were too full to really enjoy those – the lobster, steak, green beans, mashed potatoes, and Waldorf salad filled us up (until later…when we moved on to cheesecake)

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