Today was busy. This afternoon we went shopping. We had to return the outfit the kids had received for Christmas and I wanted to find a few items. I was shocked when I returned just four items to Macy's and received back over $40! Almost half of that went to buy Charles a much needed heavy sweater that he enjoyed picking out all by himself. We also popped into Old Navy real quick to return a few items and we chose a nice sweater for Kitty that in the end fit Deedee much better. It was the length of the sleeves. They were just way too long on the little thing.

We got home just in time to have the kids take a quick siesta while I got dressed and then they got dressed to go and have Christmas Eve dinner with Carey parents. The girls were adorable in red velvet dresses and even the boys were dressed well. Carey grumbled that he felt out of place because he was in torn jeans but he did make sure and shave, for which I was grateful. I wore a black knee length skirt with large red flowers, a black shirt with a black bead medallion at the neck (very pretty, one of my favorites) and calf lenght black books. I even managed to put my hair up and wear nice jewelry. And I wore the long black velvet dress coat the I received this year after Carey's grandmother Doris passed on.

Dinner was wonderful. Sue always get a smoke cured roast from a local man. The last few times I had it, it was way too rich and I'm not a huge fan of the smoke flavor anyway. However, this year it was excellent. However dinner was running late because she forgot to take the oven off of timed bake when she took the potatos out, so the oven turned itself off. Thank goodness the thing only needed to be heated up because she was reduced to slicing chunks off and heating them in the microwave. The kids all ate well although they finished much sooner than we did. They all played quietly together while we finished eating. They got fudgsicles for desert however, since we were running late, the adults didn't have time to have their dessert as we needed to get presents done before Sue had to leave for Mass.

We all got way too much but James got really excited over a marble run. The guys all liked the tie-dye undies they got (Deedee was dissapointed that she didn't get any) and I really liked the cool footie pj's that the kids got. The toes can be flipped up (like the mits on babie's sleepers) so there is an option to have the feet bare or covered. I got several nice shirts but my favorite was a jean jacket that Sue had embroidered a Celtic dragon on the back and one sleeve. I can't wait to wear it. The kids all insisted about putting on their new jammies (big help to us so we didn't say no). The only sour note was Deedee. Towards the end of presents, she took offense at the packaging of one and refused it. So her grandmother told her fine, she couldn't have it and put it away. So we had a few minutes of screeching and then Deedee started loudly demanding more presents. Sigh... this is exactly what I'd been hoping to keep from happening but the simple Christmas with few gifts had long since gone out the door when five big garbage bags showed up full of stuff not asked for and not wanted for the kids. But it was getting late so we loaded everything up to go home and then I decided on the spur of the moment to go with Sue to Mass instead.

I've always wanted to attend the one for Christmas Eve and I'm glad that I did. We got there a bit late. Sue kicked me out while she went to look for parking. I guess she was concerned that my boots wouldn't make for quick walking on icey pavement. While I was waiting, Father Joe arrived (and was kind enough to enquire about me since I was standing outside still) but Sue got there right after. I didn't think we'd find any seats but we wound up in the third pew back. It was very beautiful. The manger was quite large and elaborate but not over done. There were poinsettia's everywhere, especially right in front of the altar. The music was wonderful to listen to. There was quite a nice choir. I did receive the blessing, but I did not take Communion. I thought it interesting to see a service not much different than what I had attending only a couple of days before.

James didn't forget to put out cookies for Father Christmas and he was pleased as punch to use his gingerbread mug that he bought last month. Of course, by the time I got home Carey had already disposed of the milk and cookies although he'd been thoughtful enough to leave a few crumbs on the plate (that Kitty promptly ate) and a bit of milk in the mug.

I also got home just in time to find out that Carey's system was acting up again and for him to go straight to bed. He was having diahrrea and his guts were cramping. He said he was feeling like that before dinner although it didn't get bad until he got home. Sigh... it could be anything. Rich meat, too much junk in the form of cookies and soda, etc. He's been prone to these problems for several years now ever since he got some kidney stones not long after we met. There has been talk of IBS by the doctors although no tests have been done yet. Since then, Carey has really cut out on most of the sweets, 99% of his pop consumptions and most of the processed foods although he refuses to give up pop tarts. I must admit that I've seen a huge differance in him so even if it's not IBS, his system likes to new eating habits.

So, instead of him helping me get the last of the stuff set up for Christmas day, he went to bed and I got to spend the next three hours fighting with the tree house. Carey's grandparents had been very generous in their Christmas money for the kidlets and the three older ones decided to pool their money and buy this for themselves. I had promised to put it together for them for Christmas Day, but boy, what a pain. At first it went together all right, but I realized that I'd put a peg in wrong so when I redid it, nothing worked and I still can't figure out why. For some reason, one of the layers won't line up right. Sigh... there are two different models. We could have spent $10 less and gotten one preassembled (and that would take up a ton of space) or get one that we had to put together but could also disassemble for storage. Well, most of it got put together and I must admit that the kids were really excited to see it the next morning and spent some time playing with it. None of them realized it was incomplete (or cared that we hadn't gotten any furniture for it yet).

I also prepared their stockings. Each got a handful of nuts, a pear, a tangerine, a candycane, a small wooden top, and a hand knit finger puppet (not by me alas). Deedee also received a huge wooden pencil a foot long and big around as a penny.

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