Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holidays with the Family

The Rutledge crew has had a really fulfilling Christmas & holiday break over the past couple of weeks. With Amy being 33 weeks pregnant we received the "no travel" word from her doctor. So we have been fortunate to have several visitors share the holidays with us in North Carolina. Pappy & GJ arrived the week before Christmas. Aunt Mel, Uncle Dude & Corinne came up from Charleston to spend Christmas week with us. And Nana and Granddaddy arrived at the end of the week to ring in the New Year. The last couple of weeks featured a lot of quality family time together.

Gus & Owen were really into Christmas this year. Seeing Christmas through the kids' eyes was rejuvenating for Amy and me as parents. With this being their third Christmas, the boys were excited about Santa Claus, the decorations, and all the family time together. They did not quite make the connection between Santa and presents. In reality this took some of the pressure off of us, and their innocence with it all was refreshing. On Christmas morning the boys slid down the steps to find a toy garage for their cars and had quite the time rummaging open boxes of clothes and goodies.

As I have had some extended vacation time from work over the holidays and there were several family members here with helping hands, Amy & I decided we were going to venture into potty training territory. The boys had been asking to wear "big boy underwear" since a couple of the kids at their preschool were not wearing diapers. No time like the present, so we bought several pairs of Thomas the Tank Engine & Lightning McQueen underwear and went to work. On the first day, the boys had accidents all morning long causing Amy & GJ to wash about 10 pairs of underwear by noon. Slowly throughout the week they began to get the idea that they needed to tell us when they had to go to the bathroom. We are still working on it, and they still have accidents here & there. But we are determined to get two out of diapers by February when the baby girl arrives.

Amy & I took the boys to see Santa Claus who as it turns out spends a three-week stretch in Apex, NC of all places before venturing to the North Pole for his midnight run. Just like last year the boys were afraid of Santa so he had to sneak away and come back through the trap door in order to get in the family picture. Maybe next year...

What is it about Christmas that brings out all the sweets? GJ and I decided that perhaps it was because candy and sweets are the one food that everyone can agree on when you have a lot of people together. Whatever the reason, our house was filled with fudge, cookies, sweet rolls, Chex mix, and all kinds of other sweet treats. Aunt Mel got to experience first hand how much easier it is to cook something when 2 two-year-olds help you. Banana bread batter was everywhere, but it was oh-so-tasty.

Christmas with the Crumptons meant we got to share time with Baby C, shown here adorning a makeshift Yuletide headband. Corinne is an absolute gem. She is the best eater I have seen for a baby. She has a contagious giggle that makes adults turn to mush and engage in humorous baby-talk. And she intently watched her older cousins, mostly from the vantage point of a plastic push-toy fire truck.

Another Christmas tradition with the Rutledge family is the Twas the Night Before Christmas puzzle. Melanie & C.E. have done the thing so many times that they can practically work it in their sleep. But the rest of us managed to work a piece or two in at nap time and bed time when the three little ones hit the sack. 1,000 pieces in less than 24 hours.

GJ and Pappy were gracious enough to keep the three grandkids one afternoon as Melanie, Roman, Amy and I ventured out to see -- of all things -- a movie! Amy & I were skeptical that movies were still being made after April 15, 2005, but it turns out they do. We thoroughly enjoyed Tom Hanks and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War."

Uncle Dude and Aunt Mel played a tremendous practical joke on yours truly on Christmas morning. They had purchased North Carolina scratch-off lottery tickets on the way up from Charleston and put the tickets in everyone's gifts. When we opened our presents on Christmas morning, C.E. had a ticket that was a loser, Amy had a $10 winner, and I casually scratched my ticket. My ticket was one that if three of the same numbers appeared, you won that amount. I scratched off two $20,000 numbers and then raised my eyebrow as the last number appeared -- a third $20,000 number. I looked at the ticket, read the instructions on the front, then glanced at the back to make sure I understood how the game was played. After allowing myself to believe I had a winner, I let the excitement come out as I shouted, "Holy #@$% you all, this is a $20,000 lottery ticket!!" I passed it to Amy & I started screaming in celebration. Amy allowed herself to get worked up too. Just then, Roman and Melanie burst out laughing as they read the back of the ticket -- "All prizes $20,000 or greater must be redeemed by Santa Claus." Oh my. I felt like the Bugs Bunny cartoon when a jackass was superimposed on Elmer Fudd's face after being taken in one of Bugs's tricks. We all got a hearty laugh at the joke. All I have to say is paybacks are hell, my dear Crumptons, paybacks are hell!

Let's just say it is hard to get three little ones to look in the camera at the same time for a posed Christmas picture wearing their good outfits. These three have a lot of fun times together in the years ahead.

Nana and Granddaddy arrived on Friday to help us ring in the New Year. Billy is in between trips to Oklahoma to work with FEMA on the flood damage to a college there. Elaine has taken up traveling in her first few months of retirement, and we are more than happy to provide a draw to help her scratch the travel itch. For Christmas the boys were treated by their grandparents to a CAT back hoe tractor and some Lightning McQueen gear.... well as an awesome train table complete with train, tracks, flat-bed trucks, magnetized cranes, and even a helicopter. This is one present that is nearly as popular with the adults as it is with the kids.

So the holidays have indeed been joyous ones for our crew. We thank everyone who made the trek over to see us this Christmas and wish all our blog readers a safe, festive and very happy New Year!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was a wonderful, wonderful time!!! Best wishes for 2008 to all of you!! gj