Gaku has been so excited about Christmas! Hana has been pretty excited too, but not nearly as much as Gaku.

After the first snowfall, Gaku said, “Is it winter now? Good. Santa can come.” This was over a month before Christmas.

We put up the tree about two weeks ago. Gaku had been bugging me endlessly, every day, all day long, for an entire week before we got around to putting it up. The night we put it up, he slept on the floor next to the tree… for most of the night anyway, until he woke up in the middle of the night and felt a bit lonely downstairs all by himself.

The next morning, the first thing he said after waking up was, “I have to go check my stocking and see if Santa came.” I said something like, “Ummm… It’s not Christmas yet. You still have two more weeks until Christmas. And Santa only comes on Christmas.” His answer was, “That’s okay. I’m checking… just in case.” And he continued to check his stocking every single day… 3-4 times a day… until this morning he was so happy that Santa brought “goodies” for his stocking.

I’d been asking him quite frequently what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. For a long time his answer was a journal. I couldn’t quite figure this out. And when I asked for clarification, he would just tell me a journal. Finally, I got the answer that he wanted a journal, like in Atlantis. Aha! Clarification. Then about a week or two before Christmas, his answer changed to Buzz Lightyear. Now, I have to say that I considered this for a couple of minutes and thought, “No way!” The kid has gotten a new Buzz Lightyear for Christmas for the past 2 years straight. Both of them were broken in some way within a week. So, I had to do some thinking on the Santa thing. While I was shopping, I did some serious debating and decided to get him a VTech Kidizoom Camera. And then later I realized that I should probably get him some rechargeable batteries to go with it or we’d be going through batteries pretty quickly. So Gaku got 2 presents from Santa: the camera and the batteries. Gaku opened the batteries first. He looked at them and looked at me, and said, “Mommy… I don’t think these are for me.” I said, “I don’t know… Maybe you should open the other present.” He opened up the camera and said, “Why didn’t Santa bring me Buzz?” I said something about all of his broken Buzzes. And within a pretty short time, thoughts of Buzz were gone as he discovered all the cool things he could do with his camera: add frames and stamps (mustaches and other silly stuff) to photos, and play games! And later in the day the toy robot from Grandma and Grandpa sealed the deal. He didn’t really seem to care about Buzz (or the lack of Buzz) anymore.

Tsubaki was quite excited about Christmas too! She got a Leap Frog My Pal Violet (from Santa). She hasn’t figured out how to push the buttons on the paws yet (just a matter of time). But if someone else pushed one of the buttons on Violet to make her talk or sing, Tsubaki would get super excited, and hug and try to eat Violet. But what could be better at Christmas than all the paper!! Tsubaki loves, loves, loves to eat paper!! We had to be pretty diligent about throwing it all out right away.

This year is the year of Barbie for Hana. She got 3 dolls for her birthday a couple of weeks ago and 2 more for Christmas. She seemed pretty excited about this and carried her two new ones around most of the evening. When it was present time, Hana was a bit sleepy and getting just a little grumpy. Now, Tsubaki thought she would try to help Hana with her presents (really, just in it for the paper). But Hana didn’t like this so much and kept screaming, “No. Tsubaki. Go away. Leave my presents alone.” Finally, I had to move Tsubaki to another location (on the other side of me) so she wouldn’t get clobbered by her big sis.

We had a big Christmas this year: 14 adults and 7 kids. It was lots of fun! The kids were all so excited about opening their presents. But the other cool thing is that this is the first year that Gaku was also really excited about giving gifts to other people. It’s so fun to watch how he’s changing and growing! At the end of the day, all the kids were pretty worn out and ready to crash. Hana told me, “Mommy. I’m so tired.” She had to tell me quite a few times before I finally got up to get her jammies for her. (Yes, I was being a bad mommy and neglecting her…) She put on her new jammies and went down to show them to Grandma. I never saw her again. She went straight to bed all by herself! Gaku got his jammies on and was ready for bed. But then he kept stalling; he kept finding one more thing he had to check out and play with. Finally, though, he asked me to take him to bed. I don’t think he was awake more than a minute from the time his head hit the pillow.

Then we were all tired. Mom and Dad suggested we just leave the stuff (dishes and kitchen) to clean up in the morning. I was inclined to agree. But then I thought of how much harder it is to wash the gunk off in the morning and how nice it would be to go to bed without all the cleanup still hanging over me (or, really, my husband since he’s always the first one up). So we started and finished all the kitchen cleanup! Most of the presents are even put away. Now, it’s time to sleep. I’m sure the kids will be up earlier tomorrow and be clamoring to get out their new coloring books and have their new books read to them. Good night!

Oh… And silly me realized at the end of the day that I hardly took any pictures!! No more than a dozen or less. I commented on this to my sister-in-law and she said, “Me either! I never even got my camera out.” Sometimes it’s just too hard to take pictures and enjoy the time with the kids! And it’s far more fun to be in the moment than looking at it through the lens of a camera.

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