I realized, as I posted pictures of the fun and happy times at my clan's Christmas party and our New Year's Eve dinner that I didn't take any photographs of Christmas Day at home with Mum and Gareth's sisters and their significant others. I need to be better about having batteries in the nice Nikon my hubby got me for my birthday. There. That's my New Year's resolution.
Fortunately, Gareth recorded the day for Trista, his sister in Phoenix who couldn't make it to Washington this year. So I post it here for posterity.
I think this was the first Christmas in a long time that Mum didn't have all her chicks with her. Reflecting on this, it was actually a very different Christmas for many of us. So many changes in 2007. It was a Christmas of many firsts. The first one without my family's first generation ~ no grandparents to buy gifts for. The first one without my brother Mark who's finding success and happiness in Vegas. The first since Gareth and I have been together that he didn't have all his sisters with him. The first Christmas Gareth and I have hosted in our house.
While there was a lot to be sad about, there was plenty to be happy and thankful for. Christmas morning found me a little stressed. We usually spend Christmas with Gareth's side wherever Mum is. Well, since she lives with us now, our house became Christmas central. While it's not like this was our first party, this was our first family Christmas in our home and I wanted it to be special. My mother-in-law is a veteran at this, so to have her with me was a great comfort.
I have to tell you, I really lucked out when it came to mother-in-laws. Every time I tell someone my mother-in-law lives with me, I get this look of sympathy which always makes me laugh. Sure, there are times things get tense in the house and I look for my own space but it's usually to get from being pulled into a disagreement between Gareth and Mum. And yes, sometimes G feels picked on or ganged up on because Mum and I usually agree to disagree with him. But I'm very grateful that I have a mother-in-law who's incredibly loving and supportive, someone with whom I actually have a lot in common, with whom I can have meaningful conversations and from whom I've learned a lot.
Because of Mum living with us, Gareth & I have gotten to spend more time with my sister-in-law Phedre and her boyfriend Josh. I lucked out in the sis-in-law department, too. Phedre's a sweet goof, Josh is a cool goof, both with lovely souls and they make a great couple. I told Mum once that her kids certainly zoned in on a particular "type" when picking their significant others, and she had to agree with me. They knew to pick partners who have an almost infinite amount of patience and who knew just how to absorb the ...frenzy... that erupts when the siblings are in each others presence. Maybe that's why Josh and I get along. Kind of like two soldiers battling side by side, caught in the crossfire. Call of Duty meets Family Fued.
Josh & Phedre arrived on Christmas day early enough for Josh & Gareth to watch a movie before the festivities. Gareth just had to watch Alien vs. Predator Requiem, and fortunately for me, Josh was game. With the stress of getting dinner ready and making sure the house of 4 chihuahuas and 7 cats was presentable, Josh was the one who managed to calm me down some by saying, "Thank you for having us in your beautiful home." So very thoughtful, that guy. I was touched. Phedre, he's a keeper.
While Mum and I cooked and cleaned, Gareth shot video for Trista & Jeff. I'm not happy that he caught me in my housewife attire, but like he said in the video, Santa managed to save his ass. After a short round on Rockband with Josh & Phedre - Oh! I have to tell you about our very FIRST attempt early in December, after Gareth got his review copy. I took the drums, Gareth on guitar and of course we had to have a lead singer and who else could that be but Mum?
We sucked sooo bad!
I couldn't hit a beat to save my life because I was falling off my chair laughing at Mum singing Nirvana and Gareth coaching her with, "Sing angry! Rock it, Mom! You have to yell!" Well, just try to imagine Nirvana's "In Bloom" in a pretty soprano voice with a Scottish accent. Yeah. That's why I had tears in my eyes and my stomach hurt from laughing. Neither G nor Mum had ever seen me crack up so much before.
Anyway, I took the video of Gareth, Phedre and Josh ...er..rockin' out. That was before the guys left to watch the movie, leaving Phedre, Mum and me to get girly and watch Swan Lake and have some hot buttered rum. Rhyana, Gareth's youngest sister, and her boyfriend Mat and his son Jaxon arrived for dinner after the guys got back.
Another reason I lucked out with my mother-in-law, she does Christmas stockings and she really, really, goes way overboard on Christmas gifts, one of the sweet qualities Gareth inherited. Thanks, Mum! :) The tradition is we have to distribute the stockings and the gifts first, then one by one open our gifts. This takes a good hour, but it's a lot of fun. Mum couldn't find the stockings this year, so she improvised using the stockings I made for the pets. Luckily, Gareth and I accidently took home our stockings last year, so we had ours. I don't remember which pet stockings the girls or Josh got, but I know Mat got Fable's. LoL...
My Christmas list stays basically the same every year. Pajama bottoms, anything from Bath & Body, king size sheet sets, candles and cookbooks. Oh, and power tools. I've yet to get my cordless drill yet. That may have to be Valentines or birthday. I tack on some "fun" stuff at Gareth's request. Fun to him means high ticket items. So for "fun" I said I'd like a Dyson Animal vacuum this year. Yeah, the $600 vacuum. I wasn't completely serious, but he asked me what I wanted, so that's what I said. Well, my man came through. I got everything on my Christmas list but the cordless drill. But I'm not complaining. I was incredibly spoiled by Gareth and the great gifts I received from Mum, Phedre & Josh and Rhyana & Mat was the icing on a very, very sweet cake.