And then "poof" it's over. The weeks of preparation and anticipation, Jip asking everyday how many days until xmas. We lit the lights, we baked the cookies, I attempted to balance the selection of presents perfectly, just occasionally getting carried away. And now we are left with piles of stuff, that still have to find a space in this house, if they ever will; we side step the police car, that makes shooting sounds, screaming "drop your guns, drop your guns" over and over (thank you, opa Dick), hop over the baby bed lying on it's side, that has already lost its pink ruffling, ignore the children pinching each other for possession of the educational video game and give in to the first call to watch Scooby-Doo for the 383rd time today, whilst softly rubbing the emotional sores that any good xmas seems to produce.
So, are the two hours of excited - let's call it hysterical, -shrieking, because Father Christmas has left "humongous" presents in front of the fireplace, worth it? Probably.
We never gave Rosie her bike because it came in a box in many pieces and had to be put together. We did not have all the tools, besides A. feels strongly against the principle of home assembly, so were sending it back, but have now missed the 30 day return period, so will be keeping it after all. I will assemble it, probably. The basketball hoop we gave Jip was actually too small for him so he towers over it, meaning there is not much challenge for him there, Rosie has not shown much interest in her biggest present, the Mickey Mouse club house, which falls apart at the slightest glance. Otherwise the children are happy.
The hot issue this year had to do with low resolution photo's, a wrong setting on my camera for 8 months, a photo book I took three weeks to make, A. taking my photography very seriously, stubborn, hurt, blah, blah blah. Please don't ask. Basically, A. and I did not talk much on xmas day, sulking beautifully as we squashed ourselves into a cab with kids and grandparents, food and presents, to make our way to Isabelle and Jeroen's house for xmas lunch.
Jeroen and Isabelle have just moved to a house in
Hillsborough , which is a very respectable suburb, south of SF. American bungalows set amongst green, leafy hills. A few of J & I neighbors had gone to great lengths to decorate their house and gardens for the festive season. I did not take any picture, as I was intending, but if you go to this site and scroll down a bit you will get the general idea. Fascinating stuff.
As soon as we arrived, Allard had to borrow a car to drive the 30 minutes back to SF, because we had forgotten the cheeses we had bought for dessert. This did not lighten the mood.
The ten adults started off with drinks around J&I's new swimming pool in the warmish sun, while the kids ran around, chasing each other. Xmas?
I wore a wig and a 1940's dress and looked like a drag queen, attempting to look like a young (dark) Farah Fawcett, which complimented the surroundings quite well.
Everyone drank a lot of wine and became a little rowdy. I ate a lot of chocolate and vowed to drink a lot of wine next year. At eight 'o clock we all squashed ourselves back into a cab to go back to SF, several passengers falling into a deep sleep on the back seat shortly after, however, not before declaring the day a "GREAT" success.
On boxing day, which is not a holiday here, we, kids and grandparents, in one car again, drove down to Half Moon Bay, which is not as romantic as it sounds, but a nice stop on the Highway 1, just down the coast from SF. After lunch, we stopped at the beach, but it was cold and windy. All cobwebs gone in a matter of minutes.
My birthday was super duper. A and I, cheerful as ever, went into town in the early afternoon and watched not one but two movies, while the kiddies stayed at home with grandparents. We saw "Charlie Wilson's war" and "Juno", both of which come highly recommended by us, so you know. Afterwards a meal. For this birthday, I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend the day. Next year bar hopping.
For New Years we will be keeping a low profile. A quiet start to what will undoubtedly be a better year. Not that this one was all terrible.
Hope you all have a great start to the New Year in Normandy.