Well, as the year that Jay didn't update the website often at all rolls on, big things are afoot. Zoe's off of the pacifiers now in what was possibly the most painless plugectomy of all time. Andrya made up a song for Zoe called "bye bye plugs" (which is quite possibly Zoe's most favorite song in the history of ever) that apparenly has magic powers when it comes to calming Zoe down no matter how agitated she is. Gold star for you, Andrya.
Niklas's godfather was in town last weekend which was super popular with Niklas. Also, Niklas got his report card the other day which was pret-tay, pret-tay, pretty good. So there's that.
So, I'm please to report that this year's Christmas Tour Of All Of Illinois Except The Part Over By Iowa And Really, Why Would Anyone Want To Go There Anyway was our shortest ever! We kicked things off at home on the 22nd when the kids were allowed to open the presents that my Grandma got for them. My Grandma is under the (correct) impression that my children like toys that make ridiculous amounts of noise, so we got to watch a baby dinosaur walk about and roar whilst being circled by a Mustang who's modifications are certainly not street legal for what seemed like an eternity. Well done, Grandma.
Since we're out of town on Christmas, we let the kids get up at 6:00 on the 23rd to open presents at home. This seemed like an awesome plan until I heard Niklas pacing about starting around 5:00 as he waited for the Christmas Counter-Downer to complete it's mission of counting down the hours until the appointed present opening hour. After an hour of door, stomp stomp stomp, pause, stomp stomp stomp, door, repeat, the kids spent between 25 seconds or so (Niklas) and about half an hour (Zoe) tearing through paper. Niklas loaded up on super hero and Star Wars related gear whilst Zoe got a baby doll with about a real baby's amount of accessories. Not that I'm some sort of baby doll afficianado, but I had never seen a baby doll that came with her own wipes.
Once we had fueled up on some doughnuts, we packed up the car and headed down to Bloomington to see Grandma and Grandpa Meeker. I was quite excited that Zoe did not smash up their Christmas tree or (rather elaborate) nativity set. Never let it be said that Zoe is not filled with the spirit of Christmas. Lady von Z took a nap while Niklas and his Grandpa played with Uncle Eric's old Star Wars guys in the basement before further present opening. This featured a Sesame Street Zoe Monster doll that Zoe (logically) got from her godfather and a ton of books for Niklas from his grandparents.
On Christmas Eve, we drove down to Belleville for Andrya's extended family Christmas celebration. Both children had a blast eating, running about and opening presents which, since they were the only children present, they received a lot of. I spent the afternoon keeping Zoe from escaping the party room as part of her quest run about the restaurant, drinking Stag and laughing to myself at all of the Rams' fans who had just been Batched. After Zoe and Niklas thanked everyone for the fabulous gifts, we headed off to Andrya's Uncle Malcolm and Aunt Margaret's house for further merriment and face stuffing. Uncle Malcolm had built an elaborate Lincoln Log fort which was subsequently Zoe'd and rebuilt in much less elaborate fashion (you might call it somewhat pile-ish) by Niklas. Eventually, we retired to Deric and Kendra's (Zoe's Godmother, as you know) house where Zoe threw stuffed animals at Niklas's head until they both fell asleep.
The next day, we drove across the state to Grandma Vennard's house in St. Francisville. My spoiled, spoiled children collected yet another impressive haul of presents and were allowed to eat cookies even though they did not eat much in the way of actual lunch or dinner. Also, Zoe was apparently stunned to learn that live cats may move a bit when you pet them. Even though my mom's house is filled with smashables, nothing got broken despite Niklas's acquisition of a lightsabre and Zoe's general propensity for destruction. A Christmas miracle!
On the 26th, we drove home and I resolved to never drive anywhere again ever.