Dec 20, 2010

The Great Gingerbread Debacle of 2010

(Also known as our Christmas weekend with family.)

For those (like Martha) who don't care to read ALL the details of our weekend, I will begin first with a few words that ultimately describe the past weekend: cousins, noise, bouncing balls, gingerbread, noise, fatigue, cake balls, noise, Jeffery, surprise party, noise, an air mattress, noise, lack of sleep, noise, and noise.

Now, for those friends and family who are interested in what all that means, prepare yourself for a post "as long as my arm", as we say here in Mississippi.

We knew for several weeks (or months, I can't even remember anymore) that this weekend was going to be our busiest of the season. I really didn't expect it to be so bad. And it wasn't bad, exactly. It was just exhausting. For. All. Of. Us.

We (Sara Madalin and I) started our weekend with a visit Friday morning to see Ms. Ann and Ms. Nancy. We haven't seen them in a month or so and I wanted Sara Madalin to visit with them before the holidays. So, we went by and spent about an hour with them. Sara Madalin was very interested in all the things Ms. Ann was doing to the turkey she was preparing for the church's Christmas meal. She kept asking what Ms. Ann was doing. I told her, "She's cooking." Then I jokingly said to Ms. Ann, "She doesn't see her Mommy do much of that, so she's pretty fascinated right now."

After we left them, we came home and had a little nap. Or, she did. I didn't really nap because my phone kept buzzing with phone calls, emails, and text messages. Not that I'm complaining (much), but looking back, I think that little nap would have been good for me.

When she got up from her nap, I prepared some ingredients in the crock pot so we could enjoy chili with my family later that night. Then, we headed south to get my Daddy. He, my sister, Brandi, and her 3 children spent the night with us Friday night. (My brother-in-law had work and church commitments and was unable to make it.) That's where all the noise I referenced earlier in my post came in. But it was good noise. Noise of active cousins enjoying time together. Sara Madalin loved having them all over. She kept running around with the boys and telling them, "Come to my room you guys!" Of course, there were arguments and fights, and tattling. And my sister, who kept reminding me, "You're the one who wanted all of us at your house." She's got the gift of encouragement, in case you've never met her.

To accomodate sleeping everyone, we bought an air mattress. Reagan had LOTS of helping inflating it.

Being the attentive hostess that I am, I let my Daddy, sister, and Reagan handle the kids while I set about putting together my first gingerbread house. I'm just going to be honest with you, it wasn't pretty. (And just in case you're like my husband, I'll go ahead and answer your question, NO, I did not read the instructions. I only looked at the pictures of the completed house on the box and felt I was more than capable of putting it together. Don't judge me.)

As you can see, the icing obviously expands when air hits it. Or something. The roof kept sliding and the side walls kept caving into the house. So, I thought I could just hold it together for a few minutes.

My sister (who was providing quite a bit of encouragement, I might add) informed me that the instructions on the box said that it needed to set for at least 30 minutes before I should start decorating. 30 minutes? Who's got 30 minutes? I had potato salad and cake balls to make. So, I started working with the fondant and placed a few pieces on the roof. Bad move.

And that's where, I believe, the weekend began to head down hill.

(I should also note that my apron says, "When I said I do, I didn't mean the cooking.")

On a sweeter note, here are the children watching a movie with my Daddy. Jeremiah and Sara Madalin, when they stopped long enough, both stayed in his lap any time he was seated.

Sara Madalin slept with us in our bed. That never really works out well. She likes to sleep in our bed. She doesn't exactly like for us to sleep when she's in our bed. Oh, and one vital piece of information I've neglected - she tasted quite a few of those cake balls I eventually made Friday night. Plus, whenever anyone left their cup within her reach, she helped herself to a sip or 4. And the cups usually contained sweet tea, or straight caffeine if you're her. So, around 11:00, when I finally got her to sleep, I knew it would be a long night for Reagan and me. Saturday morning my sister asked me, "Were y'all trying to kill her at 2:00 this morning?"

No... that would have been our child screaming for a cup of milk, because, obviously, I couldn't hear her any other way.

We were all up Saturday morning by 7:00 (or it could have been earlier - again I can't remember I. Was. So. Tired.). Reagan and Brandi took care of breakfast while I tried to take a bath. And because Sara Madalin hadn't had enough fun sleeping right underneath me all night, she stood beside the bathtub the whole time I was in it crying and saying, "I want take a bath Mommy. I want take a bath." I do love that girl, but a bath... that's all I wanted... a nice, quiet, hot bath.

Finally, my other sister, Beth, and her husband and boys arrived. We ate lunch and the kids and Daddy opened gifts.

Then they all left.

But the fun didn't end there.

After they left, we took a quick nap (again, all in our bed) then headed out to a surprise birthday party for Scooter. I wrote about that in my last post. We were all pretty tired and went to bed around 10:00 or so in preparation for the next day.

Sunday morning, we headed to church for what was actually the most calm we had all weekend. We had a small group in Sunday school, but really enjoyed the intimate class and lesson. Worship was wonderful and the special music was my favorite contemporary Christmas song, "A Strange Way to Save the World." God knew I needed that little bit of calm in the middle of our weekend. Here's a picture of our girl Sunday morning before we headed out the door for church.

After church, we grabbed a quick lunch, then headed to Reagan's parents for Christmas with them. I was hoping to get Sara Madalin down for a little bit of a nap before everyone arrived. I knew she would be very difficult for the rest of the afternoon and night if I didn't. And I'll be honest, I was exhausted and could have really used a nap too.

But it didn't happen. Everyone came in and she heard them and wouldn't settle down for anything. So, we went back in the living room and she ran and played and got into everything. They thought it was hilarious.

Did I mention I was tired? Yeah, so much so that I didn't take one photo. Luckily Reagan snapped a few or we wouldn't have any of Jeffery this year. (That's a family joke. He's Mrs. Brown's favorite.) Timothy, Mitch, Mandy, Jeffery, and Mallory sitting around as we waited for Cheyene and Sara Madalin to open their gifts.

Sara Madalin made us some red soup while we waited. She told us it was red. And hot. She's very much into pretending these days. It's really sweet to watch her and funny to hear her.

We left there around 5:00 Sunday afternoon and Sara Madalin was so sleepy that she could hardly hold her cup to her mouth. She was sitting in her car seat with her eyes closed, trying to eat some loop-loops. She was exhausted, and asleep about 6 minutes after we pulled out of the drive-way.

It was a hectic, busy, NOISY weekend, but it was a weekend with family. And we don't have those very often. Although I'm exhausted, I am thankful for our families and the time we got to spend with them. No matter how crazy they are (or how crazy they make me), I'm glad we have them and we are all still able to spend time together. Only, next year, I think we'll make a little more effort to spend time together on separate weekends. Sara Madalin and I need some recovery time in between all the excitement and activity. And if you could see Reagan right now, you would probably see him shaking his head and saying, "YES! They most definitely do."

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Laura said...

And THAT, my friend, is why I DON'T do gingerbread houses {see my post from last week}!!

Ashley said...

Dont feel bad about the Gingerbread House! Its really hard to get all of the walls and roof up and STAY up ha!

Jeffrey Brown said...

Haha... thanks for the shout-out!

Ashlee McCrary said...

Wow! Sounds like a crazy weekend! I'm glad I read your info about the gingerbread house. I'm supposed to put one together with Rylie on Thur. Dreading it, but the husband bought it for us so hopefully it'll turn out!