Subtitle: The Monson/Hoops Family Secular Holiday Extravaganza (TMHFSHE for short. Pronounced “tem-fishy”)
As far as I’m concerned, Christmas doesn’t exist in sunny Southern California. I mean sure, we went to see Santa one Saturday at The Americana at Brand:
And yes, there were even ::shudder:: palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights. But since Simon and I ran away to Missouri on 12/21, and Jeff followed after work on 12/24, well, I’m happy to take the “we didn’t see it so it doesn’t exist” stance. Our goal for the tem-fishy was simple: see as much family as possible. Best give Simon an early introduction to what he’s up against (poor little dude). First of all, I’ve gotta say that he was *awesome* on our two red-eye flights. He snuggled into the wrap and slept on me the whole way from LAX to DFW, then was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (shit. I’ve gotta make the appointment to get that removed.) from DFW to KCI. I mean, look how happy he was to get his diaper changed at gate D23! That was at 4am. Seriously. Other highlights of the first trip included a surprisingly chipper TSA agent at LAX who made the whole security theater a tolerably fun experience (really!), and a spectacularly horrible egg bagel from Au Bon Pain in Dallas. Whee! When we landed and collected our bag and met with Mom and Dad (who were kind enough to come pick us up even though there was thick ice on all the highways. And there I was all ready to hitchhike to Gladstone…), Mom fairly sprinted to grab Simon from me. I’ve never seen her move that fast, even that time when Ryan tried to run into traffic in the Wal-Mart parking lot when I was like 6. I guess I underestimated the power of The Grandbaby. Simon was happy to get some boob and conk out when we got to their house, enjoying his new favorite napping spot: (little did he remember it was also one of his old favorite napping spots) After I had the chance to eat lunch and unwind a little bit, we loaded up the wee little jetlagged boy and headed to Grandma’s nursing home to say hi. (It’s so nice that she’s just a couple miles from my parents and my aunt now.) She hadn’t seen Simon since August either, and seemed impressed with how he’s grown :-) He thought she was pretty cool, too :) (Simon is Grandma’s 9th great-grandchild, if I’m counting correctly.) The next day Mom and I ran a couple errands and Simon spent plenty of time cuddling with her and Dad. Jeff got to stay in LA and work (talk about getting the short end of the stick) That night, Dad read him some stories… …while Mom launched an impromptu pillow fight: (She made me promise not to post that picture. Oops.) Also? Notice how my child isn’t wearing socks in any of these pictures? That’s because Little Mr. Bigfoot decided that it would be a good time to have a MASSIVE foot growth spurt. So until we went to Kohl’s and bought *12-24 month socks*, his old ones wouldn’t stay on his stinkin’ feet. 12-24 months. Seriously. I have no idea where he gets it. Proof: Also, evidence of how delicious Grammy’s arm apparently is.
We spent the evening of the 23rd working on a SUPER SEEKRIT sewing project. That’s when I learned that a “super easy 1-hour pattern” is LIES LIES LIES. So then Mom got to spend the afternoon of the 24th working on it, too. I also learned that I’d bit off a bit more than I could chew, so I’m glad that I had an expert sewist to do all the tricky bits.
On Christmas eve we went to visit my other set of grandparents at their retirement home. Granddad’s made nearly a full recovery from his illness this summer, and Grandmother’s having the time of her life making friends with everybody in her “neighborhood” (aka wing of the building :-D). Aunt Linda and Uncle Jeremy came up from Sedalia to meet Simon, and then we all had lunch with Grandmother in the dining room so she could show the little dude off to all her friends. I think she dragged us to just about every table in the place! :-D It was pretty awesome – I just wish Jeff could’ve been there!
(The last time they met, in August)
Simon played on the floor of Grandmother’s apartment, and even busted out a laugh or two. I’m proud of my little performer!
(“What’ve you been up to, Great-Granddad?” “Getting well. What about you?” “Growin’.”)
He also gave his Great-Granddad a real, proper kiss on the cheek! No one seemed to mind that it was a bit slobbery :-D
Simon’s obsessed with cups and glasses and watching people drink. But he also loved cuddling with his Great-Aunt Linda :-)
After lunch we headed home, then went to pick up Jeff at the airport. This was our Christmas Eve evening:
No one read “The Night Before Christmas”, but we did put some cozy new jams (curtesy of Aunt Julie) on the Littlest Christmas Elf, and told him that after making a good sleep, Santa would come.
He was rather incredulous. Good little skeptic! :-)
Proof that I was there too:
Simon decided to sleep in on his very first Christmas morning. Merry Christmas to us! :-D But when he woke up, there were presents! Like a wooden teether from Grammy Granddad:
Santa even brought me something:
Simon’s gift to Grammy and Granddad:
Mom and Dad were much more excited to receive Simon’s clay handprint than mine and Jeff’s. I suppose they don’t care how little our hands are. Psh.
Jeff’s Christmas Socks this year are Malabrigo, in “Onyx”. Plain stockinette. BECAUSE THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM.
I gave Mom some handspun:
Just proving that you’re never too old to give your mom crappy homemade presents. :-D (Said handspun is currently being knitted up into a snuggly little shawlette that I wish I could keep for myself. Alas.)
Oh, and remember that super secret sewing project? It was these:
Man-sized Star Wars pyjama pants, to match Simon’s! Either Jeff really likes him, or he’s good at faking elation. Either way, awwwwwww.
I didn’t take any pictures of Christmas dinner, but Dad cooked a feast for the five of us. And it was delicious. NOM.
We spent the last few days in Kansas City seeing more relatives (and some of the same ones for a second time):
Olivia is his closest cousin in age, on my mom’s side (on my dad’s side there’s little Jett, who turns 3 this month).
We all had so much fun hanging out at Aunt Judy’s, eating leftover Christmas cookies and receiving (apparently) much-needed advice. (Love ya, guys! :-P)
(My mom captioned that one “a meeting of the Kansas City chapter of the Simon Hoops fan club”)
The next day, Mom and Dad took us to a Brazilian restaurant where waitstaff walk around with giant spears of meat:
Needless to say, this experience was more fun for Jeff than for me, but I did get a good sangria and a nice salad bar :-D
Storytime with Daddy and Granddad:
(I think Jeff was learning as much as Simon! “Ohh…chicks are YELLOW!”.)
Jeff flew home on 12/30, and I followed the next day with Little Dude (who, against my mom’s protests, I did insist upon bringing along). This was his fifth flight!
As soon as we got to LA, it was back to our old routine:
Then a couple weeks later we were on the move again…but that’ll be another post! :)
PS>It has taken me two freaking weeks to write this post. Simon has discovered the fun of banging on keyboards, rending nursing time useless for blogging. I hope you appreciate it :-D