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Griffin’s First Christmas

and many other things


There was a lot going on in December, as there usually is, and I was very slack in recording it, as I now tend to be. So you’ll get some highlights.

Berkley had a birthday get-together at the Pollard homestead. Tristen and I took the babies over there a little early and left before everyone got there, but we at least got to see some of the people we used hang out with when we were interesting.

We had a family photo session from La Bella Me, Shannon, who is our friend Leslie’s sister. She did some for us last year too and they turned out great.

We got dressed up and went out to eat for Tristen’s birthday. We weren’t sure where to go and ended up going to Dram + Morsel. It seemed like kind of a swanky place, and while some of the things on the menu were a little pricey, it really wasn’t too bad. We enjoyed the atmosphere, the food, and each other’s company.

Sam and Berk were at Sam’s Christmas party nearby and a bunch of people from her work went to Reel Cafe afterwards, so we met them there and hung out for a little bit.

Torrie was watching the sleeping kids, but Griffin woke up shortly after we got home. We had a great night, but I was bummed that it ended that way.

The next night was an ugly sweater party at Tristen’s parents’ house. Erin and Daniel, who have been in Wilmington for a few weeks now, came, as did Blake, Leslie, and Beau. Addy was going to come, but she didn’t know the address and neither Tristen nor I saw her texts until a bit too late.

The following Tuesday was the annual Christmas crafts with Nonny afternoon. I was swamped with work, but Tristen took Milly.

I volunteered at Milly’s school that Thursday. I was originally scheduled the previous week, but Laura was going to be out of town, which I didn’t know way back when I signed up, so nobody was going to be available to watch Griffin. When I rescheduled I chose that Thursday because they were having a Christmas party.

Usually when I do the volunteer thing, I float around to different classrooms, but none of them ended up needing me, so I spent pretty much the whole day with Milly’s class, which was nice. I helped with the Christmas party by helping with a game where the kids had to look around the playground area for hidden elves.

There was a dodgeball game with the class across the hall, and at first a lot of the girls in Milly’s class wanted to opt out. But between some cajoling form Mrs. Mueller and me doing a little coaching session (which gathered a much bigger crowd of kids than I expected), everyone in the class played. Not that anyone was keeping score, but Milly’s class got stomped. It was a lot of fun though. And it made me think back to when Milly was in Kindergarten and first grade and we’d have huge games of Duck Duck Goose or Red Rover (until we were told we couldn’t play that one anymore).

I wanted to chat with Byron, the school librarian, for a bit, but never got a chance to do it.

Milly had a half day that Friday, the beginning of the last weekend before Christmas, so Tristen and I loaded up the van and picked Milly up from her mom’s and headed to Gastonia to have Christmas with my side of the family. We let Erin and Daniel drive the Sorento since they only have a boat and there aren’t quite enough seats in the van for all of our brood plus the two of them.

My entire family was there, plus Jackson and Addy’s cousin Mia. She helped me make French toast Saturday morning? I can’t remember if it was Saturday or Sunday. We did Christmas that Saturday afternoon though.

There was a lot of sitting around and hanging out and talking and the usual stuff. Milly, Addy, and Mia mostly did their own thing. Everyone enjoyed the baby boys. They were particularly fun on Sunday night, just running around and being silly and having fun.

We left on the 23rd, which was Jackson’s 15th birthday. He, Josh, and Andra left the house early to go get his driver’s permit. They didn’t get back before we left, but he did pass the test.

Amanda picked Milly up the next afternoon. We went to dinner at Laura and Craig’s that night. We got home a bit late and it ended up being a bit of a to-do for the boys. It was a rough one.

Santa came on Christmas Day. We packed up some presents and the babies and went back to Laura and Craig’s that morning. I went and got Milly at 10 and brought her back to open presents. After a while we all went back to our house to open up a few more presents. Milly got a new bike, a blue beach cruiser. Almost everyone has commented that they really like the color.

All the boys went down for naps and Milly tried out Beat Saber, a VR game Jackson had shown me that my boss decided to get me for Christmas (it was on sale) until her mom came and got her to go do yet another Christmas. I think we counted eight different Christmases that she gets to partake in.

Oh, and she got an iPhone at her mom’s house. I assume that was from Santa, but I’m not totally sure. She got an 8. I have a 7 Plus, so hers is actually newer than mine.

Tristen had mentioned to me a while back that she was interested in getting a Fitbit. She said she had looked at those and at Apple Watches and figured the Fitbit did all she was interested in, plus she really liked the blue color of one of the models. So I got that for her for Christmas. And when I did that I got myself an Apple Watch (series 4, because there was a good deal on it and I didn’t think the extra money for the 5 was worth it for me).

I told her before she opened it though that what I got her, I got for me too, but mine was better and I felt a little bad about it, so I told her she could get what I got too.

She thought all she cared about was getting notifications on her watch, which the Fitbit could do, but she also liked the ability to use the watch as a phone, which the Fitbit does not do. I agreed that it would be a very useful feature for her, because she forgets her phone places with some regularity, and if she’s at a store she usually has her phone in the baby bag and doesn’t hear it if I call or text her.

So two days later we went to exchange it, but they didn’t have any of the cellular versions in the smaller size. (I didn’t get a cellular one, for the record, because they’re more expensive and I always have my phone on me, so I can still get alerts and calls on it via Bluetooth.) So then we spent some time at the Verizon store and got her all hooked up, though the watch didn’t come until New Year’s Eve.

The days blurred together what with all the funky holiday scheduling. There were a couple Duke games here and there, which they won. If they hadn’t had that terribly embarrassing loss to Stephen F. Austin, they would be the hands down top team right now. As it is, they did work themselves back up to #2. It’s been a crazy season with the #1 ranking shuffling around every couple weeks. Gonzaga’s there right now, and they’ll likely stay there for a while since they don’t play in a super tough conference. At least Carolina’s been awful lately. They’re not ranked and their fans are currently hoping they’ll even make the tournament.

On the matter of sports and Carolina sucking, the Panthers have been really bad this season too. Cam Newton went out early on and didn’t come back, although that didn’t seem to matter too much at first. But then the season went downhill and they even fired the coach, Ron Rivera, who was talking to the Redskins last I heard.

But I digress.

The Romeros came over on New Year’s Eve for a bit. Erin and Daniel walked over from the marina, taking a bit of a detour to go by a grocery store. The Romeros left while the boys were being put to bed. Erin and Daniel stuck around and played games with us. We played two rounds of Splendor and a bit of Cards Against Humanity. Erin then Tristen won Splendor. I came in second-to-last and last.

We watched the ball drop then we all went to bed not too much later.

Here’s a Gallery of Christmas Pictures for you.

Unfortunately I can’t get it to show all 200 of them. Apologies for that, but you can look at them on my Facebook page if you want.