What with the Covid going on and all, and the fact that the numbers have been spiking as a vaccine is rolling out, we didn’t see any of my family this year. Not in person, anyway. I did a Whatsapp video chat with my parents (who contributed significantly to our Christmas, thank you!) because they don’t have iPhones and a FaceTime call with Andra. I tried Erin and Adam, but wasn’t able to get them. Andra later initiated a Zoom call with everyone and I did see Adam (and Rae) on that, but not Erin. She might have joined later, as I wasn’t on very long. We were at the Schauers’ at the time and everyone was waiting on me to open Secret Santa gifts.

Milly got dropped off around 9:00 last night after doing Christmas with her mom’s mom’s immediate family. I was close to finishing some present wrapping by that time, and when I did finish she helped put the presents out before going to bed.

Tristen also wrapped up a few more things and put a few final things out before going to bed. I’ve been itching to play some PlayStation for a bit, but I’ve always got stuff to do- if not for clients then for myself, but I spoiled myself and played a little bit of Red Dead Redemption 2 before going to bed myself.

We’re watching Charlie and Finn, dogs belonging to our friends Drew and Leigh. Finn was apparently not a fan of the train that went by our house at about 2:15, so he barked at that, which might have been okay but it got our dog, Hazel, who sleeps in our room, to do a good bit of grumbling and barking herself, so I got up after a few minutes and let all the dogs out.

Then sometime around 5 Finn got upset at something else, so that repeated. I wasn’t able to fall back asleep after that and finally got up for good around 6:40.

Milly got up around 7, maybe a few minutes after. The boys sleep thingy changes from a low orange light and white noise to bright green and chirping birds at 7:10, but I didn’t hear anything from their room until 7:15, at which point I was changing and Tristen had just woken up.

The boys come out to see the Christmas tree everyday anyway, but they were totally in wonder to see the presents under the tree.

Growing up, my family’s Christmas morning tradition was to dig into the stockings then the oldest kid (that would be me) would pass out the presents, then we’d go one by one from youngest to oldest taking turns opening up the presents.

With three kids under three, that obviously didn’t happen. Most of the boys’ presents were addressed to all of them (which we won’t do as they get older), so you’d have one or two playing with whatever was just opened then another one or two trying to open up the next present. So it was a little bit of chaos this year, but I’m hoping to do it the way my family always did once they’re a little more controllable.

They got a number of toys. Cars, dinosaurs, bubble blowers… I picked up a pack of 35 Pixar figurines for $5 at Costco the other day. Tristen gave a bunch to Torrie to give to Bash and Gabriel, but there were plenty left here. Santa brought a glider (that’s what we call it- it’s a bike-like contraption) and a balance bike, which is a bike without pedals. Milly learned how to ride a bike thanks to one we borrowed from a classmate of hers.

I, though, was most excited about them getting some Toy Story toys. We got them a Woody (with Bullseye), Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and Rex. Those went over really well, particularly the Buzz and the Rex, which both have buttons to make them talk. Griffin was pretty into the Jessie toy for a bit. I told Tristen maybe he’s got a thing for redheads.

Milly’s biggest gift was Super Smash Bros Ultimate for her Nintendo Switch. She also got some clothes, including a nice coat and a Stranger Things t-shirt, a Gravity Falls hardcover comic, and something called Wreck this Journal. It encourages outside-the-box thinking with different instructions for each page, like “Crack the spine” and “Climb up high and drop the journal” and “Glue, staple, or tape these pages together.” It literally wants you to wreck the thing, and she was having a good time glancing through it. She’ll have some fun with it I think.

The present I ordered for Tristen was supposed to arrive by yesterday. It did not. So last night when I went out to grab some Chinese takeout for my wife and I, I stopped and picked up some lottery tickets. It’s lame, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything else on such short notice and between the Mega Millions and Powerball, the winnings are close to $700 million. How cool would it be to win just one of those with a Christmas gift because a gift didn’t come on time?

Unfortunately, the scratch-offs were duds and we found out tonight that the Mega Millions didn’t pan out, so we’re down to just the Powerball ticket, so there’s a chance, however infinitesimal, that we could win $341 million. That would be nice.

Nobody’s holding their breath.

I’d say what Milly made for Tristen, which I honestly think she did a nice job with, but she did it for a few other people who haven’t received their gifts yet, so I don’t want to spoil it on the off-chance that they’ll read this.

For me she painted a Duke iron D on a field of blue, which I thought was really great. I’ll need to figure out a place to hang it.

Tristen bought us a plot of land in Scotland, making us a lord and lady of Glencoe. It’s kind of a novelty thing, but it’s a nice cause and it’s legit.

Nonnie came by with lots of presents for the kids. I can’t remember everything, so I’m not even going to try right now. It was getting close to time to take Milly back to her mom’s, so I took her down the street to the Romero house for some gift exchanging then took her to Amanda’s.

Back at the house, the boys were all playing with their toys, which is great because they haven’t been super into actual toys up until recently. Fawkes was playing with the Toy Story gang the most. Phoenix was lining up all the Pixar figurines. Oh, and some Minion figurines that came with a book/game. Griffin was playing with whatever he could get his hands on. There was a little fighting here and there, but it wasn’t too bad.

We all went to the Romeros’ where Craig and Torrie were making brunch and the kids all got some more stuff. Since it’s literally just a few houses down, I let Fawkes “drive” on the way there, Phoenix on the way back.

We got back and put the boys down for naps. I took one myself, but Tristen, who was also tired, decided to stay up and clean and such, even though I told her she should nap too. I knew she wouldn’t.

I’d had a nice long nap by the time she woke me up around 3:00. She took a shower while I made sure the boys didn’t break too much (or each other) and then we went over to her parents’ house for yet more presents and dinner.

A Christmas dinner tradition of theirs is to have these popper things that have little prizes in them. They also have a piece of paper with some jokes, trivia questions, and a charade. I got everyone’s charades pretty quickly. Not to sound like I’m bragging, but I was even a little surprised at how quick I got them. Laura got mine (which was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.)

We got back around 8, about an hour after the boys’ normal bedtime. They went down pretty easily though. Tristen and I looked through pictures I took of the evening (which you’ll find below) and then I started uploading them to Google and typing this while she tried to stay awake to watch the end of her favorite Christmas movie, Scrooged, because she hadn’t seen the end of it yet this year. She did fall asleep, but I woke her up during the end of it to help her accomplish her lofty goal.