Late nights and later nights

And – surprise – in the middle of it all – a much cleaner house!   Hooray!  I finally just put my foot down on New Years Eve and made enough progress that I felt inspired to do more.  I also had to cut Mike’s hair – he was starting to look rather Beatle-ish – so I was forced to clear out the living room and then sweep/vacuum very thoroughly after cutting it.  Last night I found out that Jenny’s friend was coming over today, so I decided to clean up the kitchen table, too.

All in all, I cleaned the stove top, the counters, the table, and the living room floor.  The kids’ got a bit of help from us last night cleaning up their room as well.  As for the subject of late nights, this time of year always calls for many nights of game playing, movie watching, etc. that keep us up late.  New Years Eve has called for the same event the last few years – the Amendt party.  In the past, it included a bottle rocket war around midnight (yes, shooting bottle rockets at each other…and no, I never did join in on that one) and general merry making until the wee hours of the morning out at my brother-in-law’s parents house.  Since he married Mike’s sister, the party has been in town, and minus the bottle rockets – last year at his cousin’s house and this year at their place.  We put the kids to bed sometime before midnight and then stayed around and played games until…wait for it…five in the morning.  Yes, we stayed out that late – and we have three kids!  It can be done without getting a babysitter or sacrificing your kids health or well being – provided the place you’re going has a place for the kids to sleep.  You may very well sacrifice your own well being, but if it helps you to enjoy a little adult conversation and clean fun, more power to you.  Mike and I played three or four games each and I spent a lot of time just talking to people I haven’t seen for a year or more.  The kids went to bed early, but didn’t actually go to sleep unil two or three in the morning.  We went back into that bedroom more times than I could count, putting them back into bed and giving firm talking-to’s each time until around three, when I finally gave up and set up a playpen downstairs  for Elias to sleep in.  After that, it didn’t take long before both were sound asleep.  The merits of this situation were that the kids slept in much later than normal on New Years Day.  We fell asleep by five-thirty and managed to stay in bed until noon, when the kids had finally had enough play time – probably an hour and a half or so – and wanted to get up.  Then Mike got up and I went back to sleep for another hour and a half.  Nap time came around three for the kids and again, I went back to sleep.  Despite the lack of sleep Mike was suffering for, we were up fairly late last night as well.  After the haircut and clean up, we watched some Simpsons before we went to bed.

Ah, yes.  The Simpsons.  We drew names this Christmas and Mike ended up with seasons three and nine of The Simpsons on DVD from our brother-in-law.  We then went to Wal Mart a few days ago to check out their Boxing Week specials.  Mike managed to find seasons four, five and six for fifteen dollars each and bought all three.  I bought the first season of I Love Lucy for twelve dollars on Boxing Day, and when we went back, Mike found the second season for the same price, so now we’re really loaded up.  The kids got at least three movies for Christmas and I bought Mike one, so we have plenty of new stuff to watch.  Thankfully the kids got lots of really neat stuff to play with as well (not to say they need lots of stuff, but it is good to get things other than movies). 

As for what I ended up with for Christmas, it was perhaps my best Christmas yet since I’ve been married.  Mike listened carefully and I ended up with every little thing I had asked for, even when I was just throwing ideas out there.  I certainly didn’t expect to get as much as I did.  Alaina had my name and bought me a folding table and a scrapbook organizer.  I don’t scrapbook, but I do make cards, and so I collect scrapbooking paper for the purpose of card making.  The table is so that I can set it up and do crafts or sewing without taking up space on my table or desk.  Mike got me a sewing machine case, a cast iron pan and a pasta maker.  Feminists would probably be terribly offended by these gifts, but they nearly made me cry, I was so pleased with them.  I had mentioned briefly that I wanted a pasta machine, but I really didn’t expect to get one, so this was the big surprise.  Along with all of this, I got a bunch of little things in my stocking (my mother-in-law does stockings for all of us still – yay!) and the first season of Malcolm in the Middle in a gift exchange.  We had a typical family gift exchange game – all but two of us ended up with our own gifts.  The rule, regardless of price, is that you buy something that you wouldn’t mind keeping, so that no one is vastly disappointed at the end.  The downside to this rule is that the fun of getting something surprising is gone when you end up with the gift that you shopped for and wrapped up yourself.  Mike got a Lemony Snicket book – The Lump of Coal, which was maybe not quite worth fifteen dollars, but is a good book to have on hand if you’re a Lemony Snicket fan. 

Anyway, all in all, a very good Christmas, gifts or no gifts.  We played lots of games and spent lots of time with the family here.

Oh, yeah, one piece of information I recieved prior to Christmas that I haven’t yet shared here:

My brother joined the US Navy in April.  He met a girl and started dating her in September.  Two weeks ago, I got a phone call from him that I was expecting and some news that I definitely wasn’t.  He was home for Christmas, so I was waiting for the call, and after a few sentences, he says he has some exciting news to tell me.  I thought I had it all figured out – he got engaged, he must have…he’s been going on about how he loves this girl and she’s the one, etc. for a while now.  So I threw it out there thinking I’d be ahead of his game.  “No,” he said…and then the shock:

“I already got married three weeks ago.” 

Yikes.  Anyway, this is the biggest shock I’ve had in my adult life.  Bigger than when my sister said she was pregnant at seventeen.  With that, I had a little bit of warning – this one completely broadsided me.  So I set about immediately to sending my new sister-in-law (too weird!!) a Christmas present.  I haven’t heard back from her yet, so no word on whether she got it or liked it, but at least I got it in the mail before Christmas. 

Anyway, at the moment, my kids and Jenny’s friend are eating soup and I am getting used to being called “Jenny’s mom” or rather, “Um, Denny’s mom?!”.  She keeps letting me know that things have happened – Jenny’s cup is empty, the baby rolled over, Elias is stinky (he wasn’t), she’s hungry, has to go to the bathroom, etc.  It took me a minute to realize she was talking to me – can that really be me, “Jenny’s mom”?  I told her what my name was, since I have no hang ups about being called by my first name – actually, I prefer it to making poor innocents try to pronounce my last name – but she just keeps calling me Jenny’s mom.  So be it, I’m proud to be Jenny’s mom.  She is pretty cool.

Here’s to getting to bed early tonight (yeah, right…).

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