Christmas present

becomes another Christmas past (always liked the double entendre implied in Dickens' A Christmas Carol: Ghost of 'Christmas present'). it was a nice one, as i was / we all were able to spend it with my / our entire family- something remarkably rare.

i finished wrapping Loren's gifts unusually early this year, despite a later-than-average start on my shopping, and got a bit more sleep than i'm used to on Christmas Eve; another welcome change.

as normal (when Loren's here on Christmas), Loren spent the morning opening his gifts from me (and those Santa brought him). usually Santa brings me something as well, which is really very thoughtful of him. Santa gave me a box of Boston baked beans (the candy, one of my favorites) in my stocking, as well as some gummi bears (another fave), and a much needed box of pencils for the cup on my desk, which has been conspicuously bare for weeks now. two things i like and one i needed; i certainly can't complain.

i also took matters into my own hands this year, buying a dart board that can accept either steel or soft-tip darts, and scores electronically. i've been wanting a steel-tip board for a long time, and it should provide us a decent return in amusement for the money.

i also splurged and bought another freestanding lamp for the living room, since it's usually dark when i get home from work, and what i've had in the living room proves insufficient to get the place clean. it's full-on winter shedding season for Chowder, and the dog hair's going to be a constant battle for weeks.

got some nice pictures today, which i'll eventually get to posting somewhere...and sending along to those who've requested them (or will now....), which brings to mind both the nagging USB interface problem which seems to linger on in this computer, and the running back-theme of if i should establish my own domain.....something else to chew on, but not tonight.

i got too many nice presents from my Most Excellent family to name in the time i'm willing to spend posting tonight, including a couple rather unexpected belated birthday presents. many thanks to everyone! Loren enjoyed himself, and it was great watching Ethan and Cole.

i wrapped some books for Cole in a box that was large enough but too deep, so i packed an old bath towel in the box on top of the books to keep it from collapsing while wrapping it. when Cole opened the gift he pulled out that frayed, old, pink towel and exclaimed, "I got a towel!"- which was hilarious. i tried to explain to him that it wasn't his gift but he wanted none of that- he was happy with the towel. Loren tried to help him out by taking the books out of the bottom of the box for him, at the same time as i was trying to direct Cole's attention back to the "real" contents of the box, so of course Cole saw an empty box that everyone was trying to convince him held his real present! totally funny. Jason said he'd be pretty tempted to let him have the towel. have to admit i was tempted to do just that myself; but Nichole had intervened by this point and directed his attention to the books. all in all, i think Ethan and Cole liked the little Superman and Batman action figures the best of what Loren and i gave them.

we give up a lot which has value, growing up, and we don't notice it until it's a moot point. it's really a joy to have children around to remind us of who were were, and how we used to relate to the world.

i took a picture of Loren with my parents before we left this evening, and Loren stood between them, with his arms comfortably around their shoulders. he's in between Mom and Dad in height now. there's not a lot of little left in him, and i'm going to miss him when he's out in the world. sometimes, maybe especially times like Christmas, i miss him already. five years, ten years from now....i can't imagine. i'm going to have to find something to fill in the big hole that'll leave, because right now....there's nothing else there.

Loren decided Chowder would have a better time staying home in the warm house than staying out on the deck or out in my folks' back yard (he'd be much too rambunctious in their house with a crowd like we had), so that's what he did. i slipped him a half dozen dog treats and a big piece of roast beef as we left. this evening, as Loren and i capped off the day with a little Deep Space Nine on DVD, Chowder got some more of my Boston baked beans, and one of Loren's Milk Duds, and he helped himself to a couple pig ears from the open bag in the den. i think he felt like he made out OK today, too.

off to work tomorrow to earn the mortgage payment and the first dent in the Christmas credit card bills. Jason & Melissa are off for the week, and Loren's going to spend the day with them tomorrow. Melissa generously offered to come pick him up tomorrow, which gives me an extra half-hour to an hour of sleep (quite welcome) and Loren and Melissa even more...plus Loren gets to hang out in the house and sort of acquaint himself with some of his new stuff.

so, ol' inf here's for the sack.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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