Friday, December 24, 2010
This is one of those days where it's almost impossible to pick just one picture. What should it be of? The kids at the fire station? Making Candles? Sitting in front of the fire? All the cousins in their matching pajamas? The tree as it looked right before all the grown ups headed to bed? I have 152 pictures of this day and picking one was difficult to say the least. After cycling through about 5 of my favorites I just picked this one of my Dad and Miss E and my nephew right before dinner. When I think of Christmas Eve this is what I think of. Beautiful table, french onion soup, the finest wine and my family.
We started out today by taking meeting my sister and her family at the fire station. Actually, I started today packing up all our crap to take to my parents, losing my keys, frantically looking for them, calling Peter in tears that my keys were lost (left at my parents last night) and having my brother-in-law Jason bring them down to my house. After all that, we went to the fire station.
This is one of the really sucky things about being married to a firefighter. Holidays. There is no guarantee that he will be home for them. In fact, a full 1/3 of Christmases he will be working. It has been this way for 9 years now, since he got hired, and will probably be this way for another 20 or so. There is no vacation or guaranteed time off for Christmas and no extra pay for working it. Working Christmas Eve this year is better than him working Christmas but still, he missed playing Santa and will miss the kids opening up their stockings and the look on their faces as they head down stairs on Christmas morning. At 4 and 6, these are not things you want to miss. I have offered to have the kids wait on their stockings but Peter is always very gracious about the whole thing and doesn't want us to change our routine or wait. I wouldn't either in his shoes but I still miss him.
Back to the fire station. Peter gave us the super deluxe family tour and each of the kids got to use the hose on the engine to put out a live flare and just spray the hose around some. We had mac and cheese for lunch, sat in the swivel chairs, went (partially) down the pole, got hooked up to the heart monitor and played in the weight room. Peter got dressed up in his gear and showed the kids all his air pack alarms and his axe belt. The kids also got to ride in the engine as he drove it back into the bay.
After we said good bye and Merry Christmas to Peter, we all headed back to my parents. Once we got there, the traditions began! We made candles out of beeswax, had French Onion soup, ate cookies, read the Grinch who Stole Christmas, got the kids dressed in their adorable matching pajamas, opened a few presents, put the kids to bed, put the kids to bed again, reminded the kids to be quiet, reminded them that Santa wouldn't come until they were asleep, had a few more glasses of wine and finally, Santa came and we went to bed.
It was a whirlwind of a day but also a wonderful day in many ways. The kids are so excited and I know they will be super excited tomorrow.