Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Merry McRoadtrippin McChristmas

Considering I had been watching Hallmark Christmas movies since the afternoon of October 31st, to say Christmas snuck up on us this year would be a straight-up lie. But no matter how it happens, once it's over, it always feels like, whew! That was fast! And this year was no different, even though preparations didn't near meet the level of last year. But no matter - we all enjoyed the holiday and that's what really matters. We enjoyed it so much, here we are talking about it in February!

For starters, I didn't make any cookies or make treat-deliveries to any neighbors because I'm pretty sure they hate me, feel sorry for Jacob that he's married to me, and can hear me yelling at my children. So I thought my gift to them would be sparing them our traveling circus. And Santa didn't seem to mind the Reese's Peanut Butter Trees and the on-the-verge-of-going-bad apple slices we left for him and his reindeer.

 Christmas presents from Grandma and Grandpa!

 Ohhhh the tree was definitely a challenge this year!

 Our Third Grade ornaments, always together and always near our "Future Mr. and Mrs. 2009" ornament.

And of course this gem, from our First Grade. Mine is currently with my parents.

Captain Adorable, reporting for Christmas baking duty! Although since I did none, he was most likely getting ready to "help" me pull out some fish sticks.

 I did, however, do some Christmas Drinkin'! Here, (a) Jack Frost is nipping at my nose at my friend, Paula's, now-annual Christmas party.

 Us ladies like our Jacks!

 Paula and I totally shop at the same Wal-Mart.

 They said, "Do what the teenagers are doing now!" Clearly I know exactly what that is.

 Although we had a "light" Christmas this year, we mainly stuck to tradition because that's what makes the holidays fun. Here we are with our Dashboard Dinner to drive around and view the town's Christmas light displays on Christmas Eve.

The face of a child who thinks she just saw the real Santa Clause flying around in the sky on Christmas Eve.

 Our very own Griswolds in Billings!

 Griswolds, we are not! Hashtag: winning!

 You can't tell but even the dogs came with us to see the lights.

Gifts from Santa.

"Santa" thought Zoey would think "his" note was cool, so after "Santa" had a few beers, "Santa" spent a good 30-minutes on the masterpiece, then "Santa" was thoroughly disappointed when Zoey barely noticed. Fuckin' kids.

Nice List or Naughty List?? Who can tell?

 The Monster High Pony she asked for from Santa, which is pretty much a Satan action figure (and which she promptly forgot about in favor of fighting with Holden over his light-up, musical, made-for-a-one-year-old toys).

A boy and his dogs.

Santa (aka Grandma) came through for Louis, too.

Catching squirrels that are just handed to you in pretty wrapping is so much less work!

Mr. Squirrel fulfilling his destiny.

This crazy, stretchable stuffed animal that Grandma Sally found just happens to be something advertised on TV, AND comes with a workout and dance DVD.

Holden decided Zoey's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sneakers were for him, and the stuffed Charlie Brown actually was for him. I think they kind of look alike... :-)

Zoey wasn't sure what this was but was SURE she was going to love it; *this* being what I know from my childhood as a "Skip It." Skip It was - what I can ascertain from the always-informative box - purchased, or something, by Twister, so now it's called a or other. Whatever, it's a fuckin' Skip It.

Hat - check; Montana-based - check; car-themed - check!

Also a throwback to my childhood (and my mom's, I think), is the Loom. Here I'm trying to show Zoey how to do it even though my memories of doing it are about as clear as a vague dream.

She's a smarty and was able to figure it out, she's just not very patient, like most people, which is probably why *I* stopped Looming in the first place. And going to the gym.

Looming is serious business.

Our Very Merry McIntyre McChristmas McDinner.
Our holiday plans didn't go beyond opening presents on Christmas morning, then heading up to Jacob's parent's house. But about halfway there, in true Montana White-Christmas fashion, the car started smoking. We pulled into the next rest stop where Jacob tried to determine what was wrong, as three White, seemingly American people stopped, did their business, stole a glance in our direction, then went on their way. It was at about the same time two Middle Eastern truckers asked if we were ok that Jacob discovered what was wrong but just needed one specific tool to get us back home (a minor repair was still needed, which obviously couldn't be done Christmas day). They happened to have the tool, gave Jacob moral support as he ghetto-rigged his pants belt around something under the hood, then they headed on their way as we headed on ours. During the 25-mile drive back home, I lamented that I a) had zero plans for dinner; 2) even if I had an idea, nothing was thawed out; and D) I hadn't bothered to run the dishwasher since I don't like leaving the house with appliances running, so even if I had an idea, or something thawed out, I had nothing to serve it on.
We considered driving through McDonalds but decided against it, and ultimately discovered later that they wouldn't have been open anyway. Not like the Chinese restaurant, though, which was busier than we had ever seen it. We drove by to see the parking lot full of cars, and waited on the phone for take-out for close to 20-minutes.

We did make it to Columbus about a week later, which had yet another set of obstacles.

 After safely making the 40-mile drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house, with the car acting appropriately, we were halted less than a mile from their house because recent snowfall plus high winds covers up small roads not maintained by the county. Jacob's dad was out there with the plow, but with the snow so thick, deep, and iced-over, he'd get stuck after clearing away only a little; plow, plow, plow, dig out. Plow, plow, plow, dig out. And since the snow was so thick, deep, and iced-over, me and the kids had little to do but wait in the car and blast Mariah Carey's Christmas album. And Zoey learned the art of peeing outside, like a true Mountain Girl.

This Christmas was different, the same, happy, and of course stressful. I de-McChristmas-ed the house a few days later, way before New Years, which is just another day around the McIntyre household.

I did, however, continue to get lost in Hallmark movies.