We opened our stockings and then took turns showering and cleaning. I made sausage balls and cut out wallet pictures, thus avoiding much of the cleaning. Brody called about when we were planning to leave, to let us know that they were running late, so we got more time at home for cleaning. By the time we left, the kitchen was clean, with the exception of the floor needing mopping (I swept), and the clean dishes needing to be put away. When Flar started in on the bedroom, I insisted that we leave, whether Brody et al were late, or not. So we got there about 10 minutes before they did.
When we got to Béb&ecute;'s, the boys arranged the presents, and then when Brody and his family got there, C and I arranged the food on the dining room table. Brody took a picture of it when we were done, rather proud of ourselves, with so little planning. He hasn't sent any of his pictures along, however.
Christmas was quite fun. There were enough presents for there to be lots of opening, but not so many that it got long and tedious (it has in the past). Tigger got a lot of hand-held games, Critter got a remote control airplane, and Flar got money to put towards a digital camera. With the money from Granny, we have enough for the model I've had my eye on. It's the Nikon Coolpix 2500. Bébé wants to get me dressy boots, but since I'm too picky on styles, he'll be paying for custom fitted ones by Erosul. I've only to select styling.
A number of years ago, Brody and his wife and Flar and I agreed to only give gifts to each others' children, and not exchange gifts with each other. Mind you, Flar often ends up getting something for them anyway. This year, he did an end-run around the agreement, by getting Bébé to pay for C's gift. And the framed pictures were gifts from Critter and Tigger, so that was okay, too.
The children all seemed to like their presents. Flar made a rather big deal about how long I worked on the sweater for B&eavute;bé. I prefer letting someone know I've made something, but not trying to make it sound like a big deal. I'm usually somewhat nervous about whether they'll like it, and don't like to think I'm heaping some sort of guilt-trip on them about it. But he seemed to like the sweater and really appreciated that I made it for him, so I'm glad that I did. Well, and I'm also glad that I now know how to make pockets and buttonholes.
Oh, and Flar got a kind of an interesting gift. He got a pickle ornament for our tree. It came with an explanation in it about the tradition of the pickle ornament, and it was cool for me, since I've heard Wolf and Sydbe talk about the pickle at (I think) Wolf's parents'.
We had a nice visits, and it didn't really feel rushed to leave when we needed to for travel -- it got us out of cleaning up after all the food. :)
We had packed my car with luggage, and Flar's with presents, so when we got home, all we needed do was switch cars. Of course, by then we'd thought of additional things to bring, so we packed a carry-on bag for Tigger.
The drive to Louisville took less time than Flar predicted, even given that he drives 70 to 75, not 75 to 80. Whatever weather Lousiville had been having was past, and the roads were clear. We stopped at Wolf and Sydb's, so that Wolf could drive us to the airport and park our car in their neighborhood instead of at the airport.
When we checked in, there were three in our party, as Flar was listed with JR appended to his surname. Sigh. They're not using the big x-ray machines for checked baggage yet, so check-in was simple.
We had plenty of time before our flight, and there weren't long lines at security, so there was time for us to eat. UM was open. That is, two-thirds of YUM!, the corporation that owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. There's no Taco Bell at the Louisville airport. While Flar and the boys ate pizza, I ate a Dagwood I'd made at Bébé's, and removed all my metallic components, and placed them in the pocket-sized purse I'd brought for the purpose.
Security was fun. Critter and I were both carrying laptops, to take out and scan individually, and I had boots to take out and xray, rather than worry about metal structure in the boots. Tigger touched one of the sides of the metal detector, which makes it beep, so the 8 year old member of our party was the one selected for wanding. ;)
We were flying American Airlines, and each of our flights was on-time departing and early arriving. I think I'll choose American in the future when I have a choice. I also like the amount of leg room designed into the planes. On our flight to St. Louis, Critter gave a commentary during the landing sequence, telling Tigger what the pilot was doing, and what that implied about the landing, and stuff.
On the second flight, we had bulk-head seats, but there weren't bulk-heads behind first class: merely curtains above the tops of the seats. So we could still stow our luggage beneath the seats in front of us, but we had at least an extra foot of leg-room. The only drawback was arm-rest based tray tables, which meant we couldn't lift the armrests to be less squishy.
Flar loaned me his Bose headset and I-Pod so that I could listen to the Eartha Kitt CD that he had so generously added to it. (It meant taking music off, so I consider it a double kindness.) The headset really does cut out most of the background noise. And listening to the CD again helped me to get "Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore" out of my head.
We got to San Antonio 8 minutes early, and Mom and Dad were waiting for us at the entrance to baggage claim. It didn't take long to claim the luggage and get home, which is good, since it was a long day, and I was bushed. It's been two years since I've been to my parents though, so there was much to see before I finally headed to bed.
Mom and Dad had their wall-to-wall carpetting replaced with tile last year. It's not simply four squares, either. Every threshold has a mosaic pattern laid into it, and there's a beautiful star pattern in the front entry. They kept carpetting in the living room, which is neat, since that made it comfortable for sitting during present opening this morning. Most of us were on the furniture, but Daddy sat in front of the tree, handing out presents.
I woke up this morning with a dry-air, ill-used sinuses headache. I really haven't gotten back to healthy-feeling sinuses since I caught the nasty cold. I'm mostly over it, but my sinuses seem particularly sensitive to dry air now. But a dose of Diet Dr. Pepper and a yummy section of pull-apart loaf helped me get moving. We had presents to wrap before we could exchange presents.
Critter's big present is a built-in desk for his room, which he gets to help design. (And he's also getting a hand-me-down laptop from Daddy, who's getting a new one tomorrow.) Tigger's big present is a new Del computer, complete with flat-screen monitor (it will be the first in our house, not counting the laptops). My brother got a 4 Mpixel digital camera that does everything you could think up. My mom got a Coolpix 2500, which Flar and I get to play with, to help decide if it's what we want for ourselves. Critter also got a simple digital camera -- the Flatfoto that Radio Shack was selling this Christmas. He loves it, and likes to point out that it's smaller than Brody's. (It also has considerably fewer features, but he likes it.)
My brother gave lots of DVDs as gifts, including the entire Monty Python series for the boys, and the Most Extended with Bookends version of LoTR:Fellowship of the Ring for me. Mom found me napkins that match the pattern on the Christmas dishes she gave us. And I get to wear the green velvet with bells jester shorts that she bought for Flar. We got enough Granny money to get a digital camera; we're just verifying this is the one we want.
After we opened presents, we got dressed and went out. First we went to visit Granny in the nursing home. She liked the pictures of the boys, but I don't think the volume is high enough on the speakers for her to hear the recorded messages. Mom and Dad got her an atomic clock, so we spent some time setting that up for her.
Then we went to Papassito's for lunch. There are a number of restaurants in San Antonio that I love, and that aren't in Lexington. This is one of them. I ordered too much for lunch, but will snack on it later: an order of Shrimp Brochettes, which are stuffed with cheese and jalapeño, wrapped with bacon, then grilled with vegetables on a skewer, and an (lunch-sized) order of beef fajitas. I ate two shrimp, shared two, and saved two for later. I ate most of the beef, but still had some leftover for home.
After lunch, Daddy and my brother set up the surround sound for Mom and Dad's TV system, Flar napped, and Mom and I went to Wal-Mart. For pants for Tigger.
I let my boys pack their own bags for the trip. Tigger decided that since we were going to Texas, he only needed shorts. Mom doesn't mind buying him some, fortunately. And it gave us an excuse to go shopping, and mostly browse.
Mom got me a new clock for the kitchen, that has an "ironwork" pattern of flatware as a frame around the face, a sweep second hand, and marking for the minutes/seconds. She also got me a glue pen and stamp markers. So I'm ready to try the otter stickers again, as soon as I buy some high-gloss sticker paper. Oh yeah, and I think maybe Stampin' Up sell release paper, that you can stick stickers to, for use later?
She also got me two Christmas t-shirts that were on sale for $7.93. One has a Santa hat made from a chocolate kiss that says something about having been good, and another with penguins holding up a HoHoHo cut paper banner.
She found a pair of orange (his favorite color) pants for Tigger, and a pair of khakis. Who says the second child only gets hand-me-downs? It just means that we don't have to buy him clothes ourselves. :)
Now we're watching the Most Extended Version of Fellowship of the Ring. It's on two discs, for gosh sakes. Daddy hadn't seen it yet, and we want to go see Two Towers while I'm here, because the DVD set also came with a free ticket to the new movie. Flar seems to be the only one who is clearly recognizing additional material as new. I'm rotten at that sort of thing.
Daddy only had a four-port hub for his DSL, but since he doesn't ever get online from one of the desktops (the one he uses for his checkbook), that means there are connections for the other desktop, Daddy's laptop, Tigger's new computer, and my laptop. Cool beans.
I was able to download email and was still recognized as logged on to Live Journal (I don't use the IP option on login), but I had to point to a different SMTP server to send email. Everything else was pretty much transparent. I do so like having ethernet at Mom and Dad's. I tend to go nuts when I can't be online at least once daily.
Tomorrow, Mom and Dad are going to a wedding, and leaving us to our own devices. It'll be my kind of vacation: real downtime, with no responsibilities crying out to me.