Unbridled avarice… but done relatively neatly.

Wow. We told the kids that they could not dive into the holiday bounty until we gave the go ahead… and they listened.

(Please forgive the unfinished touches of the room. Have a mentioned that we’re in year 5 of renovation on our 100+ year old house… wait, I have? Well, don’t I get to use that excuse for at least a decade or so? Or at least get some reprieve because it’s Christmas?)

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Paul and I were exhausted. Presents had been stock-piled far away from child eyes for weeks — Will has developed an “exploration” habit — because we couldn’t risk a security breach. So, it was a last minute effort to pull it all together. The effort would have come off without a hitch, had Kate’s tea cart come with both a right side and a left side. Instead, it was equipped with two left sides and a nice note on the receipt asking buyers to please return the items by December 15th if there were problems. The item? It’s no longer available on the seller’s website.

This is yet another reason why doing Christmas shopping early is SO OVER-RATED. Next year, I am totally waiting until the last minute.

Here’s another behavioral surprise for the day: the kids also took turns giving out gifts and watching others open them. (With constant reminders, but still.)

I did manage a few surprises for Paul, despite his finding out about his Very Special Surprise, which I had worked for months to acquire. (By months, I mean reading a few internet articles and wiki forums.) So when he opened the awesome astronomy binoculars I researched and planned for, he was underwhelmed.

Wait. Why did I work so hard for weeks in advance?

BUT. I did surprise him with this little cutie. A piece by a local folk artist:

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It says:

“I loves you once
I loves you twice
I loves you more than
beans and rice”

Yea, you rite!

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Kate loved her surprises. A Belle dress from Will, dress-up box and Fancy-Nancy book from Nana, princess puzzle & bracelet from friends Dave, Shelly & Zoe, cute socks from Aunt Deb & Uncle Gary, games from Uncle Skip & Aunt Emily, toys from cousins Brayden & Maggie…. and CINDERELLA’S CASTLE from Santa.

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At it’s opening, I was expecting an ear-splitting scream, followed by a fainting episode. This didn’t quite happen, though she was definitely excited. Who wouldn’t be? The castle lights up. And plays music.

Really, we were all enthralled.

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Will’s interest in it was a bit different. He was looking closely for things to push later on, for the purposes of driving his sister crazy. A skill he is VERY adept at using.

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Also? There were one of a kind hand-made gifts!

Nana made a BEAUTIFUL matching sweater and hat!

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Gwen made felt SUPERHERO capes!

Super Will…. with his pants unbuttoned.

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And Super Kate, too.

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