Christmas tidbits

I’ve had a pair of Christmas earrings since high school that were a bunch of those tiny light bulbs in a clump. They are tacky but I always wear them on Christmas, it’s tradition (or something). Then I was in Aco a week ago and found even more tacky earrings Christmas and marked way down! What could I do? (I know Stacy, Clinton, John and Lex would not approve, but still…) These ones have smaller light bulbs and a battery-holding bulb so that they blink. That’s right, blinking Christmas light earrings!! Does it get tackier than that??? I pulled them out of my purse and was putting the batteries in when my cousin Gina, age 4, came over to see what I was doing. I told her I had the tackiest earrings yet and would she like to see them?
Gina: Yeth
Reen: Will you tell me if they look ridiculous?
Gina: Okay (she shrugs her little shoulders)
Reenie turns out these horribly tacky earrings and the look on her face was priceless, wide eyes and mouth as she watched the blinking, in a trance.
Reen: So? Are they ridiculous??
Gina, shaking her head: I can’t really tell…

For the record, they are ridiculous. Sadly, no picture can really capture just how ridiculous. I guess you’ll have to just see them for yourselves some time.

Alan was around for Christmas and seemed to enjoy it immensely. He’s such a sweet kid with a big smile for everyone! Ben, my four year old nephew, really seemed to take a liking to him and kept going over to lean on the arm of the chair and talk to him. Ben likes a captive audience to talk to and certainly found that in Alan (who spent a good bit of the day in the big comfy chair). Not to mention Alan enjoyed the pop-gun almost as much as the other kids.

Alan got several gifts and was so delighted. He got a new shirt or two, I made him a pair of flannel pants with extra wide legs to accommodate his braces, and he got a basketball. He was very excited about all of them, but especially the basketball. While recovering in the hospital, he discovered the joy of the Big Ten Network that played games around the clock. He is determined to play basketball, especially now that he’s had surgery and will someday be able to stand!! I was a little nervous Alan would be overwhelmed by all the Christmas insanity at the Cous farm, but he took it all in stride, grinning from ear to ear and happy to be part of the crowd. What fun!! Since Ira didn’t make an appearance, I did get a few pictures of his first American Christmas 😉

My dad and Alan have bonded for a lot of reasons. But it really struck me today that Alan’s dad died a long time ago—he’s a boy without a dad, and what a gift that we have been able to share my dad with Alan. What a gift for Alan, I’m sure! And a good reminder to me to be thankful for the gift of my dad, my mom, my family, the many gifts I’ve been given that I take for granted so often.

For the cousin gift exchange after a big Christmas dinner, we did a white elephant exchange for all the kids 12 and older. This was our first year doing this (rather than just picking names) and from what I can tell, I think it was a success. My gift was a tacky Christmas sweater and an uncle john’s bathroom reader. My favorite uncle (who just finally got rid of his tacky Christmas sweater collection and the guy who inspired my purchase) let me talk him into picking my gift. Pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself, although at the end of the exchange, he traded it to Fiona for a model car.

I got a wooden duck decoy with a long history. Brendan got it from my grandpa on the other side who has hundreds of duck things. My cousin Zach stole it and sent him a ransom notice with a pic of the duck tied up or blindfolded or something. Then Hannah (when she was engaged to Bren) helped steal it back at thanksgiving. Then for Christmas Brendan gave it to Zach and this year Zach gave it in the white elephant exchange… I have a feeling this is the gift that never stops giving…

What I’m hoping is not the gift that never stops giving is the cold that some of my nieces have and a few other people. I am a sucker when it comes to cute kids who don’t feel good and just want to sit with you and snuggle. They may wipe snot all over me and get me sick, but I can’t say no. So I’m drinking lots of juice with vitamin C and hoping to ward off the cold… so far so good, although I’m not sure how long I can hold off… I’ve already missed the last few bugs that have gone through my family and friends… for today, I’m happy to be healthy.

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