Christmas 2012

momheileThe kids had a marvelous Christmas holiday – how couldn’t they with all of their family around and all of the gifts to open. They got little gifts in their stockings on Sunday morning, including a Justin Bieber poster and an Avengers poster. On Christmas Eve, they got loaded down with presents at my mom’s house, including two Razor scooters that they jumped on and rode like pros (I couldn’t balance on one to save my life). They ran around with all of the cousins at the Heile’s get-together and got another load of presents from their great aunts. Maria even scored a Justin Bieber notebook and frame from the white elephant exchange (she also begged Susie to give her the Barbie doll head that Susie nabbed out of the exchange; Susie finally gave in and gave it to her in exchange for wearing Ri’s headband for five minutes).

americangirlbentenMaria woke up first on Christmas morning. She kept clearing her throat in her room to try and wake us up. Finally, she sauntered into our room and gave me a big hug along with a “Merry Christmas, Mom!” Precious. Mario ran in five minutes later all glassy-eyed and disheveled. When he saw Ri’s face and heard her excitement, he woke up and yelled “It’s Christmas! Lets go downstairs people!” We headed down the steps, turned the corner and witnessed a ton of gifts left by Santa. He even left some cookie crumbs which Maria happily picked up and threw into her mouth. “Santa left some crumbs for me, mom!”

The kids wasted no time tearing into presents. Ri opened her American Girl doll first, which I was hoping she wouldn’t do since it was her “big” gift. But she remained excited when opening up her other gifts, including gifts of underwear and leggings. Mario opened up his Ben Ten watch first and loved it but immediately moved onto opening the next one. He ripped through his presents like a tornado but still managed to say “cool” or “ahhh” after opening each one (even pjs). When he was finished, we brought out his punching bag and thought he’d be flabbergasted. He was happy with it but ready to open more. He had turned into a voracious animal ready to devour any gift in sight.

We went upstairs and started to fill the bottom of the punching bag with half-gallon jugs of water. I went back and forth from the sink to his room 20 times and it still needed more. But at least Mario could hit it and it didn’t tip over. Good enough for Christmas morning. Maria played American Girl with me while I filled the bag. I played the ticket agent and she spoke for Caroline, her doll who was heading to London.


megrisiblingsGrandma Meg, Peepaw, Sarah, Jorge and Jackson (yes, even party animal Jackson) arrived at 10 am. The kids pulled all of their arms up the stairs to show off their presents from Santa and spoke in lightening speed about their mornings. Peepaw tried to sneak downstairs to assemble Mario’s trampoline but Mario smelled him out like a bloodhound and quickly descended to the basement. Mario ended up assembling his present with Peepaw and Jorge. When they finished, Mario dashed up the steps and begged us all to see the creation he helped make. We don’t think he quite understood that was his present. Nonetheless, he loved it and bounced from the chair to the trampoline over and over.

peepawWe ate some yummy quiche with the eggs from Meg-pie’s chickens and cinnamon rolls, and then we opened presents. The kids kept with their routine and ripped open their presents with a fury. Ri got a horsey comforter and sheets and some awesome books and puzzle. I keep hoping some book series will entice her. Sarah and I are hoping Judy Blume books will do the trick. Mario got his trampoline and a puzzle and a Spanish/English kids book filled with photographs that Jorge took. After they tore through their presents, the adults opened their presents one-by-one. The Menkedick tradition – to hum and hem over each present that one receives. I scored big with a new coat, a collection of CDs with music selected by Jack, two books from Sarah, and two incredible framed photos of Ri and Mario. Sitting around a circle together and watching each other open gifts is one of my favorite traditions of the holiday. It brings back memories of Christmas pre-parenthood when I watched Sar and Jack squeal in delight over a truck or a doll from Santa.

pattyAfter present opening, we greeted the Ionno crew. Patty brought her signature delicious homemade treats – peanut brittle, chocolate cashews, pretzel rolos, and other fine concoctions. She also slipped in some Iced Cake Vodka that she enjoys lately over ice. Between her and Meg, I have a feeling my day is coming to become a Vodka drinker! Patrick and Carrie and Alana and Gio arrived and all of the adults were kicked to the curb – the kids had each other and had no more need for “old people” as Maria endearingly refers to us. Connie and Chris brought more cookies and treats. Why do we even have a dinner on Christmas? We should just go to town on sugar all day and then fall asleep at 7 pm.

pattygrandkidsJon’s prime rib was fantastic. Meg made a beautiful fruit salad with pomegranate seeds and kiwi. Bill and Patty baked yummy corn casseroles. I had laid out a lottery ticket on each person’s plate and it ended up being an Ionno versus Menkedick battle to see which family won the most money. The Ionno’s ended up with $9 and the Menkedick’s with $1. We not only lost the money competition but had to do the dishes because someone quickly made a rule that the family who won the least amount of money had to do dishes. My family, minus my Uncle Bill, suddenly had to hit the road to take care of their horses and dogs. Likely story…. So Bill and I put on our gloves and grabbed the kitchen towels and began to work. We are good sports. Patty felt bad and jumped in to help. All other Ionno’s sat around the dining room table and smirked! The Menkedick’s will prevail next year.

mariaalanaThen came the fifth round of present opening for Ri and Mario. Patty brought her big red bags full of toys for each kid. They did a good job taking turns reaching in their bags and looking at their gifts. Patty got the girls a photo Barbie and the boys a spy phone among many other things. After they ripped through the packages, they wolfed down some cookies and headed upstairs to get in some more play. Ri and Alana came up with a plan to have Patty take them back to her house. Of course, she agreed. They packed up clothes and went straight to Patty’s car without even saying goodbye to me or Carrie. Yea, Jon and I have no doubt that we will be fighting with the teenage Ri about curfews. Everyone took off around 6 pm, and Jon and I and Mario sat in the family room together feeling like it was midnight.

Another Christmas come and gone. 2013 is waiting for us right around the corner, and I for one, cannot wait for a quiet, low-key New Year’s Eve.

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