Christmas Eve started out with a trip to the grocery store. It was 9:30am and it was packed! It's a small grocery store, but it has an excellent butcher shop - most people were picking up pre-ordered roasts and fresh turkeys. With Gayle's list in hand, I picked up shrimp for scampi and a prime rib roast to feed eight plus chicken apple and chicken pesto sausages. Asparagus, grapes, red potatoes, and eggs.
Exchanged the groceries at Gayle's for Alani & Kyle.
I let Kyle pick out the flowers for the niches - he picked out red, white with red edges and white carnations. I added a dendrobian orchid to mom & dad's. The kids and I spent the next hour at the chapel, putting flowers at grandpa & grandma's, Auntie Haru & Uncle Ruzzy's and mom & dad's. Smiled as I watched Alani trying to imitate Kyle while we did gassho (put hands together and prayed). We wandered through the chapel, looking at all the pretty flowers and decorations and the wee birds.
Stopped at the McDonald's in Castro Valley for lunch. There's a lovely climbing play structure which Kyle absolutely LOVED. Alani, she had fun too - except she wouldn't go down the slide and she wouldn't climb back down. Made it interesting when I told them that it was time to go. Adults can't climb the structure. I ended up sending Kyle back up and having him help her down. Then we drove to San Ramon and visited with Auntie Asako.
Back to Oakland where we picked up Foxy at BART. Stopped at Trader Joe's (mad house!!!) to pick up tejava for Foxy and then at Baskin & Robbins for an ice cream cake for that night's dessert. Back to my place where I had to get a few things ready for the evening and the kids & Foxy played with my new PS2 game - Taiko Drumming. Alani soon lost interest and played with all the coins from my ducky bank (kyle had opened it up and dumped about $100 worth of quarters out)
On to Gayle's for dinner. Had invited Lee too, but she ended up being sick. Prime Rib, mashed potatoes, gravy, spinach salad, corn bread, grapes & strawberries. We had a 1999 Forestville Merlot - quite lovely with the prime rib. Yum!!! Ice Cream Cake! Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream with a chocolate cake & a strawberry ice cream with a white cake. OOh... and peppermint ice cream on the side. I think Alani was a little confused because the ice cream was most definitely pink, but it didn't taste like strawberry. *g*
Dragged Foxy to Walgreens to pick up some last minute stocking stuffers. We then played Taiko Drumming until midnight.
Overslept. There had been a time when I would have been up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning. Those days are LONG past. *g* Foxy had debated on whether to bang on my bedroom door, but had decided to have a peaceful reading time instead. So, I crawled out of bed around 9:15 or so, got myself ready for the day, wrapped a few more gifts and then headed out to Gayle's. Was only 20 minutes late.
The kids were very EXCITED. Bouncing around the living room. Munching on the Christmas cookies, salami, cheese and spinach dip. They had already raided the honey ball puffs (can't remember what they're called in japanese) from one of the stockings (it was underneath the stocking as it wouldn't fit). Kids had to wait a bit more before diving into stockings and presents. Brunch first. As a kid, I can't remember ever eating breakfast first. Artichoke frittata, pancakes, fruits, apple-cranberry crisp, cottage potatoes, and sausages.
Kyle tore into his presents and anybody else's he could. Alani opened each one slowly and basically was done with presents once she found something she loved. The little horses set. The Hello Kitty set with the purse, mirror and plastic lipstick. She still had more to open, but she refused. Silly girl =).
The harmonicas and the tin flutes were a hit. Really need to teach Alani that more than one note can be played on the flute. Oh my head. =)
The only problem with having stuff at Gayle's is the parking. It's just one long driveway and you're blocked in if you arrive first.
I needed to drop off Lee's stocking and presents and also Joyce's Christmas cookies. Didn't escape from Gayle's until after 2pm. Was supposed to be back at Gayle's by 3:30 so that we could go to cousins' house for dinner. Running late, as usual. Had problems at Joyce's - the Christmas music was sooo loud that nobody heard the doorbell. Ended up going to the back door, after having to unlock the gate. It would have been so much easier if I could have called her, but I had forgotten my phone. Oh well. Stopped at Lee's, was trying to be sneaky, but she had her door propped open, as did her neighbors - so Gemma and Mo can visit each other. Oh well *g*.
Gayle wasn't quite ready. Oh well *g*. Alani was not wearing her foo fee dress. *sigh*. Change of plan as we were running late. Dropped Gayle, Kyle, Karen and goodies at the house, and then sleeping Alani & I took Foxy home. Got back to cousins' and had to wake up Alani. Uh oh.
Kids had a blast. Their older cousins were sooo much fun! I think Allison (22) will have a few bruises and may be a bit sore from all the playing. Luke (24) too. Auntie Mary loved seeing the kids. Yet another feast! We always have fresh crab at a Matsuura side gathering. Turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, rice, ham, stuffing, gravy... Ted & Barbara's new place is lovely. I WANT the bathroom! Jacuzzi corner tub, separate shower... *sigh*
As Gayle's kitchen sink backed up and was leaking water, we ended up doing both Christmas Eve and Christmas brunch dishes in the bathtub.
As Ted & Barbara's kitchen sink had no hot water (cracked pipe somewhere plus water heater acting weird), we ended up doing dishes in the bathtub.