We made it through what so far looks to be the most trying day of this holiday set. Not that it was bad. Just long. Really long. It was Christmas morning again at the Vaughan house. All the cousins were coming over to open presents. What kid could stand that kind of pressure? Caleb and Christi went into their bedroom at one point. Caleb, in all of his almost-three-year-old exuberance, was dancing around on the bed. Christ, being the wise Mom that she is, asked him, "What are you doing? Are you excited about the presents?" "No, Mom," he answered, "I'm just doing my moves." Of course.
The cousins finally arrived and presents opening went well. Everyone was excited about something. I think I heard Caleb say three times, "It's just what I wanted." Always music to the gift giver's ears. I'm pretty sure Zak got some pajamas that he already had, but he was quite gracious and said his thank you's anyway. We had a big roast in the crockpot, so lunch was taken care of. Uncle Jerry even stopped by and joined us to eat. After the younger kids were settled in and playing with their toys, I presented the older kids with my Dad gifts. That's always a fun time when I get to give them each something to "show that they were thought of" during the year. Amid the awards for sack racing and tasting new coffee flavors, it seemed that the bottle of one-a-day pictures was the crowd favorite. I ran off 366 tiny little pictures of events throughout the year and put them a bottle for Chris. Next year is a leap year, so she can pick out one a day and never see the same one twice.
After we all rested up a bit we left to drive into Texas. Chris's present from all the kids was a grandchildren photo shoot. The boys wore blue jeans and matching shirts. Cailyn wore a blue jean dress. All were very cute. Now, understand. Jachin the oldest is 8. Josiah the youngest is around 18 months. Quite an age span for any photographer to deal with. And when their name is Vaughan, the genes seem to make it even more of a challenge. Josiah lost it for a while. He just didn't get the whole pose for the picture thing when there were lego houses to be built (well, lego blocks to toss around the room would be a bit more accurate). The others took their places. A spot for Josiah was carved out. But when we set him down, Josiah wailed. Not just a wimpering cry, mind you. He was upset. And barely consolable. They tried to get in a few shots, but it was getting tough. Then someone remembered Pavlov. Bring out the M&M's. It took a few tries and more than a few M&M's, but suddenly he was the most cooperative of them all. Then Caleb decided it was time to bust a few more moves. They got some of them on camera. Wish we had had a movie camera going. As a matter of fact, we did snap a few of our own shots, but one of the workers sternly warned us not to take pictures with our cell phones. I heard, "Copyright infringement." Too late. But the two pics we did take were of: Josh and the other three moms helping the photographer get the kids set, and Christina hiding behind the kids to get Josiah to stay still.
Jachin was the consummate big guy. He knew his job and stuck to it. Zak was obviously familiar with getting his pic taken. He came up with some great poses. Micah did his best to establish himself as a middle child. You know, "Don't forget about me." He came up with some the most sullen looks I have ever seen. But he sure responded well to those M&M's. Cailyn was gorgeous as usual in her blue jean dress. She is incredibly photogenic anyway, but she came up with some poses worthy of the supermodel that she is. And the ultimate reward for the whole experience? A trip to the nearby Chuck E Cheese establishment.
After we got the kids settled with some pizza and token, Josh and I went back to pick up the photos. We are just a couple of guys, so when we looked at the pictures, they seemed fine. But when we got back, Chris immediately noticed that there were splotches on the white background. "Absolutely not acceptable" was the verdict, so Chris and Christi took them back. They agreed to redo them, gave us a 10% discount and added three more pictures free. So they came back to Chuck E. Chees to wait. When they returned to pick them up, they forgot to give us the cd of the pics. Now we have to go back again when they open on Tuesday. What fun.
When we got home and got the boys to bed, I watched Captain America with Josh. Of course it was hard to stay awake. I gave in and dozed a bit, but I wanted to see the exciting part again, so I got a glass of tea and some candy corn. Winglesnop. Wide awake. We finally got to bed by 12:30 or 1:00. The promise of nothing pressing to accomplish today made for a somewhat more restful night. Today we play.
Isaiah 43:11-13 says, "'I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed — I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?'"
Father, thank you for the memories. Those captured on film and those embedded in my brain. Thank you. Amen.