The kids were really good about waiting on the exchange until after everyone had arrived, several ornaments had been decorated, and all the grown-ups were finished eating. And then the gift-opening began. We sat them down in a circle and instructed the four kids to open their gifts all at once. Included in this exchange was Casey (age 5), Lucas (age 3- 6 months older than Marcie), Marcie (age 3) and Katelyn (age 2 1/2-- 6 months younger than Marcie, but just as loquacious!).
From oldest to youngest, here are the reactions to the gifts:
This is a repulsor-blast Iron Man. It is a talking toy, which lights up, makes flying noises, and shoots little sticks out of its hand. Casey is sleeping with it for the second night in a row. It was exactly what he wanted, even though I didn't tell my friend that. He couldn't have been more pleased.
This is a shake n go rocket. It didn't get great reviews on Amazon because apparently it tears easily when you shoot it in the walls (duh). I didn't actually consult with Lucas's parents before purchasing this gift-- and in retrospect I probably should have. I mean, it is kind of the perfect gift for a kid-- it's a gun off which the child shakes up. When he pulls the trigger, the rocket ship goes flying off. So a gun and a rocket. All rolled in one. Fortunately for me, his parents rolled with it-- and you can see from his face that it was pretty much exactly what he wanted. He didn't point it at any people or anything, and there were a lot of people around. So I think he'll be good to go.
Marcie got some magnetic dress-up dolls. So far, we've dressed them in Halloween clothes, as a princess, and as a cow girl. I can't believe my friend Grace actually got this shot-- what timing!
I am pretty tolerant of noise. I bought my kids musical instruments, including drums, a year or two ago. Casey has had a harmonica forever. And as irritating as the Iron Man repetition of his name is, I can put up with it for kind of long stretches of time. But not everyone is as tolerant of such noise as I am. Luckily for Kate, pictured here with her new harmonica, her parents were fully aware of this gift before Katelyn opened it. And they gave their blessing. So no worries there.
After they played for a while, we did go see the lights. It was cold, but dry (thankfully). I somehow managed to drop a cup of not-really-hot chocolate all down someone's driveway and felt terrible about it. I felt bad enough that I swiped our friends' drinking water to try and wash the chocolate down the driveway so it wouldn't stain.
And speaking of driveway incidents, today I went out Christmas shopping and then grocery shopping. I wanted Jason to help take in the groceries without seeing the gifts in the trunk. So I decided to hide the gifts around the corner and then ask Jason for help. But my food missed the edge of the walkway and landed in very soft mud, where it sunk down, causing me to twist my ankle and go flying across the concrete. Of course, it happened in slow motion. I hurt my hand and my knee, knocked the wind out of myself and strained my neck. But no blood. After it happened, Casey commented: "You sure do get a lot of owies, Mommy." But Jason didn't see the gift. So I suppose it was worth it. . .