Even numbered years are typically not the best ones for the Rileys. In February of last year, I experienced the unexpected loss of my Uncle Tom in February. That was probably the only truly tragic thing to happen during 2012, but I don't know-- by the time December rolled around it was time for a change. And I have a good feeling about 2013.
But before we could make it to the new year, we had to make it through the holidays. It's funny how Christmas is my favorite time of year and yet it still often feels like something you need to "make it through." I think the problem with this year was several members of our family were out for the count (due to health problems or distance) so I volunteered to take on some extra duties. Not that I'm complaining--I'm happy to help--but it just makes for a lot of running around, baking, wrapping (dear god, the wrapping), purchasing, decorating, and all the other kinds of things that are needed to make a successful holidays nowadays.
But we did it! In the past, Christmas has been something of a quiet affair because I usually end up spending the day just with my Mom. This year my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew were in town so we had 9 adults all running around being slaves to the schedule of a 13 month old. And let me tell you, in case you ever have any doubt, having children is EXHAUSTING. We had one kid who wasn't even mine and I was ready to fall over by the end of the day. I feel like it's almost blasphemous to admit (since I'm 33 and *gasp* unmarried), but it made me so thankful that I don't have kids. For reals, you guys. It's just too tiring. I mean, I am sure someday it will happen (hopefully before my eggs all dry up), but for now I like being able to sleep.
Despite the griping, we had a really wonderful holiday and having everyone around for it made it all the more special. Per usual, we had the typical Riley family orgy of consumption with enough food to feed an army and enough presents that we probably single-handedly kick-started the economy. It's starting to embarrass me how much STUFF we give each other, but every time I suggest drawing names or setting money limits I get shot down. Maybe next year?
And now for some precious memories....that will live on forever here on the internets!
James enjoys his first cinnamon bun on Christmas morning! Cinnamon buns are a tradition at Mom's house--it's been our Christmas morning breakfast for...oh, say 30 years.
CHRISTMAS IS SO FUN ALL THE PRESENTS OMG YOU GUYS I AM A BABY!
Amanda and I model our matching cupcake aprons. Now I can be an OFFICIAL cupcake baker. Before I was just a wannabe.
My Christmas tree. As Mom put it, "it's the prettiest one you ever had!" Of course, she literally says that every year.
OMG A LEGO ORGANIZER HOW DID YOU KNOW THANK YOU SO MUCH! (We didn't have the heart to tell him it was for the baby)
I told you it was a lot of food. Next year I vote that we limit the spread to cookies and cocktail weiners. Oh, and booze.
Bill models his new kilt-towel, one of the gifts I brought back from Scotland. And in his words, "the present of the year."