So This is Christmas

It’s been a busy holiday around chez McMains. Thursday night, Kathy and I headed down to San Antonio to visit with [Ross->] and his newly-minted fiance Johanna who were in town for a visit with his family. We ate enchiladas and talked the night away, excitedly discussing Johanna’s latest writing projects, the success of Boom! Studios, the engagement, and what our old mutual friends are up to. As always, it was great to see them, and especially wonderful to see the decade-old decision to move to Los Angeles paying off handsomely for Ross, both in business and personally.

On Friday the whole family helped (or, in the case of some of the kids, “helped”) [Chris->] and [Becky->] as they moved into their new home, a really neat little Tudor cum Texan house a few blocks away from where they had been living. It went surprisingly quickly and painlessly, due in large part to Chris’ prudent hiring of both a U-Haul and a couple of guys who were flinging furniture around with an aplomb that put the rest of us to shame. We toured the new digs, found and admired giant acorns, enjoyed a first meal in the house, and had a little house blessing and an inaugural game of hide-and-seek. It should be a great place for the two of them; I look forward to seeing it all put into order and being lived in and enjoyed.

On the way home, we stopped in Wimberley for the Trail of Lights and the Emily Ann Theater. We enjoyed the various displays that community organizations had put together up and down the side of the hill that the theater includes, and huddled around a bonfire with some friends we bumped into for roasting of marshmallows and hot dogs and singing of Christmas Carols, manfully led acapella by a singer whose guitarists had abandoned him.

On Christmas Eve, we spent a good portion of the day fiddling about the house, making cornbread, chili, and cookies for the guests we would be hosting for Christmas. My cousin Tanya and her husband Ken, who are great favorites with the children, stopped by for a nice visit in the afternoon. As evening approached, Chris and Becky showed up. We all milled and visited about the house for a while until time came for “midnight” mass (which started at 10:15pm) at St. Mark’s. We enjoyed singing carols and participating in the service (admittedly in a somewhat disjointed fashion, since we’d not gotten a copy of the program with the responsive readings), and were joined there by [Mom McMains->] and her housemate Julia.

Christmas morning dawned bright, clear, and warm. We had worn the kids out enough with the late night that they didn’t spring out of bed until a decent hour — a surprising change of pace from the usual Christmas morning experience. The neatly wrapped pile of presents quickly became a whirlwind of wrapping paper, laughter, packing material, shrieks, and toys. I was pleased this year to receive an absolute minimum of practical gifts. Chris got me a Lazer Tag Master Blaster, which he, [Dad McMains->] and I put to good use later in the day. Kathy conspired with Grant and absolutely floored me with a Babkcz Identity Guitar. Grant has been playing one of these for a couple of months, and I’d been really impressed with his. Kathy was excited about her gift of a new iPod, especially once she realized that it would hold not only our entire music collection, but also all 13,000 photos in our family photo library.

After a good deal of eating, a few walks, some Lazer Tag, a spritied game of RoboRally, our guests began to wander home. Once we’d cleaned up and straightening the house a bit, the whole family gathered around the advent wreath for the last time this year, at long last getting to light all of the candles. We then put the capper on our Christmas with a viewing of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!