Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Murphys

Have I ever mentioned that I wish blogger would come up with a way to rotate pictures?  No?  First you're hearing of it?
ANYWAY... I digress.
Christmas 2011, our last in Germany.
The tree's story:  Last year we went and cut down our own Christmas Tree with some of Noah's Boy Scout Troop.  We had planned to do the same thing this year, but the day of the excursion it was pouring down icy rain with wind gusts up to 40knots.  We settled, instead, on picking a tree off the lot from the Boy Scout sales.  We picked in a hurry because of before-mentioned weather.  It isn't the fullest of trees, but just like Charlie Brown's tree, once we got all our ornaments on it, it looked lovely.  We are down to ONE working string of lights, but refuse to purchase any more as we have to get rid of everything 220v right after the first of the year!  So, that's the story beside my horizontally pictured tree.   I snapped this picture while waiting for the kids to wake up.

The three sleepy kids in front of the tree with their German-chocolate filled stockings right after they all woke up (about 8:00 AM).  Our tradition is to open the ornaments hidden in the stocking (usually with one or two sweet-goodies) on Christmas Eve; on Christmas morning the stockings are "magically" refilled before we officially cut them down.  This year they were filled with kinder-eggs, happy hippos, and chocolate santas.

This year the kids were only getting one gift from Dad and Mom (wrapped under the tree).  A handful of gifts (indluding the Coldplay concert, some DVD movies, trips, supplies for scouts or dance) had already been distributed throughout the year - PLUS with moving after the New Year it didn't make sense to aquire more stuff to have to pack.  So, one gift.  and we (parents) downplayed them  A LOT.  (they're not going to be that big of a deal because of the move and the concert, ect.  You get it, right?).  So, the kids were unprepared for the fantastic surprise that awaited them under the tree - and we went to great lengths to pull one over on them so they didn't know until they opened the box what they were getting.  The BEST story of the whole day is Sarah... and this picture (though it's really dark, sorry) of her face says it all, but I'm going to write out the story anyway - just so she can read it years from now.   Like all good pranks this one has a backstory and Sarah's is this:  Earlier this year her DS (Nintendo gameboy) broke.  It was several years old and due... but it was still sad because Sarah enjoyed having one on long car trips, plane rides, and during other times when there's a lot of waiting around.  She was hoping for a NEW 3DS for Christmas, but we are always so down on all things video game related that she was just sure we wouldn't buy her one - especially since we'd finally caved and allowed the Wii in the house.  Then something else happened that made her even more sure we would definitely not want her to have her hearts desire.  To take on a trip to Holland for a dance competition Sarah had borrowed her brother's DS and all the games.  In her hurry to pack up before leaving to come home somehow the games were either lost or stolen and never recovered.  10 DS games lost forever.....  so in the days leading up to Christmas Sarah was just sure it was not to be.   Little did she know that we had a plan in progress dating back months ago and with my mom and dad's help all THREE kids were getting a new 3D -DS and a new 3DS game for Christmas.  We thought it would be usable even when everything else is packed up and while we are moving across the ocean.  It would also help during the long days in TLF, the car, the plane, ect. 
   Christmas morning comes and the kids all get up and see their one present (from us) waiting for them under the tree.  We craftily wrapped the boys' boxes in different sizes and filled them to be different weights.  Sarah's was the best of all - we took the small  game cartridge from her new game out of its packaging and wrapped it in a tiny jewelry box.  Sarah was being very gracious, but because we're her parents we could see a little bit of the disappointment in her attitude.  We let her open her gift first (because if the boys went first it would have given away the whole surprie, she knows we're not that cruel).  Her face was priceless as first confusion and then shock registered, and just as she was beginning to understand Mom pulled a wrapped gift out from behind my back and said, "Oh yeah, you might need this to play that game".  You can see the disbelief still on her face even as she opens the box containing her new 3DS.  =)  It was a really fun Dad/Mom moment!

Then, it was the boys' turn!
They were absolutely not expecting to get new gameboys since they still have older ones (not 3D, though) that function.  They're old, but useable and in this house we use things until they die!  With the upcoming move and not being sure what they really wanted they didn't know what to expect, but in their wildest dreams it certainly wasn't this!  When they got over the shock of the new gaming system they opened the boxes to another surprise - they each had a game in the box, too!  Because what fun would a 3DS be without at least one 3DS game to play on it??  Sarah received the Zelda game she really wanted; Noah, Harry Potter Lego (years 5 - 7); and Micah, Super Mario 3D land. 
    Usually there are no video games allowed on Sunday - but because of the gifts the kids received (Micah also received a Wii game from Sarah and Noah a computer game from Micah) Dad decided to forgo the Sunday rule.  The kids got ready for church in a hurry and played until it was time to leave.   Church was fantastic and when we came home we spent the day playing games, watching movies, and eating a fantastic feast of roast chicken, homemade mac and cheese, desserts and candies, breads, and drinks.  The picture was taken as soon as we got home from church before anyone had a chance to change.  You can't see Phantom against Sarah's dark sweater, but he is there!

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