Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Long Island Christmas, and Homecoming

We spent much of the day yesterday visiting extended family in Long Island.

Abby got a chance to dress up in another Christmas dress, and Michael looked handsome, once again, in his red sweater vest and black corduroy pants.

I was a bit worried about how Abby would receive a large group of somewhat unfamiliar relatives again, but she did quite well this time. I think it helped that she got a bit more sleep in the car on the way than she had on our trip to Flushing, and that all of the people gathered in Long Island had been in attendance at the wedding she participated in back in September. With her stunning recent developments in memory, she no doubt still pretty clearly recalled having seen and spent time with them eight or so weeks ago.

She was entranced by the tree, which was quite large and colorfully lit, and the presents beneath. In particular, she had her eye on a little blue Tiffany's box, which she liked so much that she picked it up and carried it across the room. We all got a chuckle out of that, joking that she had a taste for expensive things already.

But it seemed an ideal time to start the gift-giving, and we started with Abby.

First came a couple of belated birthday gifts.

She's really gotten the hang of this gift-opening thing. She even went for the card first, and pulled it out of the envelope herself. When she saw it, her eyes lit up, and she exclaimed, "A birthday card!"

A new pretty dress!

And a soft, furry jacket!

Next was Michael's turn. He needs to work on his paper-shredding technique a bit more before he can put it to use, but he did admire the wrapping job.

Daddy took over unwrapping duties for him.

Michael bided his time by flirting with the crowd.

And what was inside? A brand-new snowsuit!

What might the next one be?

A Michael-sized fire truck! He was so excited to ride it.

Abby took an interest, too.

In fact, she was so interested that she grabbed Michael in a headlock and tried to remove him from the seat. He took it in stride, as he nearly always does.

The rest of us diverted Abby's attention to her own Christmas present, which was a super-cool, rocking, music-playing, pink elephant.

Crisis averted. ;)

Ultimately, Abby loved being at Great-Aunt Irene and Great-Uncle John's house, though she was initially confused about where she was. Some time after Aunt Ali and Uncle Joe arrived, she remarked, "Aunt Ali's house."

"It's Aunt Irene and Uncle John's house," I corrected. She looked up at me with a wide smile and said, "Makes me so happy."

She was also pretty impressed with our host and hostess's beautiful home. As she climbed the steps to the upper level for the umpteenth time, she commented once or twice, "It's like a hotel!"


Amazingly, we managed to fit both the fire truck and elephant into the trunk of our overstuffed van as we waved goodbye to New Jersey this morning. Abby was overjoyed to see the furry pink head peeking up over the back row of seats. A few other larger pieces, like the kitchen and clubhouse, will be brought down by Nana a few weeks from now.

The drive went much more smoothly this time, and we made our way to my parents' place in Rockville in just over five hours, including one long and one short stop. After a lovely dinner with Mima and Granda, we finally made our way home.

As always, it's good to be back. I pray that both my children rest peacefully, in their own beds at last,  the whole night through. We could certainly all use the sleep.