Well, I think we’ve finally dug out from under the pile of wrapping paper and boxes and excessive toy packaging (how ridiculous are those tie tabs that hold toys to their boxes?). Christmas was another major success for the Gallagher boys. Somehow my attempts at simplicity always fail (much to their relief and delight).

Santa brought new bicycles, Braedan’s outfitted with a speedometer.

Austin’s is small enough he’s able to maneuver it around the house, so he’s been pedaling away, lap after lap through the kitchen and living room. I’m not quite sure his choice of attire is what Santa had in mind though:

Braedan has to take his outside (clothed), which he somehow convinced me to do on Christmas morning when we rode through the snow to my parents’ house. Not great cycling weather but we managed (and even went “12.6 miles per hour!” — I had to keep reminding him to look up every once in a while).

Christmas Eve was lovely, as always, although it is rather difficult to snap a good picture of five sweet grandchildren ranging in age from 9 months to 7 years. We certainly tried though (these are the very best out of at least thirty):

Braedan celebrated his birthday (again), with cake and candles and a few more presents (just what he needed!):

Mark and I got them some fun accessories for the treehouse — a periscope and steering wheel and this cool extension thing for the tube slide  so when you come down it in the summertime you land in water. I painted wooden wishing stars to hang inside from the peaked ceiling (I was considerably more excited about them opening these than they were):

Braedan had purchased gifts for the rest of us at the holiday shop set up in his school cafeteria and I’ve never seen him so excited about giving.  He carefully wrapped each item, complete with tags and bows, and as they were waiting (im)patiently at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning, he announced that he wanted us to open our gifts first. For Austin, a little red racecar and a light-up key chain (you know, for all his keys), Mark got the obligatory #1 Dad pen and a tool set, and yours truly received “diamond” hoop earrings and a little gold butterfly ring. Which, yes, I wore all that day and several times since. It was all very sweet.

So, all in all, I’d say all our Christmas wishes have come true.

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