However, Mommy still had a bit of cooking to accomplish to do her part, specifically a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust, stuffed mushrooms, stuffing/dressing, and cranberry sauce. (Note that the very excellent recipes were authored by Mommy's extremely talented friend, Rebecca.) Children running amok is not conducive to working in the kitchen. So what to do with the little darlings?
That's right...send them outside with Daddy to decorate the house for Christmas! While our neighbors may have thought that we were either holiday-decorating go-getters or overly-endowed with Christmas spirit, those inside the house knew the truth: shiny lights, inflatables, a hammer and nails, and anything with a hint of electrical shock or danger are all great ways to occupy human beings with Y chromosomes.
Daddy donned his warmest working-outside outfit, complete with 1980s Flashdance-style headband (what a feeling!) as he nailed the icicle lights into place on the front porch. Meanwhile, Helios was overseeing the inflation of the Santa train while Hesperos looked on wistfully from the warmth of inside. Standing next to Hesperos is a musical, roller-skating Christmas bear, a gift from Grandma Joan (the toy is much-loved by Helios, tolerated by Mommy and Daddy, and capable of inspiring a paralyzing fear in Hesperos when it's moving).
After the lights were hung on the awning with care and the train inflated, it was time to assemble the skeletal snowman. This was possibly Hesperos' favorite part as now he'd finally found a Christmas icon that was more his size.
With the house decorated and the very-tasty-if-I-do-say-so-myself cheecake made, we clambered into the car to go to Thanksgiving dinner. The kids ran and played, we ate, drank, were merry and the womanfolk praised each other's cooking skill (with tones hinting to our spouses that they had not complimented us sufficiently). Stuffed like a traditional turkey, we left just a little heavier than we were upon arriving.
Once home, it was very late, very dark, and the kids were surprisingly very awake, allowing the rewarding feeling of hearing they both coo from the backseat "oooo!" and "wow!" at the sight of their recently electrically-upgraded home. The boys chomped at the proverbial bit to get out of the car and get a close-up look. Helios stood there and, doing his best Santa Claus/pregnant Mommy impression, put one hand on either side of his imagined big belly and shouted "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" Hesperos, a bit more intimidated by the lights and fanfare, needed some coaxing. Daddy walked him over to the train and held him aloft to see the reindeer the pops out every 15 seconds with a little gift. (We don't know what the reindeer does for the 15 seconds he's inside Santa's train out of sight, but I assure you that under the influence of beverages, the adults have speculated!). Hesperos is a little scared of the reindeer's jack-in-the-box style popping action, but we believe with counseling and psychological care, his aversion to reindeer should be overcome by next Christmas.