Joshua and I have sort of settled back into our standard living routine since returning from Germany Wednesday night. We both went to work on Thursday and Friday, and both of us will return to work on Monday morning and continue to work through Friday, December 22. Both of us will be off during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Unlike most Saturdays, Josh and I did not go over to my parents' house today. My parents had some catching up to do today after two weeks out of the country--they went to visit my grandmother this morning, and this afternoon they had a meeting at our church.
To help my parents out, Josh and I had them come over to eat breakfast with us this morning. We prepared bacon and scrambled eggs and fried potatoes for my Dad, and we prepared a fresh berry bowl and a fresh melon plate for my Mom. We had them bring their dog over and leave him with us for the day so that he would not be home alone.
After breakfast, my parents left to tend to their errands, and Josh and I cleaned house and did laundry and did our shopping and ran our other errands and went to the club to play basketball for 90 minutes or so. We took the dog with us everywhere we went, and he was very happy and very content.
Afterward, we prepared a nice dinner for my parents, who came back to our apartment late this afternoon after the meeting at church. Josh and I had stuffed and roasted a chicken--it seemed that we had eaten lots of seafood and lots of pork in Germany, but that we had eaten very little chicken, and both of us had a taste for chicken--and we prepared mashed potatoes and fresh green beans and fresh white corn and glazed fresh carrots as well as a cranberry-orange salad made from scratch. For dessert, we baked apples in pastry, and we ate the baked apples with ice cream and a hot cinnamon sauce. It was a nice dinner, and having my parents over in the morning and again in the evening saved my mother from having to worry about breakfast and dinner today.
Tonight we talked about the Christmas holidays--both of my brothers will come home on Friday, December 22, and they will remain with us until Tuesday morning, January 2--and we made some tentative plans.
Josh and I decided, for the duration of my brothers' Christmas visit, that he and I would stay over at my parents' house rather than come back to our apartment each night. This will make things easier for my mother, because Josh and I can take care of breakfast for everyone early each morning, leaving my mother with one less daily meal to worry about. We will also be able to do the kitchen cleanup every night for her, which will give her plenty of time to visit with everyone and plenty of time to hold her grandson without worrying about dinner dishes and such.
Josh and I also decided, for the next two weekends, that we would stay over at my parents' house so that we can help them get ready for Christmas. Josh and I can help my parents with the housecleaning and the laundry and the shopping and the Christmas baking and the Christmas decorating and a million other things. My mother and father always try to do too much, and Josh and I made them promise that they would let us do most of the work for them.
Josh and I will get a head start tomorrow, because we are going to go over to my parents' house after church and start pitching in.
Because we will be spending the next two weekends at my parents' house, Josh and I told my Mom and Dad that we should scratch our traditional Monday and Wednesday night dinners together between now and Christmas. My parents readily assented.
We discussed Christmas gifts--each of us give one gift, but one gift only, to each family member--and our parents asked us about gift ideas for my brothers. We gave them some gift suggestions and we let them know what NOT to get, since Josh and I have already decided what gifts we are going to get for everyone in the family. My parents were surprised that we had already selected (but not yet purchased) our gifts for everyone, and they were further surprised when we told them that we were going to make all of our gift purchases tonight, online, after they went home, at which point Josh and I would be totally finished with our Christmas shopping.
And, after my parents departed, that is precisely what Josh and I did. We went online and, in less than two hours, our Christmas shopping for 2006 was completed.
While we were online, Josh and I talked about getting a Christmas tree for our apartment, and we decided against it. Since there is no room for a full-sized tree, and since we will be staying at my parents' house the next two weekends and from December 22 through the New Year, it seemed unnecessary for us to get a tree.
This will be our first Christmas together, but we will not need a tree to make us happy.