A Visual Catch-Up Guide

To help you cope with my usual delinquency, I have created a visual catch-up guide of the recent history of the Cummings family, covering our three Christmases, and into the new year. 
On the first third of Christmas, I achieved, on the 15th shutter release, a nearly-focused snapshot of my three miniature men about to open their Georgia-based gifts. 
What followed this shot was a verrry leisurely opening, inspecting, assembling and playing of new toys. We took pleasure in the non-carnage of the event. Hours after commencement, gifts sat unopened, as each toy was thoroughly appreciated, leaving our nervous materialism alarms unsprung. P.s. When, and if, I find those evil little loss-prevention gnomes, with their nubby, nimble little fingers meticulously binding toys to hidden crevasses of their packaging, there’d better be some gnome-loss prevention yetis nearby to bind *my* limbs.
Next, we continue to BJs Wholesale Club, where we “wrapped up” some last-minute shopping, and I shrunk Ian back down to pocket-sized.
Everyone, meet Gene Gnome, Dad’s birthday Father’s Day Christmas present. My free time has made itself somewhat scarce lately.
Finally, the Wednesday before Christmas, Elijah started walking, so in retribution, I packed the car, strapped him  (and his brothers) in the van and drove to Florida.
Everyone began feeling properly spoiled. Isaac and Aunt Ashley pressed cheeks.
Uncle Jack grinned from ear to ear.
Elijah and Grammy shielded their eyes from the glorious Christmas inferno. According to Ian, this is appropriate Christmas decoration, in contrast to my “Christmas shrine” – a table top tree with a token handful of ornaments, stuffed into a corner of the living room. I agree.
On the second third of Christmas, Aunt Ashley and Uncle Adam amuse themselves trying to stuff Elijah into his Santa suit. Elijah amuses himself by masterfully resisting.
Oooh! Dada a do! Do doo!

Starting stocking stuffers.
Grandpa Jim is so funny!
Elijah’s first wrapping paper party.

On the third third of Christmas, Ian and Grandpa saw some meat.
Elijah narrates the festivities.
Mr. Isaac looking handsome in his Frosty vest.
Ian rings in the New Year.
Statler and Waldorf give their condiments to the chef.
Chef Boyardee does it again! Perfect pancakes, served with a smile! 
Aunt Kelly reels in amazement as Captain Isaac, Space Ranger, launches to the moon in his new Fatheronium-powered rocket.
Whew. Christmasing is hard work.

 Ian sporting a handsome chocolate ‘stache.

 Just a Georgia boy enjoying some old-fashioned Florida orange-pickin’.

 We enjoyed an evening of weenie-roasting and toasting s’mores at grandma’s fire pit.

 Catching a movie (and some Zs) with Grammy.

We enjoyed the sweater weather, but Florida quickly lost its coolness.
Meanwhile, the Toys exercised a bit of passive-aggressiveness.
We decided to give Elijah an early birthday party, complete with the traditional birthday pumpkin pie.
 Returning home from two thirds of Christmas requires super-human packing abilities and a long history of Tetris playing.

 On the way home we stopped to admire the manatees and the smoking area.

We returned home just in time to be iced in for the week.

 By the end of the week, we were amusing ourselves by sliding sheets of ice off the “New Van.”

 Brian discovered ice petals sliding off of the bushes.

Elijah enjoyed his first snow day, Tupperware-sledding in the back yard.

 During our drive back to Georgia, I tried to play a new book on disk and discovered that our car CD “changer” wasn’t working, but it made cents. Twelve cents, to be exact. (Thanks Ian)

After getting somewhat settled at home, the boys went to play with their friend, Luke. They wanted to decorate gingerbread cookies. That lasted about a cookie and a half, leaving mom to do the remaining dozen or so. My impatient grip, paired with a makeshift sandwich-baggie piping bag, resulted in one unsuspecting gingerbread man succumbing to a sweet, red tsunami. In an effort to clean up, most of the gingerbread men ended up with rosy sweaters, crimson jogging suits and bloodshot eyes. That got boring in short order, so I mixed it up a little with the occasional ginger cow and ginger business man.

To bring us up to date, I regret that I have no photo evidence, but I will conclude with today’s highlight: Brian applying glue stick to Isaac’s lips.
Isaac approached Brian with an opened glue stick, conveniently tinted purple for gluing accuracy, and asked him to put it on his cheek. Brian says, “Don’t you mean your lips?” and proceeds to apply it to Isaac’s lips. Then, Brian decides to find and inspect the “chap stick” lid and discovers it’s glue.I think he missed a fabulous opportunity. In fact, maybe I’ll give the “chap stick” trick a crack next time it starts to get a little wild in the house.

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