Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

And Now, Taking Down Christmas

I don't like to leave the Christmas decorations up much past Christmas. It starts to feel sad and stale - like wearing your favorite outfit for a few days in a row. You still LIKE the outfit, but it really needs a wash, and you need to wear something different for a bit. So, today, I hauled out all the boxes that were unearthed a month ago, and I'm filling them back up with the sparkly, the evergreeny, the red and gold, the shiny, the merry, the festive. Away it goes for another eleven months, and then we'll take it back out, marvel over all the memories, and enjoy the Christmas season again. God willing, we'll have many Christmases together, before my children go on to create gorgeous memories with families of their own. God willing, the coming years hold more sparkly-evergreeny-red and gold-shiny-merry-festive seasons with these people I love so much, it aches. For now, I'll hold all the hope of it in my heart and get to work.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas, Christmas, and More Christmas

This is one of those long, full of photos, probably-only-the-grandmas-will read-it, typical Mommy blogger at Christmas posts. I won't be offended if you skip it. :)

That said, we had a really fun Christmas full of love and tradition and laughing and friends and family (and the overlap of friends-who-are-family). The Fun-a-thon began on Christmas Eve.

Our kids open their gifts from grandparents and great-grandparents on Christmas Eve each year. This way, those thoughtful gifts don't get lost in the Christmas morning shuffle. We like making sure the kids know who put all that consideration and effort into getting them something nice.

After that first round of gift opening this year, we headed over to the Beckers' to join their tradition of Christmas Eve prime rib. I'd be willing to chime in on THAT tradition any time. YUM.

 After supper, we attended the Christmas Eve service at church, then headed home to a few more traditions of our own. The kids put out some milk and the cookies they'd decorated for Santa. We also threw "reindeer food" on the driveway and hung a special Santa key on the front door. Lastly, we put the Baby Jesus figure into our little Nativity set and talked again about what that means.

Once the kids were in bed, James and I got to work putting out gifts and getting everything set for the morning. The kids came down the next day to stockings full of little gifts, along with one gift each from Santa, as well as a letter Santa wrote them and a book open to the story of Jesus' birth.

And of course, stacks of presents from Mommy and Daddy - not for being good, but just because we love them.

 I always take a few moments by myself on Christmas Eve after everyone's in bed. I sit by the tree and bask in the quiet of a sleeping house full of anticipation, just knowing that all my preparation is done.


About 7:30am, that quiet was OVER. The kids were awake and ready to open Christmas Day. They came down the steps and tore through the streamers to see if Santa had come to call.

 Lip balm is kind of a big deal to my kids. They're a little odd. Also, they have dry lips.

 Bells for their bikes. What was Santa thinking?

 The J-bird received the remote control Batmobile he'd asked Santa for, and Miss V received a Cinderella doll. They were both thrilled.

After opening stockings and Santa gifts, we read the Christmas story, and then sat down and had breakfast. James's mom always made special cinnamon pecan rolls for Christmas morning, so, a few years ago, I asked her for her recipe and surprised James with them on Christmas. Now I make them every year. Man, those babies are GOOD.

When the kids couldn't stand another second of their parents luxuriating over coffee, we got down to business.

 James had all the negatives of our wedding photos digitized, and then he made me an amazing wedding album!

Once all the other gifts had been opened and admired, it was time for the children to open their last big gift.

 SURPRISE! We're going to Disneyland! It took them a little while to actually understand what that meant, but once it sunk in, they were over the moon. We aren't going right away, so I made them a countdown calendar to put stickers on each day until we leave. The box also contained some little Disney toys and books and personalized mouse ears. James and I had a lot of fun putting that together.

 Everyone was happy, which is always lovely, particularly on Christmas. We all relaxed for a bit to enjoy our new loot, and then we talked to our Kansas families via FaceTime. Isn't technology amazing?


 After a little lazing about, it was time to get ready for all the friends who were coming over for lunch. We had crazy amounts of fun celebrating Christmas with our friends - so much fun that I forgot to take any photos until much later. We feasted (tri tip roast, baked sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls and salad. pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and Nutella s'more tart, and, later, gingerbread house.), and then we watched a movie while the kiddos napped. In the evening, we played Bananagrams, ate leftovers, and then bid farewell to the last of our Christmas family.

This is pretty much what I always look like at the end of Christmas. Goofy, weird, and tired. And, apparently, kind of wrinkly.

After everyone had gone and the children were in bed, James and I sat down to watch the Dr. Who Christmas special. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without the Doctor, you know? It was the perfect end to a fantastic Christmas Day.

If you actually read through all that, I shake you warmly by the hand and award you the "Loyal Mommy Blog Reader" ribbon. Wear it with pride.

Much love to you, and here's hoping your holidays were happy. Mwah!