the days leading up to the big day were spent cooking and baking and movie watching and festive coffee/tea sipping. lots of popcorn was consumed. even more sweet treats were consumed (but it is okay because of the half training, right? ahem. right.). and of course, there was a smoothie or two mixed in there. you know #balance.
the days and nights were spent with our little family, extended family, and church family. savoring the advent season and preparing our hearts. the joy around our home was effervescent. all was calm, all was bright. well, except for the one strand of tree lights that blew right before the main event. sigh. oh well, at least things were calm. we were good in the calm department.
on christmas eve, we cooked up our traditional pot of chili, donned our festive best, and piled in the sleigh to meet up with our family at church. everything was twinkling and magical. merry and bright. we listened to the festival of nine lessons & carols. my very favorite. and after some post-service mixing and mingling (as well as some exclamations of christmas cheer by elinor) we went back to our place.
the little ones opened their christmas eve pajamas and put out the cookies for santa, and were tucked into bed to let those sugar plums dance in their heads. the adults settled in with some white chocolate peppermint tea and popcorn to watch a christmas carol. the gloriously grainy alastair sim version (p.s. did you know that ridley was *this close* to being named alastair? yup.) anyway, after we were sufficiently in the spirit, we got everything arranged under the tree and got to bed so santa could come!
and boy, did he come.
on christmas morning, ben and i woke early to enjoy some "just us" time. we sipped christmas morning mimosas, listened to the messiah, and opened gifts together. it was magical. quiet and sweet. i cherish this time together. and i know our quiet christmas mornings together are numbered so we really tried to enjoy it. our kids love their sleep but i give them another year tops before they are up before the sun, begging to get the party started.
after we had our turn opening gifts, we placed baby jesus in the manger and placed the little ones' gifts under the tree. we woke elinor and ridley so that our christmas day could officially begin. and one of my favorite moments of the day was when elinor saw jesus lying on the straw that she had added to the manger throughout advent. she exclaimed: "oh! baby jesus is here! he came in the manger!" and our hearts melted. she spotted him from the staircase. she noticed His presence before any of the presents. she was more excited about that than anything else. it was incredible. soli Deo gloria. gloria in excels is Deo.
we opened presents. we watched the little ones play and giggle. it was such a perfect morning. santa even brought matching yankees hats for elinor and ridley. good man.
AND in an ironic and hilarious act of baby, ridley nibbled on his new book, "the incredible book eating boy" so that gave us quite the chuckle. oh, children. they make everything more fun. they keep you young. they keep you humble. they keep you grateful.
and then, it was off to my folks' place for a morning of faux-snow-ball throwing and presents and beautiful children-full christmas chaos and my man's lasagna. dare i say, legendary? but seriously, it's that good.
we laughed together. we swapped gift shopping stories. we sipped wine and filled our bellies with all the meat and cheese and pasta that we could handle. and then, we finished off the meal with sticky toffee pudding. perfection. all around.
and speaking of perfection...these match-matchy cousins...
the evening was spent back at our place with ben's family. we opened gifts and enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs and salad and cannolis. we like to be italian on christmas. all the carbs. all the cheese. all the veal. it's grand.
we chit-chatted and played with new toys and a few people even curled up and took naps. i mean, adults! adults took naps. that's the sign of a successful and cozy gathering, in my opinion. so, i guess you can say it was a pretty good day.
the only bummer was that my phone and i lost steam around 6pm and i only captured one measly shot of our evening. slacker. next year i am enlisting ben as my back-up photog. i will pass the baton in the early evening so i can make sure to get more pictures. lack of pictures, notwithstanding, i can assure you that we had the very best time.
and now, i am off to play with my presents and listen to christmas music to keep those christmas-is-over-bah-humbug-blues at bay. until next year, christmas! you are the very best.