Christmas may be over, but the memories remain. This was definitely one of the best ones we’ve had in a while. I would normally apologize for being MIA over the past week or more, but truth is, I’m not sorry. Andrew took some time off work for the first time since before Elizabeth was born, and so I decided to do the same. We soaked up every lazy minute the past couple weeks, and today things sort of go back to regular schedules. Most days we stayed in our pajamas, played lots of games, worked puzzles (over and over), watched Christmas movies with hot cocoa, did lots of baking, and thoroughly enjoyed all of our family!
Here’s what our December and Christmas looked like…
I went to check the mail one night, and couldn’t resist snagging this picture as I started to walk back in the house… It was too perfect. This was on our Christmas card this year!
Our tree is filled to the brim with special ornaments and memories from generations past, and the lights twinkle just right! It’s hard to see in this picture, but there’s some below of the train around the tree. Christmas ‘10, Elizabeth was only 5 months old and crawled for the first time towards it. This year, every single night she and her Daddy would start it up and watch it for what must have been hours. She would load all of her little animals on it and shout, “all aboard…1, 2, 3, goooo”! And every night after bath time, she got to unwrap a Christmas book beneath the tree and we would read it right there in that bottom right corner of the picture.
These are moments I will never ever forget – and that’s what Christmas is really about.
In the middle of the month, we had a totally impromptu gingerbread party! I texted the mommy’s of her closest friends and cousins, and ended up with nine 2-3 year olds around our kitchen table one Saturday morning. Andrew & I built the houses Friday night out of graham crackers and gathered different candies and white frosting for them to decorate with. Elizabeth helped me make a batch of gingerbread cookies for the party. Everyone brought a snack to share and we served hot cocoa and apple juice – so easy. Definitely a new tradition we will be keeping for years to come!
We did a lot of baking and crafts. We did at least one of each every day, and surprisingly, it wasn’t too overwhelming. After Sandy Hook, I looked at the messes very differently, and praised God for the ability to make them!
A little bit of magic in every room. Not too much, just a touch here and there. I scaled way back last year and got rid of a very good portion of my Christmas stuff – it makes it much more tolerable, but just as special! I only want things that truly make me happy and/or have meaning in my home!
I made Elizabeth a felt tree with buttons and her own ornaments, thinking that it would keep her off the big tree. She loved it, and played with it a lot, but it didn’t work to keep her off. I decided to pick my battles though.
Christmas Eve, our church has an incredible service. Afterwards, we went to Andrew’s moms for eggnog, snacks, and presents. Then we always light Mom and CJ’s trees at the graveyard. Mom use to do it for her Mom and Dad who are buried right beside them. Now, I do it for all 4 of them, and plan to continue doing it as long as we live here. Elizabeth always kisses them goodbye without being told. Blows me away and brings me to tears every time. The simple fact that she knows who they are, though she never met them, is so incredible to me.
Christmas morning was so special this year. It was the first Christmas I have been excited for in years! Elizabeth got my old bike, which she loved! And Santa totally surprised me this year too! New luggage, a new vacuum I really needed, 4 sets of glass storageware (so happy to get rid of all that mismatched plastic crap), all new bath towels, hand towels, dish towels, and dish rags, a super surprising ticket to Blissdom this March in Dallas (that I didn’t even mention – or planned on going to), and other fun stuff!!! And the best part? This is our first completely debt free Christmas!!!
We had birthday cake for Jesus with a ham I always bake overnight for breakfast! And around noon, we pack up in our pajamas and head to my aunts for the day! Until my grandparents passed away in ‘02, we all went to their house. Then it was my mom’s until she and CJ died, and now this was our 3rd Christmas at my aunts!
Hope you had a very merry Christmas this year!
And I hope you’re ready for an incredible NEW YEAR!!! We certainly are!