It seems to me that as the years go by and my responsibility in life grows, the Christmas season can get to be more and more of... well, a hassle! (THERE! I said it!)
I still love the cookies (always and forever). I love the carolers, and the beginning of the winter frost (although that gets old fast). I love the lights, the excitement brimming just below the surface in every kid on the block, the Christmas plays, and of course the true meaning behind it all.
But the presents. The lists. The songs. The expectations. Even the decorations can get real.real.STRESSFUL!
But this year... was a true gift. There were still lists... but small ones. There were still decorations, but it was worth it. Because it was MY kids who were finally old enough to bubble with excitement all season long.
We made a LOT of cookies. Almost every day. We went to a lot of events. Parades, Christmas pageants, church. We didn't shop a lot. A group of carolers came to our door. We watched The Grinch and Shreck the Halls and Polar Express with the kids and sang a lot of Frosty the Snow Man and Up On the Housetop. And it was heaven.
Christmas Eve Tyson got off work a little early, and I closed half day. We all got dressed up and the kids were adorable. Anabelle got a second hand pair of Patent Leather dress shoes from her Grammie, and wore them around the house in her chones all afternoon saying how fancy she felt "Like YOU, Mama! Were the SAME!" I felt like a puddle of melted Frosty.
They were MORE than cooperative in front of the tree on the way out the door (talk about Christmas Miracles!)
Tyson's Mom made a Christmas Eve feast fit for kings as usual. She always makes family events so special, spending all day in the kitchen so everything comes out just right. She sets the table with her fancy dishes and her Mom's crystal, buys sparkling cider and other special touches for the kids, and never bats an eyelid when they wipe mashed potato fingers all over her lacy tablecloth. This year was no exception, it was great to have everyone home in their place.
Tyson's family opens family gifts Christmas Eve also, so after dinner and church we went back to his parent's again and for the first year both kids were old enough and more than zealous for an opportunity to pass out the gifts with their Dad.
I found the both kids a new pair of Carter's brand jamies at Ross a few months ago for $6 each. Dawson's are a shade of blue that make his bright little baby boy eyes scream to be noticed, and Anabelle's say "I (heart) rainbows"... which is ironic because remember how she just saw her very first rainbow and LOVED it? Of course they were a major hit.
And then... there were the sweets. I'm pretty sure they are still running on a sugar high... 2 days later.
Santa came (of course). Anabelle got her new dolly she requested, and Dawson got his robot arm along with a 'real' camera! That was all Tyson's idea, and actually kind of an afterthought. He found it online for cheap (shocking, I know), but Dawson adores it! Maybe I'll have to blog about all the cute stuff he takes pictures of, there are already over 100 images stored on it and they're all taken from angles about 3 feet off the ground of things that are important to him.
The kids also got a together gift of Vtech motion game system. Its similar to a Wii for kids... only way cheaper. Surprisingly... it was NOT the hit of the day! Go figure! I think it will be something they will grow to appreciate in time as they learn to use it. They are still basking in the glory of new trinkets from the rest of the world. But I am proud of the overall simplicity and self control that both families demonstrated this season.
I hosted Christmas breakfast here... which was actually brunch as it was almost noon before we all got around to making it happen.
After brunch, we took the kids to see Desperaux in the movie theatre. It was our first family movie event, and a smash success (Christmas miracle #2!). I was shocked to find both kids finally at an appropriate age for the outing... and the best part of all... kids under 5 are FREE lalalalalalalaLAAAAAA! so the entire family of 4 saw a matinee for $8. And it was actually a bearable kid's movie!
I plan to take full advantage of this new development, we have almost a whole year before Dawson has to buy a ticket.
We came home for a short regroup after the movie, and then waddled (we were waddling by then!) over to my parent's house (lucky its CLOSE!) for (yup) more.eats. Potato and ham soup, shrimp, cranberry orange muffins... mmmmmm. Just when we thought we couldnt eat another bite... WE COULD!
And last. My dear, sweet husband. We agreed to stuff each other's stockings but not buy each other gifts otherwise this year. But he still managed to show such thoughtfulness in the surprisingly appropriate items he selected, including the same exact color nail polish I chose for my Mom (without knowing it!), an assortment of my favorite peppermint lotions and scrubs from CoBigelow and this gorgeous necklace that I saw months back (like... summertime!) in the Hands gallery (Figs and Ginger) and fell head over heels in love with.
I'm never taking it off.
What a lovely day.