Merry Christmas, dear friends! Despite a touch of sadness this holiday season (in addition to Jack, we also have gotten some bad health news in our family and know two families also going through some serious, terminal illnesses), we have so much to be grateful for. The things that have happened recently have made me really take stock of what is important. It made the craziness of the holiday season seem a bit less important and bring to light what really matters.
Seeing Christmas through the eyes of our children is. . . amazing. I keep having to pinch myself that we have two sweet babies this year. I have visions of future Christmases just getting better and better. I truly have everything I ever wanted or needed this year. I am so lucky and thank God every day for all that we have been blessed with.
Last year, we were all sick (Will with croup, M with a horrid cold, and me with first trimester blech) and had to travel to my parents. Following our Merry Sickmas, we decided to "Take Back The Holiday" this year. It was received about as well as we could have expected. My parents and little brother came up last weekend, we'll see my sister and brother-in-law in the New Year, and we are headed to M's family for the day.
I can't tell you how much of a difference this has made for us. It was our first Christmas Eve at our home. I did miss my parents and the feeling of being around family, but (and this is a huge but) not having to pack, being able to sleep in our own beds, and having the experience of leaving out cookies and milk and seeing Will's face as he came downstairs to find his train table this morning more than made up for it. And we are still celebrating with everyone, so it's like the Christmas that keeps on coming!
We went to Christmas Eve services at our church (a first for us!) and then came home and made pizzas (vegan, gluten/sugar/dairy-free pizzas that are awesome, thankyouverymuch!) and watched The Polar Express. Each kid got to open a small present and then we did cookies and milk for Santa and carrots and an apple for the reindeer. After tubbies and a million (okay, maybe five) Christmas stories, we got the kids in bed by 8 PM and I wrapped some last gifts while M put together Will's train table. We even shared some champagne as we listened to Christmas Carols. I felt like a little kid again as we prepared for Christmas morning.
This morning, Will discovered that Santa had come. He was in awe of the empty plate of cookies and drained class of milk. The reindeer only left an apple core and a bit of carrot. Santa also had to move our fireplace screen to get out and forgot to put it back, so there was a lot of "evidence" of his arrival. And, ohmyword, Will loves his new train table. He is so funny, because he'll play with it, then do something else and come back into the playroom and gasp, "A TRAIN TABLE!" and get excited all over again.
We exchanged presents (Emma's first baby doll, a beautiful mothers' necklace for me, and an X-Box game for M were the highlights) and opened stockings, I made us breakfast, and we watched some Caillou's Holiday Movie. I've been cooking ever since, as we are bringing quite a few things for Christmas dinner (a salad, pappa al pomodoro (made with gluten-free bread), veggies and hummus, chips and guac). My MIL is very supportive of our new healthy eating plan, but I don't expect her to make us anything special. The soup smells amazing and I made enough for anyone to have some who might be interested. Yes, we are still going strong. M has lost 28 pounds and I am back in all of my pre-pregnancy pants. We are still enjoying the food so much that we have just decided to keep trucking along.
All in all, this has been a perfect Christmas and it's not over yet. I am so thankful for all that we have been blessed with and that we have been able to enjoy some time here at our home with our own little family. I hope that you are also having a wonderful holiday season.