28 December, 2016

Christmas 2016

Here in New York Christmas Break is kind of weird because we have an extra break during the second half of the school year. So we have Christmas break, winter break (in February) and spring break (in April). Which means Christmas break is shorter than in most areas, which would be a bummer, except that we do so appreciate that break in February!

Anyway, my point is that we have had to change our mode of thinking about when Christmas really is. I used to think that it was pretty much over by the 26th and started to shift into New Year's mode the day after Christmas. Now, though, since we only have Gage starting Christmas Eve, we think of the week after Christmas as prime Christmas time. And luckily so do many others around us because the lights are still up and it generally feels Christmassy around here still until the first week or so of January. 

With Christmas on a Sunday this year, things just felt kind of different than usual. Last Christmas was a drizzly, cloudy day and I was pregnant with Merit. I literally spent the entire day curled up on the couch next to the fire. This year, though, we had to kind of rush through gifts, get ready for church, and race over so that Steven could get the program inserts printed and cut before the service at 9:30. By the time we got home from church, everyone was kinda pooped and it would have been the perfect moment for a dark, ominous snow storm to blow in. But no, the sun shone right through our big back windows and I felt kind of grumpy about it. Ha.

In a fit of restlessness, Steven and I decided that we would go to New York City the next day (Monday) and go a little crazy and spontaneous. I will post about that later, but for now, here are some photos of Christmas Day. I don't want to sound ungrateful or whiny, but my point in all of this is that while our Christmas Day was really nice, the real meat of the season is right now, this wonderful week between Christmas and New Years. We are soaking each other, the kids' new gifts, and the awesome new gifts we got from our parents, my Christmas candle, the giant bag of pistachios that Steven gave me, and the other Christmas treats we've been hoarding for this very week and absolutely LOVING IT. Plus there's supposed to be a snow storm later on this week, so really, life is just a slice of pie right now!

Oh man, Brooke, stop getting ahead of yourself. Here are the photos of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2016:

The morning began with lots of snuggling. Those are the best mornings!

We have a fun tradition every Christmas Eve. We buy a new boardgame and let the kids unwrap it while the babies are napping. Apples to Apples might have been a little above their maturity level, but we still had fun trying to play it.

We opened up our Christmas jammies early in the afternoon so that we could get to bed early.

Gage asked Santa to bring him a smaller version of his Christmas outfit. I talked to Santa and he suggested we just get Gage a pair of Elf Pajamas to wear with his (dollar store) Santa hat. Plus, he even got a pair of elf socks in his stocking! That kid is all decked out to meet up with Santa and the Elves in the North Pole once he turns 16. Because, as you all know, every kid that wants to gets to visit the North Pole and put in some service hours the Christmas after they turn sixteen.

And then we all gathered around for Christmas Eve dinner. Last year we did a little Bethlehem style dinner. This year we just did ham, fruit, salad, corn pudding and homemade mac and cheese. I'm sorry to say that we are not fans of ham anymore! Not sure when that happened, but we are becoming more particular about meat than ever before. It's weird.

Ready to eat three bites of Christmas Eve Dinner, then declare himself stuffed ;).

I love this picture of Steve kissing Merit so sweetly.

After dinner, Kjel prepared a plate of delicious Italian desserts that no one liked except me! That is a recipe for disaster right there.

And then we gathered for our Christmas Nativity. Gage was the man in charge this year. He spent a week gathering weird clothing items from around the house to serve as our costumes. I love that boy! The longest and most dramatic part of our nativity this year was Mary and Joseph knocking on various doors, asking if there was a place in the inn as Steven acted as different innkeepers and kept rejecting them.

I thought about that. Interesting that to Gage, one of the most crucial parts of the story was the rejection of Mary, Joseph, and the coming Baby Jesus.

The so-very-talented Steve was a shepherd, multiple innkeepers and three kings ;). He was awesome.

Then we hung up our stockings and sang some carols. I tried (again) to read The Gift of the Magi with the kids, just hoping so bad that they'd catch the spirit of it and cry with me. But no. Too many big words. Maybe next year ;).

And then we snuggled a little before bed. :)

The three kids slept in Gage and Will's room and Santa set up a little tree with lights and some little gifts in Kjel's room to keep them occupied in the morning while I finished nursing Merit. So magical. I love Santa.

Once I woke up from nursing Merit ;) we gathered everyone together and lined them up according to age (that's my family's tradition) before heading into the family room to see what Santa brought!

Oh, the beautiful chaos of Christmas. Santa brought Kjel a play-doh ice cream maker and a wand. Gage got a microscope and a marble run. Will got some play doh and a hippo, bear, and lion.

We conned the kids into eating a little bit of breakfast with their chocolate. Ha. I made the most DELICIOUS eggs benedict EVER and no one liked it except me and Steve! Ah, the agony of being an amazing chef with no one to appreciate you ;)

Then we all got ready for church.

I sang in the choir and Steven gave a five minute talk about what happens to our lives when we make room for the Savior. It was a sweet meeting, but we were all glad to get home and change back into our jammies. Gage was so excited that he forgot to stay dressed up for Christmas pictures, which is why he is in his awesome Christmas outfit for the following sibling photos:

 Wait, but first a cute one of Will in our Christmas blanket, snuggling his new Winnie the Pooh.

Yep, Kjel and Merit matched. I found these cute dresses for five bucks at Old Navy. Another bucket list item checked off the list. Matching girls really does feel pretty amazing!

Gage got a digital camera for Christmas and that photo of me above (thanks, Gage!) and these ones down here are all his. I LOVED seeing Christmas morning from his perspective.

DARLING photo of his cute little elf feet. I love that boy!

We facetimed with family. Azure and Luc celebrated their first Christmas as a married couple! Wish I could've been there to give them both a bit squeeze.

 I'll end this post with Gage's cute picture of our fancy tree. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both messy, fun, tiring, and sweet but filled with YOJ. Merry Christmas!

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