This post is mostly one huge photo dump...I will recap our holiday a little bit just for my own record keeping. Our holiday video is at the very end of the post if you want to view it- I had a lot of fun making it and after forcing my family to view videos from the past two years I just think it is a neat tradition that I hope to continue in the future. I think Christmas is a special time and yes, it is extra work but I think it is worth it. I try and remember I get the special job of giving my children special memories that they will hopefully remember the rest of their lives. I also know these days are fleeting and I want to make the most of them no matter how sleep deprived I am feeling!
We spent Christmas Eve and Day with my dad and sister. We went to the 3pm service at the Hub (satellite location for Lutheran Church of Hope) to avoid the rigamarole of going to the West Des Moines campus and we were successful. It was a nice, laid back service and it was just perfect. We sat in the back so the babies wouldn't be a distraction...they were perfect and slept the entire time and bonus that we sat right next to the coffee and cookie station!
After church we went to the cemetery to visit Trace's grave site. I will hopefully talk more about how we honor Trace at the holidays in a later post but we like to visit and leave luminaries for the night. This year the theme of the Christmas Eve service was "Light the Night" and it talked about how Jesus's life brought light to the world...so I thought it was fitting we also brought a little light to Trace at the cemetery as well. It was nice because there was just a little snow and it was pretty warm so we could spend some time outside. We don't really have a Christmas tradition other than the luminaries but we heard a family singing Christmas carols at another part of the cemetery so we thought we'd do the same. Michael sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and we all sang "Silent Night". I felt terrible for cracking up laughing during our solemn moment but our singing did not sound very good! It was a special moment and we'll have to practice at home before we go out again next year.
When we got home we had a dinner of snacks (meatballs, bacon wrapped little smokies, veggie pizza, veggie tray, chex mix, cheese and sausage) and then we finished our advent reading and all read the Night Before Christmas together before sending Michael off to bed. I was really surprised at how quickly it got late, even though I thought we'd have plenty of time at home in the evening since we went to church so early. After Michael went down, Scott and I watched a bit of Christmas Vacation until Michael was for sure asleep and then I got busy getting everything out and stockings stuffed. I didn't get to bed until midnight (especially after feeding the babies) and I was so tired! It was a busy day for me but I was also feeling the excitement and running on the adrenaline the holiday brings.
Christmas morning came and I was the first one up (to feed the babies, of course) and I was up for almost two hours before Michael and the rest of the family joined me! It was nice to enjoy baby snuggles, a cup of coffee, the sunrise and take some photos while waiting. It was special to have some time just to reflect on how lucky I am this Christmas to have my family and especially my baby girls with me.
Michael was so excited about Santa visiting and he was so cute running up the stairs and checking under the tree to see if he really came. He said, "he really came! He REALLY did! Santa really came!!". I know that the season is about so much more than just Santa but it has been so fun this year to watch Michael soak in all the magic...I think the season is magical no matter if Santa is involved or not.
We all opened presents and then enjoyed a big brunch of baked french toast, egg casserole, fruit, yogurt, coffee and juice. After breakfast was cleared we spent time opening new toys and enjoying each other's company. My grandma stopped out for a bit as well as my brother, his wife and new baby Noelle. We had a nice dinner of prime rib roast, green beans and a big salad followed by pie afterwards. It was really nice and fairly low key.
The next day my mom came to town with my other brother and his wife. I'm glad they stopped by for a visit although I know they were really on their way to go visit our newest member of the family (Noelle). We ended up having them back for dinner of prime rib sandwiches which worked out well. Michael said he loved having "everyone eat at his table" and I agree- it is special to share a meal with people in your home.
My mom stayed for a few days and it was nice to have extra help while I took down all my decorations. I usually never take them down this early but I was ready for the holiday to be over and just get back to normal. I think it just felt like too much especially with all the baby stuff already in my house. I am happy to have my house back and have been trying to get everything wrapped up for the new year- I have already archived my family christmas newsletters in my scrapbook, updated my address book and made notes for what I want to change for next Christmas. I'm getting nervous about returning to work next week and have been doing little bits here and there to get ready. I'll head up to school after New Year's to work and hopefully that will help me feel more prepared.
So with all that being said...here is our holiday in photos!
I bought these holiday diapers on clearance last year at Target...not expecting to have a baby at the holidays but they were so cheap I thought I could always gift them if I needed to. So cute!
Scott got me six new fiestaware dinner plates and two serving bowls in red-something I have wanted to start for a long time! I hope adding to my collection is a tradition that continues for many years!
And here is our Christmas Movie 2014!!!!