Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

"Blink" and it's over...
The many hours of back breaking wrapping of the perfect gifts for loved ones took only seconds to be ripped apart and admired and set aside for the next one....
It was a nice Christmas.  Our family tradition is to celebrate on Christmas Eve with a late lunch / early dinner followed by gift opening...of course the kids are anxious to open gifts so not much eating is done by them.  Nate, Elsa, Abby & Jack arrived around 2:30 to start our celebration.  I prepared a very easy meal of Italian beef in the crock pot & homemade mac & cheese.  Elsa brought a potato casserole, veggie tray, cheese dip and lots of desserts...The only cookie baking I did was Mike's favorite, butter crisp (snow ball cookies).  If Steph were going to be home I would have made the famous Lemon bars and 6 layer cookies...So...after eating, we all chose the spot we would open gifts at and Abby & Jack passed out the gifts.  Instead of going one by one to open, they like to open all at once.  Of course everything they opened they said "this is just what I wanted". 
Jack was our paper picker upper and did a great job.  Luckily Abby had a big box that her American girl doll van came in we used as our garbage can. 
Then it was time for Nate & Grampa to help open all of the boxes to get the toys out...what a job.  Knives and scissors were needed and lots of patience.
Abby & Jack had lots of time to play with their new things before we all got ready for the Candlelight service at church.  It was a special time at church sitting on the pew with part of my family and Mike by my side.  It was hard to hold back the tears during the singing of "Silent Night" as all the candles were lit and the church was dark....Such a humbling experience to honor the Birthday of our Saviour.
After service we went home to relax. 
Christmas morning I woke up too early as usual.  Elf on the shelf had left me a Kohl's gift card.  Mike and I agreed not to exchange gifts this year because we considered our new car our gift to one another...but he always has to leave something for me from Santa, but this year it was from Aurora, our elf.  And when I thank him for what was left he always replies that he didn't leave it...OK Mike.
So...Mike and I took breakfast stuff over to my moms early on Christmas morning so I could cook us all a nice breakfast and then we Skyped with Steph, Jeff, Noah, Carter, Gray & Ivy and opened our gifts.  It was like being in the same room.  It was emotional for me and my mom having to say good-bye and sign off.  I sure hope it gets easier in time.
Christmas afternoon Mike and I went to our daughter-in-laws parents for lunch.  The highlight for me was holding a fresh new baby boy, Mason.  We stayed a few hours and then home again to rest up so we could go to Nate & Elsa's later in the evening to eat a Lasagna meal and see what Abby & Jack got from Santa.  It was wall to wall toys in their house.  Abby was organizing her new doll house and Jack was shooting bullets from his Ninja turtles tank. 
On our way home it was snowing the most beautiful magical snow I've ever seen on Christmas night.  We drove down a stretch of road that reminded me of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" where George runs down the street while it snowed.  It was the perfect ending to our Christmas.  When we got home, I Skyped again with Steph and recapped the day.  I think everyone was happy with their gifts.  Another Christmas come and memories made...maybe next Christmas my whole family will be together...I can dream!

Monday, December 9, 2013

16 days til Christmas

I am guilty of neglecting my Blog...I didn't post anything in November.  Shame on me! 
Is it really December already?  As I am typing, the snow is falling and everything outside looks frozen.  I have never been this organized on December 9th before.  I have 98% of my Christmas shopping done.  I knew I needed to mail gifts to Oregon and that's what made me start so early.  I love ordering on-line and avoiding the crowds at the stores.  Thanks to Steph who gave me their wish list, it made it so easy.  My son also gave me a list of things the grand kids wanted way before Thanksgiving, so I got that out of the way.  He also did shopping for me for my daughter-in-law and himself....which made it very easy.  I just needed to write the check. 
I never thought I would break a tradition, but I put my tree up before Thanksgiving.  I quite liked doing it that way because it freed up my time the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I may do this again next year.  I never get tired of looking at my tree.  I decorated with all my special ornaments and saved the Disney ornaments for the grand kids to hang after Thanksgiving dinner. 
So, I am not feeling overwhelmed, in a rush to finish up and that's a great feeling this time of year. 
I am looking forward to doing fun things before Christmas.  My daughter-in-law invited me to a Christmas Play this Sunday afternoon called Junie B. Jones.  It will be a girls day out.  Her mom, sister, niece, her sisters mother-in-law and my grand-daughter, Abby will all be going.  We will do dinner before.  It will be a special time.  I am also looking forward to an Ugly Sweater Party before Christmas at my cousin's house.  Lots of fun things aheadNo stress!