Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry, meaningful, and memorable...

That pretty much sums up our Christmas this year, but you know I can't leave it at that, so here's the rundown:

Our holiday gatherings began on Sunday afternoon (23rd), but first we spent the morning at Church. Next year I'm bound and determined that we'll get our behinds to church for either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We continue the long-standing tradition in Brian's family of reading the Christmas story and singing carols before we open gifts on Christmas Eve, but it feels like something is missing when we aren't worshiping with our church family as well.

The source of Sam and Julia's three day sugar high. (and mine too for that matter!)

Sunday afternoon we visited with family, ate, played Taboo, ate, watched the kids being silly, ate, and then braved the blizzard like conditions to get to Grandma and Grandpa's house for gift opening. The wind rattled windows, swirled into drifts, and made the snow fall sideways. That blessed wind kept Brian from having to work - no point in plowing snow that is going to blow right back where it was! Thank you Lord!

Sam helped Sharon hand out gifts. There were so many! Brian's family is very generous and gives us wonderful presents.

Apparently, being spoiled is hard work, but before we could go home for the night the kids had one more gift to "open".

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce the two newest members of our family - Mary and Joseph.

That was a looooong car ride home trying to keep the fish from being evicted from their home.

What I think I'll remember most from the morning of Christmas Eve this year is the fact that Sam didn't want to come downstairs to open gifts because Curious George wasn't over yet. Then when he did come downstairs, he wanted to eat first. I guess my attempt at making Christmas about more than gifts worked. Now I just need to work on his love of TV. :) Both kids loved ripping the wrapping paper and discovering the treasure inside, though the tool set and stroller from the night before were more interesting than the plate I made for Julia and Sam's new markers. Sam did get pretty excited about giving Daddy the ornaments he and Julia made
for him.

See what Brian got me? I finally have a grown-up coat! No more Columbia jacket on Sunday mornings! I asked for something sentimental this year and he didn't disappoint. It was eight years ago that he gave me a jacket for Christmas ( a white Columbia jacket that I returned cuz really, who can keep a white coat white?) Each time I slip into the satiny sweetness of my new jacket I'll be reminded of our first Christmas together.

After a good nap we packed up the puppy, the kids, and the rest of the gear and headed to Grandpa and Grandpa's house again.
This time the house would be full of cousins for Sam and Julia to play
with. Can you tell how excited Julia was about that?

Brian's parent's have the perfect sledding hill right out their front door and Gene kept everyone warm with a fire at the top of the hill. Inside things were heating up between the youngest of the cousins.

Jacob and Julia,
sitting in a chair,


Both kids shared their musical talents with our extended family - sometimes with clothes on, sometimes without. It was so sweet to hear Sam singing Silent Night, Away in the Manger, Joy to the World, Frosty the Snowman, and Up on the Housetop. He's knew Silent Night last year, but all the other's he learned this year. Julia's performance during Brian's reading of the Christmas story will be relived for years to come. She plopped herself down in the middle of the living room so her dress poofed up behind her. Then she fell over and grabbed her toes saying, "tooties, tooties" over and over again - all the while displaying zero modesty as her bum and belly were exposed for all to see.

It was 10:30 before we went downstairs to crawl into our sleeping bags and after 11:30 before Sam fell asleep. There were about 20 tense minutes where we didn't know if anyone in the house was going to get any sleep, but then Julia fell asleep in my arms and turned into a limp noodle so I could transfer her to the pack-n-play. Sam watched Rudolf on our mini DVD player twice and then gave up and went to sleep (tucked warmly in his new sleeping bag). In the morning we enjoyed watching the kids discover their toys from Santa. Sam had asked for a toy train earlier in December and then sent him a second letter when his helicopter broke. Simple, handmade toys will bring hours of fun for years to come. I still have my wooden trucks my Uncle Mark made me when I was a kid. There were stockings to look in upstairs as well before gorging
ourselves on cinnamon rolls, tangerines, and juice. It took Brian at least ten trips to get things loaded in the van before we could leave. All Brian and I wanted for Christmas Day were long winter naps and eventually our overtired children gave in. We woke to the most beautiful snow I've ever seen. It looked like we were in the center of a snow globe the way the flakes floated to the ground. The wind from Sunday was long gone and for the first time in 55 years the Twin Cities saw 4+ inches of Christmas snow. Sam caught his first flakes on his tongue.
A quiet sled ride through the woods on Christmas Day and warm hot chocolate when we came inside was the perfect end to a merry, meaningful, and very memorable Christmas.

We didn't have much money to put towards Christmas this year, but the important things don't come from a store anyway. I pray that Sam and Julia will look back someday at all these pictures (and the 240 I didn't post) and see that too. Do you think the grin on my face can get any bigger?


MckMama December 27, 2007 at 9:33 PM  

How wonderful!! Truly, truly merry, meaningful and memorable. I'm SO glad you were able to capture all of this on your blog, Carrie. You looked beautiful, by the way! Stunning!

Carrie December 27, 2007 at 9:39 PM  

You're too kind Jennifer! Did you happen to notice that we had three good family photos taken this Christmas? THREE. I tried for a month before Christmas to get ONE. Oh well, I think it goes to show that we were really enjoying ourselves.

Grandma Rena December 28, 2007 at 9:52 AM  

Carrie, These memories will be kept so fresh in our minds with your beautiful pictures and narration. Love ya, Rena

Yvette December 28, 2007 at 12:24 PM  

Terrific family pictures! I'm glad you had a wonderful Christmas with your husband & children.

auntie sharon December 28, 2007 at 12:37 PM  

Aargh-why is it that I can only see some of the pictures? I LOVE reading your blog and reliving the good times through your pictures! I'll have to try again another day!

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