Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas Season

This year's Christmas season will be one I will always cherish and remember. Eva was SO excited for all the Christmas festivities -- she LOVED watching Christmas movies with Mommy (her favorites were Beauty and the Beast's Enchanted Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas), decorating the tree (which she did daily - taking ornaments off the tree and rearranging them), coloring Christmas pictures, and making Christmas crafts. The afternoons were I'd finally get her to sleep (usually around 2 or 3) and then spend time in the living room, cuddling Izzy, folding laundry, wrapping presents, or watching Christmas movies while the lights twinkled were peaceful. The one nice thing about the days being so short is that you get to enjoy the beauty of the Christmas lights more!

We visited Santa Clause, which she was excited about all week, but once it came time to talk to him she didn't want to let go of me. So, our Christmas pictures are less than ideal again this year. Izzy didn't much up much of a protest!

We made ornaments for our tree and to give as gifts to grandparents after naptime. Eva was so excited to make her handprints. She loves to get jobs and takes them very seriously. She rolled the dough, pressed her hand when she needed to, and painted them all to her liking.

Once Christmas came, it came in all its glory. We started the holiday in Virden, celebrating with all our aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents down there. I think Eva was more excited about getting the chance to play with Alex and Amelia than her presents!  It's always fun to see how excited they are too see each other, and I always enjoy catching up with my sisters in law. We spent that night at Aunt Molly and Uncle Adam's house, where I'm pretty sure the kids would have stayed up until dawn in the playroom if we would have let them.

The next day we organized for church and then headed to Hillsboro for the Furness family Christmas.We made a stop to visit Ma in the nursing home first. It was nice to see her, but it's debatable as to whether or not she recognized us. Afterwards we headed to Grandma Furness's house. It was great to see cousins we only see at Christmastime and catch up with all of them (and marvel at how big all the kids have gotten!)We didn't get to talk to everyone as long as usual, though, since half of us went swimming at the fitness center and the other half held strong to their allegiance to the Chicago Bears. But it was still a nice, relaxing afternoon. The night ended with a bit of sensory overload, so we headed back home to sleep, reorganize, and start again!

The next day was Christmas Eve, and we spent a very low-key day at Grandma and Papa Adams's house with Uncle Eric. Eva was less excited about opening presents and mostly wanted to sit and watch Dora the Explorer. So, we just took our time and eventually all our treasures were unwrapped. Naps, food, and movies filled our day until it was time to go to the Christmas Eve service at church.

We had been debating as to whether or not we should try to put Eva in the nursery for the program. She has been so into learning songs and singing, I thought she might like to sing with all the other kids. I didn't take into account, however, her serious lack of regard for where she is and what is going on around her. As soon as the kids marched into the gym, Eva broke away from the pack to attempt to sneak on stage and steal a stuffed sheep she has been admiring all season in practice. So, she sat with Mommy until it was time for her first appearance on stage. As all the other children obediently  recited their lines, Eva took to wandering around in front of the kids, behind the kids, talking to her cousins, and petting the sheep. Phase 1 -- not a great success. After that, Izzy was hungry so I left Eva in the hands of the stage help backstage. The kids sang "Away in a Manger" -- I missed it, but got to see the video later. She sat down through the whole song and pet the sheep, but she did sing along. Phase 2 -- we'll call it a success. When I returned, the audience was laughing and I just knew that it had to be my child. I looked up and there she was, onstage when she wasn't supposed to be, saying hello to the baby Jesus and giving him the lamb she stole from the manger. Phase 3 -- again, not a great success. I had lots of people tell me later that she stole the show, but I hope there weren't too many parents that were angry that my kid was, at many times, stealing the show away from them!

The next day was Christmas Day -- our family Christmas. Santa came and delivered presents right when we got home from church and Evalee and Isabel went to bed. We had a wonderful morning opening presents and playing with all the new toys Santa brought. I even forced myself to sit and enjoy for a few hours before I started breaking down cardboard and organizing. After we played for a while, we headed to Aunt Carol's for Christmas with some of the Parchert family. We played games, watched movies, and ate lots of yummy appetizers and soups.

It was a busy, busy 4 days, but it was so great to see so many people we love for the holiday. Things will be so different next year with two little ones walking around. I can't wait to see our traditions continue.

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