It was my favorite Christmas Eve yet.  
And we spent it here:
…and here:
Without any hoopla or decorations.  
Our one string of Christmas lights we brought along with us didn’t even work and boy howdy, we had a rough time getting Christmas music to play that night.
But it was a grand night.
Because we had nothing but each other and an adventure that laid ahead (I already wrote all about that back HERE and the subsequent posts that follow that one), and the “thick Christmas air” (HERE) settling in around us.
But lets back up a little bit.
Let’s back up to the night before Christmas Eve (“Christmas Adam” as my kids like to call it).  
It was a crazy day.  
We were scrambling all day long trying to tie up loose ends on the house, trying to pack up enough food and tools for our Mexico building project, trying to tie up Christmas gifts, and trying to pack up a family of seven with stuff like working gear and first aid kits.
Our house was what you could safely call a complete disaster with piles of suitcases and wrapping paper and groceries strewn across every counter and couch and bed.
In the midst of all the commotion, our hot water heater broke, spilling out water all over our garage.  We hired a guy to come put in the one from the house we’re remodeling because we figured it was luckily a perfect fit.  After a lot of work (the stand the old one sat on was all broken down from slowly leaking over a long time), the guy got it all installed and set to go only to find that water heater was broken as well. 
Dave had to scramble to get a new one and get it put in while I tried to get the last of the kids to Target to get their gifts for each other with their hard-earned money and wrap everything up and plus do Saturday Jobs because our cousins would be coming to stay with us here right when we got back from our trip.
After Dave and I tucked the kids into bed we ran over to the new house to check a few things and to make sure which color paint we wanted where before we left because painters were hopefully going to have that whole sucker painted while we were gone.  
We pulled into our neighbor’s driveway (they were out of town) and I juggled a few sample paint cans (one bright turquoise one I was going to try on Elle’s bedroom wall to see if we dared…).  But my tower of samples was uneven and as I stepped out of the car, all in what seemed to be slow motion, that tower toppled, and as “luck” would have it, the can containing the brightest most vivid paint broke on impact:
A splatter of bright turquoise growing at my feet seeping into their driveway (and into my suede boots as well).
Then the freak-out began.  
Both Dave and I running like chickens with our heads cut off scrambling to find a hose, something to mop it up with, paint thinner to scrub.  
And scrub.
And scrub some more.  
In the end we got it all cleaned up.  
Good as new.
But oh, our neighbors could have some fun watching us on footage from their security camera.
We were a circus act I tell you!
The next day we finished it all off, jam-packed the car up to the ceiling, and took off.
It sounds weird that going to the grocery store on Christmas Eve was one of my highlights but I loved watching the kids take in how different it all was…and having Max help us figure a few things out with the three years of Spanish he has under his belt.

By the time we were done there we were half starved and started cruising the streets to find somewhere to eat.  After driving all over creation and almost giving up, the warm glow of this restaurant sure welcomed us in.

I don’t know that you could ask for a better Christmas Eve meal 🙂

As the mariachi band surrounded us and got us all singing along, we sipped on our Mexican drinks and inhaled the chips and salsa, I don’t know that the air could have been thicker with love and gratitude and joy.

We drove back to our condo through all kinds of “Alto” (stop) signs that Dave kept missing and singing Christmas carols.

We arrived in time to to take baths (hence the wet hair in the next pictures) and to open our traditional Christmas pajamas and the “piece de resistance” of Christmas Eve as far as I’m concerned:

The kids’ gift exchange (which we always do on Christmas Eve, whether in Mexico or not).

I’ll let the pictures tell the story on these ones (and one video).

Too funny to leave out:

See why I love that so much?

Dave’s traditional reading of “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”

Ready for those visions of sugarplums to dance in their heads.

…even though they knew we had requested Santa give their Christmas stuff to the Mexican children, we figured he’d probably still find us to at least bring a couple little things and add a few things to our stockings.

And we were right 🙂

A Christmas Eve never to be forgotten.


  1. I LOVE this post 🙂 It looks like a very special christmas 🙂
    The funny thing is, that I always in my head pronounced Elle's name like the letter L (or the French personal prenoun ;)) Guess I'll try to read it differently now.

  2. I had the same comment as the first one…I have always pronounced Elle's name as "L". Thank you for sharing your family with us. Your kids always have the greatest smiles.

  3. What an amazing experience for your family! I loved the spirit I felt just reading about it; I can only imagine how much more it meant to be there and have the great memory to last forever.

  4. I feel silly saying this, but I literally cried watching your videos. It was all so very sweet. And EVERYONE just looks sooooo happy. I'm hormonal (5 months pregnant with my third) so I'm guessing that's why I cried?! LOL Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  5. You are definitely INSPIRATIONAL!!! What an amazing experience for your cute family!!! You truly captured what Christmas is and should be all about!

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