Christmas Day was a good one.
So was Christmas Eve…except for a good fight mixed in there.
Does every couple get in fights on Christmas Eve or is it just me and Dave? Ha! I think motherhood is a little nutty around Christmas. Maybe that’s the reason? There are just so many to-dos swirling around in the air. I know dads do a lot too, but there’s something about motherhood…trying to make it all so magical and trying to think of everything.
I think one of our biggest fights we had was the Christmas Eve back when we were trying to set up to connect with Max on his mission. It was back in the days when you could only talk to your missionary on Mother’s Day and Christmas. That was a lot of pressure. I was so emotional about making sure that call was going to work. So wanting to see that boy of mine and connect (that boy wasn’t an A+ student in connection in writing letters I tell you!). And that on top of all the Christmas hullabaloo were the perfect makings for a good fight.
Ok, but back to this Christmas, let’s start on the morning of Christmas Eve when Lu was determined to get her home-made cookies and special gifts (complete with nice notes) to some of her friends. The two of us made a few deliveries before church.
We also got to talk to our missionary girl while she opened her Christmas package over in Australia (where it was already Christmas day). Thank goodness it’s so easy to talk to missionaries now in contrast to those Max-mission days!! No fights over that one! Those are Murphy’s handprints on her tree in case you’re wondering. LOVE YOU CLAIRE!!!
Yes, it is a miracle we can talk to that girl on the other side of the world, so I guess we’ll take that sometimes she looks like that up there…all pixelated.
Christmas Eve Church
I already talked about our church meeting, filled with sacred sadness and beauty and so much love for those families who lost loved ones this Christmas.
So grateful we got to share it with this crew.
It was a church meeting I won’t soon forget.
We got to talk to Claire again (she’s projected up on the screen below on the left along with Max & Abby even though you can’t see them). Also, Dave’s sister Annie came over to bring us our gift…part of which was that little traditional Santa Claus ornament she made for us…a sweet Pothier tradition.
We worked together to finish some deliveries and prepare for our traditional Jerusalem Supper.
I love those quiet candlelit moments each year where we get to reflect on that miraculous baby birth all those years ago.
The Christ Child and Christmas carols
Our church congregation lined all the streets close to the families who lost their loved ones, so we went and took a walk to reflect and share our respects.
A few years ago our kids kind of grew out of acting out the nativity and we opted to watch The Christ Child instead.
And then, inspired by all the Christmas carols we sang at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and oh, I just love the words of Christmas carols so much, we sat around the piano and sang some carols.
We are not what you would call a singing family, but I had the girls practice some songs before that night so they could accompany us and figured we could bring the Christmas spirit in that way. I even sawed one out on my cello.
Then, after all that packing-in, Dave and I had our good Christmas Eve fight.
But rather than dwell on that, let’s skip to the pajamas:) Because we could pull ourselves together enough for that!
Abby and Grace had helped me pick these out earlier and they were a hit.
Except for poor Lucy who decided she did not like the feel of those things…and changed back to the pjs from three years ago that she cannot seem to let go.
Absence of Sibling Gift Exchange
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know my all-time favorite part of Christmas is when the kids do their gift exchange on Christmas Eve. From the time they were little, we decided to carry on with my growing-up family tradition to keep the “giving” separate and sacred apart from the “getting” on Christmas morning. We started with everyone choosing gifts from the dollar store for their siblings when they were really little, and then shifted to the rotating-gift-exchange where they give to one sibling each year.
There is a special brand of love that fills up our family room when the kids get to give to each other. They are absolutely delighted for their siblings to open what they thought about and spent hard-earned money on.
But this year, because of the way the rotation worked, and Max, Abby and Claire being gone, Lucy would be the only one to open a gift on Christmas Eve. So we opted to wait until we were all together in Utah the next night for the sibling gift exchange.
It’s so weird to have big kids who don’t go to bed before Santa Claus comes.
…and stay up later than us to watch Christmas shows.
I still think going in to join the stocking crew is one of my fav. parts of Christmas. (Missing a mattress down there since we were doing some room shifting to send a bed up to Grace in Utah.) The kids get their stockings delivered to their bedrooms so they can check them out in the morning before waking up their parents (another tradition from my growing-up family).
Claire’s p-day was changed to the day after Christmas for her, so we got to talk to her on Christmas day too….all with our matching PJs:)
This year was the first year the kids didn’t sing before heading in to see their gifts. Dang it. I love that tradition! But at least we did some singing the night before to make up for it.
Lucy, a creature of habit and traditions, was trying to figure out why Santa didn’t write any notes this year. Luckily Santa called me in the nick of time (still with my stocking eye patches on:) to apologize for this. Turns out his sleigh got stuck and he just didn’t have time to write the squiggly-letter notes this year:)
Each year I am so touched by the gifts our kids pick out and give to us. They are so thoughtful and excited to give, and there is nothing like that for a mother. This year, among a few other thoughtful things, they gave me and Dave shoes.
And we love them!
The girls also gave me a video which I’ll have to share soon. Makes my heart throb.
Lucy got a few things, but funnily enough, this was her favorite.
Oh that girl makes me happy.
My favorite gift to give was framed prints of Jesus (the kids liked how I wrapped them and took a picture).
Oh I hope they will keep those framed prints in a place where they will see them each day and think of their Jesus. Who came to save us all. And who can be in the middle of our sorrows lifting us up if we let Him.
This cute crew face-timing from Utah…also with matching PJs. Murphys are coming in a Utah post coming soon! We were excited we’d get to see these three later that night.
Eggs Benedict is yet another tradition passed on from my growing-up family that my kids get stars in their eyes about.
Each year when we make them I get more amazed by my mother who did this for all ELEVEN of us, served on china with a freshly cut grapefruit half, kids underfoot every Christmas.
And I don’t remember ever helping her. She is a wonder.
Thankfully I get a lot of help, barking out orders. Ha! And thankfully Dave’s parents and sister come every year and have learned ways to help as well.
Oh it is so worth all the effort! (Even though we had an empty fridge since we were leaving town and those plates are sure missing some greens!)
Loved getting Dave’s parents and sister involved in the gingerbread contest winner decision:
And having Dave’s brother join us a little later, talking deeper in the kitchen.
Arrival in Utah
And THEN, it was a mad dash to get everything packed up and loaded so that we could head to Utah for our family post-Christmas week. Gosh we sure brought a lot of stuff for skiing, gifts, etc.!
Got there in time to have our sibling gift exchange on Christmas night, reunited with Max, Abby and Murphy.
A little different from usual in this new spot, but still, so much love and happiness in the joy of GIVING this year.
And there we have it, another Christmas wrapped up and in the books.