simply having a wonderful Christmas time

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I know I’ve been singing the praises of toddlers a lot lately, but I gotta say, this was our best Christmas with our girls, yet. It’s the first one where they sort of knew something special was going on, and their joy and wonder have been a joy to behold. I think their favorite part of the whole season has been “kiss-mas wights,” and they love driving around, pointing out light displays according to whose side of the car they’re on– “ETTA SIDE! BEAR BEAR SIDE!” They also love turning on our Christmas tree and, though I worried they would constantly be messing with the ornaments, they actually play with them very sweetly and usually put them back– the lower 1/4 of our tree has seen a lot of rearranging.

On the 23rd, we got to spend “Christmas” with my family, and then because my husband had to work the Christmas Eve overnight shift in the ER, our “Christmas” was actually on Christmas Eve morning. We’ve been sad not to be able to travel to Colorado to see Jon’s family this year, but we did get to Face Time with his parents while we opened our gifts, and it was almost as good as getting to be together. It’s so funny to see how our girls react to the ubiquity of technology. They were holding up their gifts to the laptop and telling Nana and Papa thank you like there was nothing strange at all about the fact that they were on a screen and not actually in the room. It helped ease our missing them a bit.

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It’s fun, too, to sort of be creating our family’s Christmas traditions for the first time. We baked candy cane cookies, which I think will be a keeper. I also have decided that Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and bacon are the best Christmas morning breakfast possible– just pop both into the oven while the kids play with their daddy and their newly opened toys, and then I can get the paper and boxes all cleaned up while they cook. Then we can all enjoy breakfast together without being surrounded by trash.

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I also made meatballs in advance and put them in the crock pot to simmer and soak up sauce all day long. I think this may be a new Christmas Eve tradition. I’ve gotten pretty good at meatballs, and they are so darn easy on the day of. Plus, we can come home from Christmas Eve service and just boil pasta, throw a salad together, and warm up some take-and-bake bread, and then we have a delicious dinner ready before we get utterly starving.

Speaking of Christmas Eve service, our (still fairly new to us) church turned out to have an amazing family-friendly service at 4 pm. There were kids in costumes, live animals, and so many little girls in red smocked dresses, I could hardly stand the cuteness. There were no worries about shushing kids, and they were actually pretty engaged and interested the whole time. I did question the use of candles in a kid-friendly service, and then later heard screams during Silent Night: A GIRL’S HAIR CAUGHT ON FIRE. Not to worry, though, her sister slapped it out, and all seems to have returned to calm and bright. I do so love to look around and see a congregation illuminated in the light of a Christ candle, but it’s a Christmas miracle neither of my girls set the woman in a purple fur coat in front of us aflame.

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This Christmas morning has actually been our day-after-Christmas, and I’m still in my pjs at 11:30, having just put two girls down for naps after playing with new toys and watching movies while Daddy slept of his night shift this morning. We may have had another round of cinnamon rolls.

I am feeling quietly content and storing up these little treasures in my heart. Motherhood sure has made me relate to Mary each Christmas season.

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Yep. EXACTLY like Mary.

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