The fun (and occasionally stressful) thing about Christmas is trying to cram twelve million family traditions into a twenty-four-hour time span.
The first order of the day on Christmas Eve is making sure that the cookies are decorated for Santa. The poor guy has to go around the world in one night! The least we can do is to make sure he has some milk and delicious cookies to reward his effort.
And then we scramble desperately (the only other time we try our hardest to get out the door on time is Easter) to get three people showered, clothed, photographed, and out the door in time to get good seats in church.
I love the Christmas Eve service. We get to celebrate the birth of Jesus as a whole family! Having both my guys sitting next to me in church warms my heart like nothing else. I kept glancing over at my sweet son, mesmerized by the singing, with his blonde curls and his little hands stuffing goldfish into his mouth. Mushy, gushy puddle of momma. Yep. And getting to all hold hands while we pray in church, and then singing together--well, I love, love, love it.
And then, we get together as a big-ole'-happy family and stuff our faces with food, share joy and laughter with one another, and open our presents. (And yes, I did stick a headband on my head with enormous peppermints on it. And yes, I did feel fabulous wearing it.)
The toddler was soooo excited because Aunt "Caffy" got him some "ayuh-planes" and "heli-caws." The boy was over-the-dadgum-moon excited. He stood in the middle of all of the cousins making zooming airplane noises, and then he and Pops went and played in the living room. Be still my beating heart.
And then, when we got home, it was time for all of our family night-before-Christmas traditions! First, we got in our jammies! Then, we put out the milk and cookies for Santa.
Please notice that my son is wearing 'Twas the Night Before Christmas jammies. Oh, by gosh, by golly, it's enough to make my heart burst!
After we put out the cookies for Santa, the hubbs always reads the Christmas story from the Bible. This year, as he was reading the story, the toddler was busy reading his new Dog book (another gift from Aunt "Caffy"--yes, my son is spoiled rotten from a million different people), and I have to say that the video turned out hilarious! The hubbs is reading about the wise men, the manger, the decree from Caesar Augustus, and the toddler is running around screaming, "Woof! Woof! Doggies! Puppies! Woof! Woof!"
After the hubbs read the Christmas story, the little one snuggled up in my lap and I read--as I do every year--Mary Engelbreit's The Night Before Christmas.
Then, I made some cinnamon rolls, sausage pinwheels, and hot cider!
And after doing a bit of tidying up (Santa can be messy sometimes when he's tracking in all that soot), I lit some Christmas candles, and put on some Christmas music,
and waited. And waited. And waited. And laughed that the one morning of my sweet child's 18 months that he chooses to sleep in is Christmas morning! So finally, at 8:45 (you read that right--this is my son that wakes up at 6:30 every morning), the hubbs and I went and woke little man up. We just couldn't wait anymore!
And then the house was full of things that make this momma happy. Laughter. Excitement. Tearing wrapping paper. Playing with toys. Chowing down on "cake" as my son declared the cinnamon rolls to be. And what an enormous mess my living room turned into--but the best kind of mess! It looked like Christmas had exploded in my house!
After lots of cleaning, it was time to head over to Pops' and BeeGee's house to open more presents! We stayed over there all day and ate dinner together. The little one got an enormous craft table from his grandparents, books galore, and--the present that he undoubtedly had the greatest reaction with--Rock N' Roll Elmo. Oh my. It was the sweetest thing in the world. It was like he thought Elmo had appeared in real life and wanted to play with him. He kept picking Elmo up and covering him with kisses and hugs. And this morning, he came in the playroom, picked Elmo up, and said, "Baby." So, I'm pretty sure they're buddies. Maybe best buddies. :)
After consuming thousands of calories, playing Taboo (which involved some pretty hilarious moments with the siblings), and enjoying a day full of laughter and family, we all got to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets we'd ever seen.
Each year, I say, "This was the best Christmas ever!" But really, Christmas with a child--for me, at least--is the best ever. The Christmas story took on an entirely more gut-wrenching, heart-aching meaning after I became a mom. I cannot fathom how much God loves us that He sent His only Son into the world to die for us who sin daily. What great, enormous, full love!
I enjoy sharing days like this with my family. I especially love watching my son as he is getting older and discovering things like opening presents and leaving out cookies for Santa. It is so much fun. Every day I love being a mom, and I feel so blessed to be this kiddo's mom. My poor child is probably sick of all the snuggles, kisses, and near rib-cracking hugs he gets all the time. Okay, I won't wander into Mommy Land where I could go on and on about my child for hours on end (I might save that for a blog post about having an 18 month old--get excited), but I will say that we had a wonderful Christmas, and that every day I am grateful for the blessing of family and the greatest blessing of all, Jesus Christ!