Christmas Eve was packed with activities and we loved everyone. For the first time ever, we began our Christmas Eve by having friends over in the morning. Mary and Andy brought us breakfast and were our only Christmas guests this year. I am so glad we did it both because it was wonderful to chat with them and because it turns out our backup plan of Monday would not have worked at all due to sick kids. The breakfast was delicious and the friendship as rich and wonderful as ever.
After breakfast, we packed up for the rest of a long day and headed back to Brent's parents' house with our side dish and more packages in tow. Things ran very smoothly and strangely on time this year, but were as fun and delicious as ever. Increasingly, the fun centers around the great times had by the six great-grandchildren who range in age from 10 to nearly 1. They have a wonderful time together and even sat surprisingly still for their group picture. They opened their presents and commandeered the office for most of the afternoon of fun. Our prime rib dinner with all the fixings was delicious and followed happily by trays of candy made by Janna. She
was honoring a long-time tradition of her own Grandmother's by taking up Christmas candy making and it was a big hit!
The Jones and Carr families, as well as my crew needed to leave by around six and we did it! We drove straight to mass and were even slightly early. We chose to sit in the "cry" room so the kids had a bit more ability to move around and make noise. B made me smile by dancing to the Christmas music and the Allelujah. M was a complete wiggle worm. She had missed her nap and was very tired and thus refused to stop moving. As we decided to give her her paci for the occasion she was rather quiet. I really enjoyed the Homily which focused, in part, on family and marriage -- including one of my favorite lines from our vows: "What God has joined let no man put asunder." It reminded me again that marriage and parenthood are both sacred wonderful things in the midst of our everyday life. While waiting for communion, I was amazed to see a three month old nearby and try to imagine that M had been that small just a year ago. We were snowed in last Christmas Eve so this was her first Christmas Mass.
When we got home it was time for PJs and Santa prep. We had to move the table away from the fireplace so santa could get in, set up the stockings, and set out the cookies, milk and carrot (for the reindeer, clearly). One of the cookies was from Mary so our day came full circle just in time for bed. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were up MUCH later working on presents, but that's our little secret.