Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Love 2013

It's 8:30 at night on December 26, Cruz is in bed, and I just got myself an over-sized bowl of vanilla gelato out of the freezer.  Christmas remains are everywhere, although I think we are doing better at this point than years past.  We've found a new home for most of our new belongings, except Minion Tim of course, who seems to like his perch from the end table in the living room.  There's a bat cave to my left, a 121-piece marble tower to my right, and the world's softest flannel blanket wrapped around my feet.  I think I've said the phrase, "our house is definitely not ready for this baby" about ten times today, but after the Braxton Hicks I've been having tonight, I'm starting to think anything is possible.  

(Please baby girl, stay in there until I get this tree down...:)

My muscles may ache tonight, but my heart is full of reflections of another special Christmas.  The days leading up to Christmas always tend to be so full of last minutes, but they always have a way of culminating into this peaceful little chorus of slow time and special moments.  I'm not sure how, but it always seems to happen.  I guess that's why we call it the magic of Christmas. 

Our chorus started on Christmas Eve Eve, when we decided to have a very impromptu movie night.  All it took was a fire in the fireplace, a comforter on the floor, and Cruz's pillow from his bed and our little boy knew we were in for something awesome.  He was so excited - the kind of excited I've been waiting for.  It's the excitement and anticipation I remember as a child - the heart-pumping, catch-your-breath joy that oozes out of you at Christmastime.  Cruz had it, evidenced as he talked a mile a minute, ran from kitchen to living room in his striped pjs while Beau popped popcorn, and gave his mom and dad frequent hugs during one of my favorite holiday movies, Elf.  We weren't sure if it would hold Cruz's attention quite yet, but I think he would have loved about any movie this night.  Afterwards, we danced to the credits and fell asleep with the Christmas tree on.  It was a perfect prequel to the days ahead.

Christmas Eve will always be one of my favorite days of the year.  I love the slow preparations that go into the day - setting the table for our Christmas Eve feast, getting our clothes ready for church, taking pictures of Cruz in his Christmas outfit.  This year, Beau smoked a sausage for breakfast, and I made my traditional lasagna, salad, and baked hot chocolate for dinner.  Cruz was a pistol during church, but I forgot it all as I watched his big brown eyes staring so intently at that white candle during Silent Night.  We sang by candlelight, Pastor Dave held a brand new baby girl as he talked about Jesus' birth, and I swallowed the lump in my throat as I thought about holding my own baby girl in just a few short weeks.

We had a storybook snowfall as we left church - the big flakes that dance in the air and sparkle as they hit the ground.  We ate a really delicious meal, Cruz got to drink his apple juice out of a wine glass, and I had a few "too many" glasses of Trader Joe's Chardonnay Grape Juice.  We lit another fire, opened up our traditional 'night before' gift of new Christmas pajamas and a new book, and we snuck outside in the big flakes to spread our reindeer food on the driveway.  I read Cruz Big Snow and Snowmen at Night, kissed his cheeks, then got to work filling stockings and arranging presents just so before settling in with a sugar cookie and Christmas Vacation with Beau.

Christmas morning started with the three of us in our bed, and a three year old who had seemingly forgotten who was supposedly coming to our house the night before.  He wanted to watch cartoons in our bed, so Beau and I made some coffee, lit a fire, and waited until 8:00 before luring Cruz into the living room to see if he noticed anything different by the Christmas tree.  His eyes gave us our answer.  

Last year, our gift unwrapping lasted hours.  Cruz took his time and wanted to play with every single present, completely forgetting he had more to open and more to see.  This year was a different story.  In fact, if we hadn't distracted him every few presents I think he would have had his entire stack opened in ten minutes!  His father opens the exact same way and it drives me crazy - I've been trying to convince him for years now that it's more about the experience of opening than seeing what's in the box but he's not buying it.  When Cruz opened his Batman house at the very end, he kept repeating, "I was looking for this the whole day."  He loved all his gifts, but his eyes with that last one said it all.

We all made out pretty well this year.  Cruz, of course, was thrilled to get some superhero stuff, a new set of race cars, and some Planes duplos, Beau got a new watch, and I love my cozy robe from Pottery Barn, my new books, and my new moccasins.  Beau and I also love Cruz's minion friend, Tim, who talks, sings, and well, acts like a minion when you shake his head and press his belly. 

After a marathon morning of presents, batteries, and trying to keep track of receipts, directions, and small pieces, we had egg bake and apples and dip before gearing up for Christmas at Grandpa Ray and Grandma Mary's.  It snowed most of the morning - the same big flakes we had on Christmas Eve, and we were once again lured outside to play for awhile.  Christmas is always magical, but when big snowflakes are involved, it's straight out of a movie scene.

We had a fun night in Hampton, Cruz was good as gold, and he looked so cute in his puffer vest and boots.  We stopped in Waverly on the way home to watch the most amazing light display set to music, and I got one of the sweetest surprises from my husband and his guitar just before bed.  Our chorus of Christmas ended with my very own chorus from my very own song.  My man's got talent and he never ceases to amaze me.  

Our Christmas, to be continued...

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