Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Favorites - Christmas Eve

I'm feeling all sorts of things tonight on this third day after Christmas.  A usual mix of overwhelmed as I look around at the aftermath of a whirlwind week of six family Christmases, motivation to purge, sort, and reorganize after lots of new things were opened and loved, anticipation as I look ahead to a new year with lots to look forward to, and most importantly, lots of joy as I sift through pictures and feel so grateful for another Christmas filled with so much love.  It was Mila's first one, a unique one with no home of our own to rekindle my favorite traditions in, and as crazy as it felt at times with six of us under one roof, I'm confident I will look back and recall this one with a big smile on my face.  Grandma and Papa had a front row seat to all the action this year and it was special to share those moments with them.  As I was filling stockings and arranging Santa presents just so under their Christmas tree late Christmas Eve night, Mom laughed and said Santa hasn't visited her house for years.  I'm sure she was reliving old days of doing the same, of tucking us in under twinkling lights, reading about Mary, Joseph, and a manger, and remembering that once-a-year magic you feel as a parent to kids on Christmas Eve.  There's just nothing like it.

Our magic began on Christmas Eve night when I got Cruz and Mila ready for my favorite church service of the year.  We had good baths and long afternoon naps and I carefully dressed them in new outfits.  With my own memories of wearing a brand new Christmas dress on Christmas Eve night every year growing up, I had been waiting all year to find just the one for Mila's first Christmas.  I found one that looked just like her - a soft gray sleeveless dress with eyelet lace lining the bottom, cream ruffly tights and a sweet cream sweater with pearl buttons to go over top.  It fit her to a tee and she looked sweeter than she ever has before.  She stood up on her tippy toes on my parents' window seat with the Christmas tree in the background and I swear I could have stared at her face for hours.


Cruz looked equally handsome in his khaki cords and chambray button down and was so sweet before church, loving on Mila and getting a little too excited about opening his first gift, one he wasn't supposed to open until my parents' Christmas on Friday!  But Cruz really stole my heart at the candlelight service that night.  He was so excited to hold his own candle and he took that responsibility quite seriously.  He clutched that candle through the entire service and waited patiently for the big moment.  I loved watching his face light up when he finally got to light his candle, how he tried to mimic the words to Silent Night, and how he watched the videos and listened to the music so intently.  It was the first year he seemed to understand the special meaning of Christmas and I swear I could have stared at his sweet face for hours. 

After another gorgeous service, we drove back to Allison for Christmas Eve festivities.  We dunked big hunks of bread into bowls of hearty zuppa toscana and topped it off with slices of melt-in-your-mouth French silk pie.  Cruz and I sprinkled reindeer food on the driveway, set out a plate of Great Grandma's famous sugar cookies for Santa, and he and Mila opened up their traditional gift of a new pair of jammies and a new book before bed.  They each received the most sophisticated pair of flannel professor jammies and Cruz said they were just like the boy on the Polar Express.  After tucking them in bed, we drank red wine and got to work as little elves do while Jimmy Stewart played in the background.

More pictures of our Christmas Eve...

One more sleep! 

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