It was a slow drip day for us, with no plans other than to get ready for church and dinner with my parents afterwards. Since we were hosting Christmas with Beau's family, too, we were smart and made pans of lasagna ahead of time this year to avoid lots of prep the days of. That morning, I set the table and prepared what's become a perfect Christmas Eve staple, baked hot chocolate in Christmas ramekins. I felt like a pastry chef getting this fancy dish ready and it once again held its own with its warm gooey center with a scoop of ice cream on top.
And then, around lunchtime, a perfect Christmas snow started falling and gave us quite the show the rest of the afternoon. It was pretty unexpected, with a possible chance of just a few flurries, but the snow reminded me that something much bigger than meteorologists are in control here. The snow was absolutely beautiful, with big snowflakes that blanketed the ground all around us, and created the perfect backdrop to prepare our hearts for Christmas.
And now for an overload of Christmas Eve pictures of my children. They were watching the end of Star Wars and eating string cheese and crackers and both pretty distracted, but I love the product of these pictures. Mila's dress was pretty frilly this year, but I spotted it early this fall and couldn't help myself. It had netting underneath to make it extra fluffy, and she loved twirling in her sparkly black shoes.
Mom and I left early to save us some seats at church and enjoyed a half hour of quiet time with coffee and Christmas music. It was another beautiful service at Orchard. Every year, the kids change and I watch them with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat through the whole service. Cruz was so sweet, standing on the chair next to Papa during the opening Christmas hymns, singing the words he knew with all his might. He kept his candle in close proximity the entire service and when it was time to light them up, he held on tight and didn't move a muscle through Silent Night. His brown eyes sparkled as he intently watched that flame, and I smiled watching him, remembering just how important the little things amidst a season that's become so much about big and bright.
Mila, on the other hand, proved to be quite a pistol during the service. Poor Beau had to take her out twice, and spent most of the service in the atrium!
After church, we trudged through our Christmas snow and gathered around the table for dinner. The kids opened up their Christmas Eve boxes and changed into their matching pajamas, complete with ridiculous fur slipper boots I couldn't resist. Grandma gifted us a new ornament for our tree, and left us on our own to tuck the kids in bed for one more sleep before Santa.
One of my favorite parts of this night. Like little elves, Beau and I get to work, with wine and sugar cookies and Christmas music fueling our way. Last year, the kids received these personalized Christmas bags from Aunt Gina, and I loved filling them and setting them by our tree.
It was pretty special celebrating this special night, our first one in this place we'll call home for years to come. Before going to bed myself, I snuck out in the cold for a little time to myself. I guess a part of me didn't want it to end.