Friday, December 30, 2016
Home for the Holidays // Christmas 2016
I sit here tonight in a quiet house, with my favorite wool blanket on my lap and a fire in front of me. I'm thick in the familiar territory of the week after Christmas, the whole week off with the kids at home to relax and recharge before a new year sets in. The rush of the Christmas season is behind us, most of the presents have found a home, and I'm ready to throw the remaining sugar cookies in our already overloaded garbage bins because I swear if I eat one more my dress pants are definitely not going to fit when the new semester rolls around. I'm doing my best to soak up this week with the kids at home - putting aside the to-do list and playing, crafting, moving watching, and snuggling, yet, my mind is on over-drive, thinking about the year ahead and all that I hope to get out of it. This is most definitely my transition week, out with the old and in with the new. And as in every transition, my mind is full of mixed emotions. I don't want to take the trees down, yet I am excited to declutter, clear things out, and start afresh. I don't want the kids to go back to school, but yet I look forward to welcoming reestablished routines around here. And it sounds overwhelming to go through these pictures and tell the tales of our Christmas, but gosh, it will be good to relive it.
I set out to be deliberate this holiday season, to prioritize slow nights at home with our family amidst the chaos that often fills the month. And ironically enough, a wintery December with snow, ice, and bitterly cold temperatures affected nearly every weekend leading up to Christmas, altering plans and leaving us home bound for a good part of the month. We were supposed to do Christmas with my family last Friday, but decided to postpone after my brother's family had a bout of the flu at their house. Once again finding ourselves with no plans, this time on the eve of Christmas Eve, we settled in for a slow drip day that included all kinds of sweet surprises. There is no place like home for the holidays.
The morning started with a messy braid and a little tea party on the window bench with Mila while Daddy and Cruz ran to the barber for Christmas haircuts. They came home with surprise donuts just as a surprise snow started blanketing our neighborhood. This is the second year we've been blessed with a perfect Christmas snow, and this year, we had nowhere to go but outside to enjoy it.
The flakes were as big as I've ever seen, so big that my camera had a hard time focusing on anything but them. Beau cleared the driveway while Cruz and Mila explored the fort they and the neighbors had built earlier that week, and before too long, we found ourselves in the backyard around a fire. Yep, a fire, with cocoa and even s'mores on our Christmas Eve eve. We warmed up our hands, dried our gloves, and burned some of the cardboard that had been accumulating in the garage, and I think we were the talk of the neighborhood! Our neighbor Cali took some pictures of us from her window next door and sent them to me that night! She said we entertained her boys for a half hour while we threw snowballs and played around our snowy fire. :)
We retreated inside and warmed up around our inside fire, changed into dry socks, and mixed cranberry Moscow mules before starting dinner. With Otis Redding's Christmas on the audio, we made ham balls, mashed potatoes, and corn casserole, lit some candles at the table, and toasted two more sleeps 'til Santa. While we cleaned up the kitchen, the kids found their furry boots from last year, a discovery this mom was happy about, and some excited silliness set in as they danced and chased each other around the house. We ended the night with popcorn and Home Alone 2, bedtime stories, and cribbage for Beau and I. Boone had one more day to please, and we had fun making a family "Elf Yourself" video that Cruz still talks about from last year. We wrapped up my laptop, tied our Elf friend up with some ribbon, and stuck him under the tree. And then it was off to bed, for the big dance was tomorrow.
Our day, in lots of pictures...