We were planning to celebrate one more Christmas at my parents' house today, but after a bit of spontaneity and a sudden opening at Knotty Pine Guest House in Decorah, we decided to pack up our cars and get snowed in at the cabin we celebrated Christmas at three years ago. My family does not do spontaneous, so this is big! It's going to be bitterly cold and snowy, and a cozy cabin in the woods sounds like just the way to end our 2017.
We had a wonderful Christmas weekend at home once again this year, the kids at prime ages to get into all the magic and wonder that comes along with this season, and plenty of opportunity to soak it all in here at home. While I really do get into it all - the trolley rides downtown, the Santa experiences at Hick's Place, the family get-togethers, and coffee shop ambience, there really is no place like home for the holidays.
Our long Christmas weekend kicked off for Mila Thursday night, when we picked her up from school after a pajama party. We went through lots of projects and goodie bags together while Daddy made us homemade chicken pot pies for dinner.
The last days of Boone. Although Boone was a little lackluster in his delivery this year (I blame Beau), he did come through in a big way for Cruz, creating Elf Yourself videos of our family on his last morning here. This silly string of music videos with our heads replacing elves', was identified as one of Cruz's favorite memories from last Christmas, and once again brought many giggles to our early risers.
As did the Rudolph noses... :)
Beau had Friday off and we had a rare day just us and our girl. I helped with Cruz's class party in the morning, then came home and curled Mila's hair, dressed her in her favorite festive twirly dress, and we headed downtown for lunch and a little shopping.
We declared Friday night our 2nd annual Jorgensen Top Chef night, a family cooking adventure that came to fruition last year. We each pick out a recipe, give the kids lots of space to have some choice and take an active role in the kitchen, and vote on our favorites for presentation and taste. It's such a fun way to kick off Christmas break for the kids and I secretly hope it's a tradition we look forward to for years to come. I imagine them coming home from college years from now, ready to show off their skills and hopefully create something a little more inventive than pancakes and milkshakes. ;)
Oh and excuse me while I go off on this tangent for a quick second. Beau grew a mustache for Christmas. This endeavor started after health insurance open enrollment ended and most of his appointments were done for the year. He claims that he's doing it for the kids. "Every child needs pictures with their dad with a bad mustache," he says. A rite of passage, so to speak. There was just no talking him out of it, especially when Mila tells him she loves his mustache a dozen times a day. :)
I made banana muffins with a chocolate surprise in the middle, Beau made a grilled "Elvis" sandwich, Cruz made Santa pancakes, and Mila chose these unicorn milkshakes that were actually quite fun to make. We went to the library a few days before and the kids checked out kids' cookbooks, then each picked out their own recipe. Then to celebrate our four-way tie, we opened up the first gift of Christmas - a new board game to play together.
It's no secret that I have a mild obsession with pajamas, especially at Christmas time. Mila was a big fan of this long flannel nightgown, especially when I showed her it came with a matching one for her baby. While Beau and Cruz read books, Mila showed her dolly all the Christmas tree ornaments. It was a sweet little moment with my girl in our quiet Christmasy house.
Christmas Eve Eve was a quiet day at home, too, although pictures from this day will forever make me shudder a little! The day started great - we took the kids to an afternoon showing of The Greatest Showman at the theater, and then to Cup of Joe for hot cocoas and board games. The kids were fine it seemed, although Mila didn't touch her cocoa which was definitely out of the ordinary for her. They were a little crazy, Mila ran up and down the quiet coffee shop bringing one book after another, and we decided to end our night with a pizza at Tony's before heading home. The kids chased each other into the restaurant and we all made bets about who would draw the best Christmas picture for the brick wall at Tony's.
Twenty minutes in and pizza just ordered, Mila started complaining of a tummy ache. She does this often, so we didn't take her as seriously as we probably should of. Especially when she turned in the booth and puked all over herself, our table, and my hands! It was a nightmare! The restaurant was busy, we had nothing but cloth napkins, and our waitress was just about to bring our pizza. I rushed Mila to the car, Beau helped clean most of it up, and Cruz threw a major fit because he wanted someone to hang his picture on the wall! My motherly instincts kicked in and my main priority was getting Mila home, snug, and cleaned up, but I was so sad! I thought for sure it would be our Christmas with the flu. We tucked Mila in bed with a bowl, made things right with Cruz with a few games of UNO, and I traded plans for It's a Wonderful Life with National Lampoons instead. Clark Griswold fit my mood far more than George Bailey!
Thankfully, Mila slept through the night and was back to herself by morning. No one else got sick and we chalked it up to movie theater popcorn and a lot of excitement. But it was just enough to make me thankful and a little more aware of the sadness and disappointment that can often surround this time of year. You count your blessings and trust God with the rest. And you remember that God sent Jesus to be born for far more important reasons than cozy nights and a Christmas tree.
The calm before the storm that was Tony's...
Christmas Eve awaits!