Wednesday, December 25, 2019

home for the holidays

Merry Christmas!

I’m typing while sitting on the couch, surrounded by the scattered aftermath of Christmas: new toys, discarded boxes, bits of wrapping paper, candy wrappers, and pine needles (so many pine needles). Dan is next to me playing a new video game while Mae is conked out upstairs after a long, fun day. Our first Christmas at home was a success!

Last Friday we drove to visit my family for some pre-Christmas festivities. We kicked the weekend off with a trip to the theater to see the latest Star Wars movie with Dad, Kevin, and Christopher while Mae stayed home with Grandma. We spent most of Saturday lounging around the house and made a quick visit to the Christkindlmarket in the evening. Sunday, we drove downtown for one of my favorite traditions, the symphony’s Christmas show. We left Mae with a babysitter, but she’ll be old enough to enjoy it next year. I am so excited to share the experience with her, since she will love the music, dancing, and beautiful costumes! We finished the evening with our sibling gift exchange.

On Monday, we opened our gifts from Mom and Dad.

Mae was so excited to get her very own suitcase, a Bitty Baby, and a little camera. She spent the rest of the day packing everything up, “traveling” to different cities, and taking photos... lots and lots of photos.

We went to the zoo in the evening to see the Christmas lights and the dolphin show. Mae ran to each animal, snapped a photo, and then ran on to the next animal. We could barely keep up!

Christmas Eve morning, we woke up early for Breakfast with Santa. (Mae asked Santa for candy canes. “Big ones. And little ones.”) We ate breakfast and then took Mae to play the little carnival games they had set up. She also got to meet Anna and Elsa. (She just saw "Frozen" for the first time last week when she was home sick from day care. She liked it, but I don't think she has "frozen fever" yet, thank goodness.)

We took pictures with Christmas props at the photo booth.

I laughed until tears were rolling down my face when Mae put on this giant Santa head.

On our way out, I made Mae pose behind this sign that said “TEAM.” It was too perfect of a backdrop to pass up (with some strategic cropping and a bit of leeway on the direction of the E.)

We drove back to our house straight from breakfast to celebrate our first Christmas at home... ever! Mae took a quick nap, and then we went to early evening mass. Afterwards, we had homemade pizza for dinner (topped with pepperonis and spinach for Christmassy colors). We opened our last advent calendar door, watched “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street,” set out cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer, and read ‘Twas Night Before Christmas. Mae took a long time to fall asleep with all the excitement.

In the morning, she called out to me and I went upstairs to get her out of bed. She looked worried and said, “I don’t think Santa came.” She came down the stairs and ran to the fireplace to find that the cookies, milk, and carrots were gone. Then she ran to the living room to find her presents!

She was excited to open a Playmobil school, more wooden train track, and the game Loopin’ Louie. We spent the rest of the day in our pajamas, playing (and setting up) the new toys. We even went to the playground in our jammies, since it was in the 60s and beautifully sunny! We made a delicious ham dinner and snuggled in for our third viewing of “Muppet Family Christmas” this season.

We had a cheerful, relaxing, quiet Christmas, and it was wonderful! Merry Christmas to all!

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