We started out our Christmas celebration the way we have for many years, with a traditional Polish Christmas Eve meal and my aunt and uncle's house. This year it was on Christmas Eve Eve. The kids liked the cookie butter appetizer the best and had hours of fun trying to blow out the pretend candles in the centerpiece. (That's me with no head in the background. I'm giving tunics a try. Mostly because I need a reason to wear leggings more often)
The meal was fun and delicious and festive as always. I really look forward to the pierogi course ever year. Mary didn't make it to dessert. Which was too bad, because rum cake.
Charlie still loves borcht, Wes refused to try it, and James ate a huge spoonful then reached for my wineglass, exclaiming "THIS SPICY, MAMA!" Other highlights, the adults were all standing around in the dining room between courses near the end of the meal, relaxing and talking and paying ZERO attention to the children, when the doorbell rang. When the host opened the front door, in spilled all the kids, including a pantsless, barefoot James who had somehow managed to pick his way through the xeroscaped front yard without becoming entangled with a cactus. That's when they were not allowed in the back yard anymore.
On the real Christmas Eve, the next day, I put on my holiday finery and ventured out to the grocery store.
I swear to you, I saw lots of grouchy people, but people were so nice and happy around me. It was the jinglebell vest, I know it is. Which is why I wore it all day.
When I returned home with the makings of our feast, I put the kids to work Pinteresting up our Santa snack.
And THEN, we dragged everyone to church! Some of us were happier to be there than others. Like Charlie. Charlie was pretty much on the edge of an explosion the entire time we were there (later, when Charlie began licking his stuffed shells while Wes was saying the family Christmas Eve grace, we realized that he was just really, really hungry). But Wes and James had a great time being Kings!
And an angel! A squishy, squishy angel!
Lighting candles and singing Silent Night is my favorite tradition.
Once we got home and fed Charlie at our fancy family Christmas dinner, everyone had a really nice time. Charlie and Wes even led us in a family sing-a-long after dessert. They excitedly put the cookies out for Santa and changed into jammies and got into bed with NO FUSS. Ryan and I went downstairs and watched the Netflix fireplace video for an hour before we dared check on the kids, lest they think we were Santa and never fall asleep again, and when we finally creeped up the stairs we found Charlie and Wes cuddled up together.
Some Christmas morning pictures (and might I add that Christmas morning happened at a surprisingly normal time, even though Charlie scared the pants off of me when I was in their room looking for my Kindle at one o'clock in the morning and he told me a knock knock joke in a perfectly clear, not at all sleepy, voice).
James got a baby stroller and we couldn't find his baby because it was in the car, so he convinced us to use Mary instead.
I have three freaking brothers.
Charlie and Wes shot their Nerf dart guns all. morning. long. And all afternoon. And the whole next day. Until everyone lost their gun for shooting them at each other in the bushes in our front yard.
The final stop on the family tour o'Christmas was another aunt and uncle's house, where we feasted on beef tenderloin and twice baked potatoes. Mmmmm. And wine. Another great celebration and another party we left with crying kids in various states of undress. Happy New Year!