Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas highlights

No matter how much we tried to put on the breaks around here, Christmas came in like a freight train.  In the midst of the peace of Julia in the role of an angel in the Christmas Eve children's service and the quiet moments with Charlie before Julie awoke on Christmas morning, we were bombarded with the joyful sounds and experiences of Christmas.  The unwrapping process took approximately four days due to Julia's insistence on playing with every gift that she opened and helping Charlie unwrap his packages.  We are still reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and Julia takes care of her daily arrangement and rearrangement of her 3 nativity scenes.  It is quite appropriate that it is a prolonged experience here.  I think by the time we squeeze fullness out of the season, the wisemen will be arriving at the Bethlehem manger stall.  
Christmas last year was quite different.  It involved an 18-month old who could care less about the volume of her gifts, but enjoyed every part of unwrapping the boxes.  I watched a video of her at Christmas-time last year and she was a wobbly toddler who spoke with words that only a mother could decipher.  Now, she is a surefooted little girl who is very clear about her needs.  Since Charlie and Julia are almost exactly two years apart, I can look at the pictures of Julia from last year and imagine how Charlie will experience it next year.  There are so many photos from this holiday season that are such fun reminders of how things have changed. They have familiar tones of years past and as I see them, I can't help but think ahead....
We were so excited to see Julia's reaction to the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.  We couldn't wait for her to wake up, so we sent Charlie in to get his sister:
I always did this to my sister.  I find it to be one of the top reasons of all time to provide your child with a sibling (among other things...)
Julia's favorite gift was her kitchen.  She is such a good little cook and she has been diligently at work in that kitchen since she "unwrapped" it at 8:30am on Christmas morning.  At this very moment, she is making brownies - brownies with a plastic fried egg on top.
Top Chef, eat your heart out.
Her fairy costume was a distant second favorite.  
A fairy princess who cooks.  She just waves her wand and the cooking is complete.
Ha, brilliant!  I wish I had that kind of power.
Charlie enjoyed the wrapping paper the most, but he decided to hang out with George most of the day.  What a precious little gift.  Last year we didn't quite know who he was (although he definitely made his presence known to me).  Now he is celebrating his first Christmas.  We gave him sweet potatoes for Christmas dinner to celebrate - his first food.  He is off and ready to eat (and is quite willing to consume Julia's culinary creations!)
And finally, the only thing that could pull Julia away from her own kitchen is the opportunity to bake with me in the "big kitchen".  Mainly because it usually involves sprinkles and the chance to get messy.  I love these photos.  They remind me of the memories that I cherish with my family as every holiday involved cooking great recipes among the many generations in my family.  Although I longed for my mother and grandmothers in the kitchen with me this year, I was excited to continue this with my children.  Yes, the time in the kitchen is usually doubled, but it is priceless.  
My hope is that your Christmas was filled with thoughts of family, memories past and hopes for the future.  And more importantly, I hope it was truly special just as the New Life who came to earth to save the earth.
Merry Christmas!

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