Now that we're firmly in mid- to late-January, I feel as though my thoughts are a bit more orderly and I've had time to sort out photos too, including some from Christmas. It seems a shame to bypass any note of how we celebrated this year, so even though this is very late, I still want to record our Christmas, with joy!
We had two Christmas celebrations, one with each of our families. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we celebrated with Nicholas' family. My SIL gave all the girls matching pjs (organic cotton and so comfy) so we wore them on Christmas Eve. We watched online Christmas Eve service, enjoyed a dinner of biscuits and gravy, and opened stockings and played cards. We drove home with the smallest snowflakes falling.
Christmas morning was quiet with just the three of us, eating bacon and eggs and drinking coffee, reading the Christmas story and exchanging gifts between us and a few for Cooper. To say Coop was enthusiastic about opening gifts in an understatement. After our morning, we ate lunch and then headed to my in-law's for an attempted nap for Coop (unsuccessful, if I'm remembering correctly). We exchanged gifts in the afternoon, and then made ham, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. Nicholas and his dad spent a few hours assembling a swing for my MIL (a gift from her parents). We had peppermint coffee and grain-free coffee cake and cookies in the afternoon. I'm pretty sure A Christmas Story was playing in the background and we chased Cooper around. We took some photos on the assembled swing while it was in the garage because it was only around 15 degrees. And then we headed home, and video chatted with my family before Cooper went to bed. Such a full and lovely two days.
And then, a week or so into January, my parents, brother, and Grandma Donna came to visit and see our new home for the first time and to celebrate a belated Christmas together in person. We exchanged gifts. We played rummy and watched some Talasbaun together. My dad and I made chocolate covered pecans and walnuts. We played in the backyard with Cooper and visited the park down the street and Cooper went down the slide over and over, wanting my parents and my brother to catch him and "reset" him to go again. My mom read books to Cooper. I chatted with my mom and Grandma about motherhood and quilting and knitting. We visited the lights and the tree still up in Central Park and watched people ice skate (Coop's favorite thing to watch). And we snacked on cranberry oatmeal squares and drank quite a bit of coffee. It was so nice to give family hugs in person, and so special to see Cooper grab my dad's hand walking home from the park, or to see them play with the wooden train set together. To see my mom chase him around. Lots of little moments and blurry photos treasured up in my heart, from both Christmases.
Christmas felt a little more sacred, less hurried, less distracted than is has in recent years. I just keep thinking about the truly miraculous concept of the Word made flesh. Jesus, coming here as a baby, growing into a perfect man who would die to redeem us. What wondrous love is this.
It's the week of Christmas! Advent has felt different this year, faster and slower than prior years. There are a million things to say about this year, but on the best of days, it highlighted the joys of being still, living a quieter life, being at home. Here are some other little bits of joy in the last couple of weeks:
And just like that, it's December, and the start of Advent. We've been making our home cozy, and I've especially enjoyed figuring out how to decorate our new space. Little pops of Christmas cheer, wherever we can.
Since our move back to the Midwest this past spring, we are seeing a little more of my family. But it never feels like enough, so it's so special to spend in-person time with them, and even more sweet this time of year.