I'm writing about things a little out of chronological order, but it seemed to make more sense sharing our news first and then writing about Christmas and my annual year-in-review. With that aforementioned news, lots of things changed this year.

I already wrote about our early Christmas in Indiana where we celebrated with Nicholas' family. It was a lovely trip! And what made it even more wonderful that I didn't mention at the time was that we shared baby news with family on that trip, in person and over the phone and FaceTime. Christmas 2018 will always be the time of year when we shared about this new little life. And that makes an already favorite season of mine extra special.

For Christmas Day and the days leading up to it, we had a quieter affair. I worked a few hard shifts in a row, and unfortunately felt rather sick. So, the day before Christmas Eve, Nicholas took me on a date to Whole Foods for some supplies, i.e. foods that sounded good and that would be gentle on my stomach. We picked up pears, applesauce, and some special occasion dairy-free yogurt (expensive, but amazing), collagen powder, and a few other things.

We ate pannakakku and clementines and crackers and cheese. And we definitely did not eat chicken (no thank you)! Thankfully, I had frozen some ham from Thanksgiving, so Nicholas could have a bit of variety with his Christmas meals. He's been such a good sport about eating what I want to eat (or at least what doesn't sound terrible to me, because for awhile, nothing sounded good).

I knit on Christmas socks and my Tecumseh sweater, and I wore a cozy Christmas gift sweater and felted slippers.

On Christmas Eve, I felt a bit better after more rest. We stayed in, and then ventured out for a Christmas Eve service at church. I'm still in the phases of I-feel-bloated-in-everything-I'm-wearing, but not big enough to look overtly pregnant, but I wore a dress with a sweater, and packed a York peppermint pattie in my purse for an emergency snack. We ate potato corn chowder prepared in the Instant Pot* for supper when we got home, and opened one gift from each other early. He opened a new Rubik's cube and I opened some non-toxic cleaning supplies that I'm thrilled about (I did have cleaning supplies on my Christmas list and I'm so excited about them)!

On Christmas morning, I ate a little cereal to make sure I had something in my stomach, and then prepared homemade gf cinnamon roll dough while Nicholas slept in a bit. Once the dough was rising for the first time, we came out to the couch and Nicholas read the Christmas story aloud. I rolled the cinnamon rolls and then let them rise for a bit longer, while we opened gifts from each other and my parents and brother. Such wonderful, generous gifts, including this jacket from my brother, handmade pillowcases for our bed from my mom, and the darling ornament below, and also treasures from Israel and squishy yarn and other things that made us feel so loved. My parents gave Nicholas a hoodie that he's barely taken off the last three days. ;)

The cinnamon rolls were largely successful, apart from being tidy. But texture and taste are most important to me, anyway! This was by far the most successful, normal-tasting gf cinnamon roll experience, and I will definitely revisit this cinnamon roll recipe, when we next want them.

And among other things, Nicholas gave me an amish tabletop swift and a ball winder, so that I can wind my yarn more efficiently! We spent the day winding yarn, watching Batman Begins (we've been on a Christopher Nolan kick, lately), and I did some sock knitting. That evening, we ate leftover soup and then headed over to our friends for decaf coffee and treats and baby snuggles. Molly and I wound yarn and the boys entertained baby Vesper, and it was such a nice evening.

Since Christmas, we've settle back into routine rather quickly. I worked several shifts close together, but physically handled them better this time, which was a relief. And New Year's Eve was mellow, with a hearty paleo* Mexican Beef for supper and episodes of The Great British Baking Show Masterclass and sipping on mojito mocktails (ginger ale, lime juice, fresh mint, some filtered water to dilute) and try as I did to make it to midnight, I fell asleep on the couch at 10:30. As my mom texted me the other day, "Growing a baby is a lot of work!" so I'm (literally) resting in that and taking naps where I can.

Other favorite Christmas season tidbits:
  • eating caprese salad like it's going out of style (just org baby tomatoes washed and quartered, chopped fresh basil, cubed fresh mozz, a drizzle of olive oil and basalmic vinegar and a few cracks of black pepper)
  • snacking on devouring homemade sourdough bread that Molly baked fresh for us that would sit well with my stomach and taste good to me (and it did, so so good!)
  • opening a Christmas card from my mom wishing the three of us a Merry Christmas and that we could all be together. I'll cherish that card
  • reading library fiction books under fuzzy blankets

It was the most mellow Christmas yet, but it felt extra sweet in the setting of anticipating next Christmas with a baby in our arms. I'm treasuring this season of expectation and quiet in the leading up to the arrival of the little brioche bun in the oven. Especially at Christmas! And now, I'm feeling extra grateful to be tolerating more foods and waking up with a bit more energy each day. I don't anticipate that there will be any shortage of curling up under quilts or knitting or being generally cozy, since that's part of my heart, regardless of the season, and that's all well-suited to resting. But, I must day, it does feel good to be open and excited with anyone who happens to read this! Even after a quiet stretch, I'm still here, excited, expectant, seeing new mercies every morning.

I'm slowly working on my annual year-in-review post, which I'll share soon, and this is the week where I spend some earnest time looking forward to the year ahead, and dreaming a bit.

*The Instant Pot has been such a useful tool during first trimester. Oftentimes the smell of preparing food would make me not want to eat dinner once it was made. But with the IP, I can add the ingredients and walk away, and when it's ready, I haven't lost a taste for the food. Plus, it's the easiest clean up ever. My brother gave it to us last Christmas and I seriously underestimated how much we would use it!