Our tree is still in it's place, and I'll be enjoying it for a few more days. But - Christmas is clearly past. Lights are hanging off, pine needles cover the floor, and the bottom half of the tree looks like it's been redecorated by a toddler (because it has).
Toys scatter the living room, yet to find their new place. Kids sprawl on the floor, absorbed in the newness of each toy.
Oh, and daddies! Daddy is home, making breakfast each day and working on little projects each afternoon. He took the whole week off to be with us, and we are soaking it up.
Christmas has passed (and I'm ready for the tree to go, and the new toys to be organized) - but we're still enjoying the fruits of it. Here's what we're remembering.
HO HO HO.
In mid-December, He came again! Carter knew it was time and sat eagerly by the door for almost an hour before he showed up.
Carter was thrilled to be getting "santa presents".
Macy, on the other hand, was happy to watch Santa from a distance this year :) We just let her hang out where she was comfortable, and enjoy Santa in her own way.
And a family gathering isn't a family gathering without a cake from NaNa :) This one took her almost 3 hours to pipe all the frosting.
Guess how long it took us to eat it?
(Are you wondering why we have candles? Carter Law states that one cannot eat cake without candles. Candles make everything more special, don't they?!)
Thanks, Santa, for helping to fill our kids with wonder and excitement. See you next year!
THREE MORE CELEBRATIONS.
Yes, I said three. At least this year they were spread out over three days, which makes it a lot easier on the kiddos. I'll spare you the details of each celebration. All you really need to know is that our kids are loved a whole lot, by a whole lot of people.
Macy enjoyed her role as Official Gift Hander-Outer at GG & Grampies house. She had us in stitches - certain that SHE knew who the gift should go to better than the rest of us.
Little helper girl, just too sweet for words.
"Panthee dweth" :)
Carter enjoyed ripping open his gifts, and showing genuine excitement at the contents of each package. Carter's theme this year was garbage trucks, garbage cans, and 'trucks and boats' (and basically anything else with wheels). Our family understands the things that make this boy tick, and they did not disappoint with their gift giving.
If anyone needs mini garbage cans, we've got about 17 to spare.
As therapy ended in the fall, we realized that most of Carter's toys had a negative emotion tied to them (since his own toys were used for therapy purposes). I removed many of his toys throughout the fall, so Christmas was a great time for us to update his toy selection and get some new, exciting things in the house!
We also looked for toys that both kids could play with, together or individually. This little Melissa & Doug Magnetic Puzzle Book has been a hit, along with the Melissa & Doug Doorbell House (complete with keys to unlock each door!).
Also, as I was wrapping gifts up, I had the brilliant idea to remove the packaging from all battery operated gifts, and place batteries in them! I'm glad I did - each toy could be played with right away which eliminated tons of frustration and chaos.
Possibly my favorite moment of the whole Christmas Season - the candlelight Christmas Eve Service. This year was different - Jake gave a message, which left me with two kiddos. One kiddo was silly to the max, the other was having nothing to do with the snacks I packed (because...why can't we go in the nursery?!).
I spent most of the service in the nursery by myself with my two spunky kids (Thanks for filling in for a few minutes so I could hear Jake, Rach! I appreciate it!). This is just the season that we're in. I can't say that I love it, but it's where we are. I'm growing, and learning how to be quicker to respond in love for my kids - slower to respond in selfishness and pride.
We snuck back into the service just in time for Silent Night, sung by candle light. We had no candles, one kid was climbing Jake like a monkey, the other kid was wondering why we weren't blowing out the candles, and Jake and I exchanged a look that translates to "It's okay". It was a special moment, and I'm thankful for it.
One little picture of our two Christmas Eve kids. This blurry, goofy picture sums up our night.
Our Christmas was so full - full of activities, full of people, and full of love. Kids, I hope that when you look back on your childhood Christmas celebrations you remember love. The presents are fun, the 'panthee dwethes' are nice, the candle light service is special, but love is what this is really about.
I'll leave you all with this. My favorite snap of the whole Christmas Season. Two siblings, just enjoying something together. Unexpectedly, this is doll house is a favorite for both kids.
Cozying up, snuggling in, quieting down, choosing love.
This was our Christmas.
One Thing I Know For Sure: Love.