Christmas 2016

We had a lovely Christmas, so lovely that I barely took any photos.

My cousin and her husband hosted for the first time in their new condo in Chicago. I was a little worried the kids would be crazy and that we'd all fit, but it ended up being fine.

The weather was really mild for which I was grateful. I was really hoping the roads were going to be clear. The drive up was great and most of them slept the whole way up. We were able to park just down the street.

We had lots of appetizers (and some wine) while dinner was being prepared. Hayley made lasagna, baked ziti, and a vegetarian mushroom with penne. They were all really good. Lindsay and I brought several desserts each. I made the Christmas cracker candy that everyone seems to love. They had Mario Cart set up for the kids in their spare bedroom and my aunts brought stickers and little things for them to do. It was nice to see almost all of my cousins on my mom's side, and my 93-year-old grandfather. We had our annual gift exchange, and I'm pretty sure the squatty potty got the most laughs. I ended up with a really pretty windchime that I've hung in my kitchen window.

It was also the first Christmas for us in our new house. We moved in just after the new year, so it was nice to be in our own space again for Christmas. I did a little decorating, and after discovering that our white Christmas tree was broken, mom gave me one that she no longer needed. It's just a four-foot tree, so Scott taped it to the little table so the kids or cat couldn't knock it over. For gift giving we tried as best we could to stick to "something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read." Everyone got new jammies, and each a couple of books, and one "big" toy that they wanted. We also got some fun games. I am so excited about my ceramic skillet I got from my parents. Scott brought the kids shopping for a gift for me and they picked some really sweet things. I think my favorites are the floral coffee mug and slipper socks.The kids were up early and managed to have their stockings down before I could even snap a photo. The gift opening was so fast, I only got a few blurry photos.

Our family celebrated with my parents on the 23rd, Scott's parents on Christmas Eve. We also went to Mass at 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve, there was no midnight Mass this year. The kids were a little wired after all the sweets, but we survived. I was surprised at how empty the church was. Usually, the midnight Mass is standing room only. It can be difficult to remember the reason for the season, especially with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. I can't say we had a really focused Advent, but we lit our candles for dinner almost every night and kept up our read-aloud of our Christmas Treasury book, and the kids didn't miss a day of their chocolate Advent calendars. I also watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special with Molly and Milo.

It was Mercy's first Christmas too. I can't believe she's almost nine months already! She had a pretty Hanna Andersson dress and a 'My first Christmas" sleeper to wear. But, she was just happy to be held most of the day.

Scott took his remaining vacation and personal days so he had a whole 11 days off for the holidays, and we all got used to him being home. He went back to work yesterday and we're still adjusting. I like the slowness that winter break has, and I'm trying to carry some of that through in the beginning of the new year.


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