I have sat myself down to write some updates a few times, but technology has always foiled me. So many barriers between me and my one true love – writing for pleasure. (OK, I have more than one true love – making music, exercising hard, cooking, acting, but that doesn’t work as well rhetorically). The Prof has been out of town for several days, and thus I have had no uninterrupted time for a while. Nevertheless, though he’s not back yet, I am sitting down and attempting an update. Assuredly I will be interrupted a billion times and probably by the end of this, my tone will be exasperated and distracted. But done is better than perfect, at least as far as this blog is concerned, so here we go!
Christmas Eve Eve table
I love to entertain – to set a fancy table, plan an elevated menu, get out our seldom-used silver and napkin rings. This is My Jam, and my Christmas treat. I couldn’t manage it (without being bitter and overworked) on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – there are too many kids and not enough adults to do the other Holiday Cheer Creation Work that needs doing – so I did it on Christmas Eve Eve. Our menu was giant homemade meatballs and marinara on rigatoni, salad, and garlic bread, and yes the children ate it at this white table on this china while sitting on these nice chairs and the only one who spilled was me. We are working on civilizing them. (Liam tends to eat with his fingers like a caveman and then wipe them on the chair he’s sitting on, so we draped his chair in a towel. One day he’ll stop this, but in the meantime, we take precautions!)
Lucky us – my brother came to spend Christmas with our family this year. He is a biologist doing a post doc in Germany right now, and came home to my parents’ for the holiday. This is an “off” year for my side – all the married kids spent Christmas at the in-laws’ this year, leaving my parents alone – so I invited my parents to our place but they were taking a break from travel after a lot of recent trips. They sent my brother down to us, though, which was wonderful for multiple reasons not least of which being Uncle Randy was awesome at playing with the kids and their new toys. And he is another adult to enjoy my fantastic cooking (*brushes shoulder off). He came in town on Christmas Eve Eve and tucked into meatballs with the rest of us, which was great. He then went to bed at like 7pm because he was still on Germany time – ha!
On Christmas Eve, which was a Sunday, we skipped morning services as we had a full church evening coming at us. Instead we walked a couple of blocks over to a playground/dog park/coffee shop that we love, and tossed a football a bit before enjoying some lattes and a muffin.
Coffee Shop Dawg
After the playground, I squeezed in a little cooking prep before heading over for the first evening service at 2:30. This is our first Christmas Eve at our home church, since we usually travel, and we learned that they typically do a family service/kid pageant at 4, and an adult candlelight service at 7. I was backstage mom-in-charge of the Angels Stage Left for the pageant, and the two older boys were shepherds (Kneeling Shepherd and Standing Shepherd With Staff – a dangerous role to say the least and staffs had to be confiscated during practice numerous times). The older youth group children read the famous usual Bible passages, while the younger kids entered at the appropriate time in their costumes and then stood in a nice tableau/wiggled and picked at their costumes and got into trouble. It was all very wholesome and lovely, and I enjoyed getting to know the little girls in my charge.
Standing Shepherd with Staff shoots his mom a peace sign
Kneeling Shepherd being an idiot in the front right
During the break between 2:30 rehearsal and 4:00 church, various shepherds, angels, and livestock oohed and aahed at the church train platform.
One of my Angel charges and one of my Shepherd sons in a pre-show chat
These flimsy halos required a lot of shoring up, and there were feathers everywhere, but man isn’t it charming?
Joseph checks his email
Just a coupla sheep
Backstage whisper giggles
Blowing out the faux candle was a fun activity that kept them busy for a while, as they waited for their entrance.
I specifically requested that I not be in charge of my own children, but somehow a Shepherd snuck his way back into the Angel’s backstage wings (ha! pun)
Once my angels made their entrance, I was free to sneak out to the congregation and watch – I got this pic during showtime. They did great. A little wiggly, but great.
After the pageant was done, we took some pictures, helped pack up the costumes and props for next year, and then headed home where I heated up the turkey tetrazzini I’d pre-made for their dinner. I left them all munching and headed back in for 6:15 call time for our 7:00 service – the choir had a major role in this one, so I couldn’t skip it. We sang lots of carols, and Silent Night by candlelight is a lot more effective and lovely when it’s actually dark outside, so I didn’t mind going to 6 hours of church on Christmas Eve. Although when I got home to do the usual Christmas Eve things at 8:30 or so, I was pretty wiped.
Nevertheless. We wrote letters, we set out cookies and carrots, we sprinkled reindeer food, and we snuggled the Littles in their beds before playing Santa’s Helper. My brother was around to help too, so it didn’t take long, and then we all went to bed ourselves, ready for an early morning.
Liam is no-nonsense
Jack’s gonna Jack.
Craig managed to do a really decent job of scrawling his name to Santa. That’ll do, at age 3.
Santa food, in pinterest-worthy presentation
Sprinkling reindoor food on our postage stamp “lawn.” Frankly, its just One More Thing that I would love to not bother with, but they always get baggies of cheerios and glitter from school, so we do it.
From inside the warm house Virgil be like – “why, fools?”
Twas the Night Before Christmas and All Through the House, Shirtless Boys Stick Their Hands Down Their Pants
Bear, hanging on by a thread.
Not my best effort this year but it was a long day.
No hearth, so we improvise. Also – I bought PB Kids matching stockings this year in a post-Christmas sale, and I’m v. excited!