Christmas 2016

I'm not entirely sure how much sense it will make if anyone is trying to read these posts in order...I'm trying to get caught up and it's either this or just not acknowledge that anything happened during the missing gaps.

Christmas is always a little more special/fun/animated/memorable when it is baby's 1st or even 2nd or 3rd.  This season was no exception, however time seems to be going so fast that we can't execute the ideas that are in our heads very efficiently.  For instance, the angel never made it to the top of the tree this year.  I think we couldn't locate her when we were decorating and then she only made it to the top of the buffet...partly because we didn't get around to cutting the top of the tree off enough for her to fit anyway.

We have developed many traditions over the years.  How we decorate:  each of the kids gets a new ornament to hang on the tree.  Each child has their own "line" or style or brand of ornament.  We added stained glass this year for Esther.  Each of the kids has their own box with all of their ornaments and after they get their new one for the year, Tim hands them each an "old" one in turn to hang on the tree until the tree is full enough that no more can be hung.  Then in order of age, each year the kids take their turn placing the angel on the top.  I didn't get a single picture of new ornaments, the tree itself nor the angel being placed.  *SIGH*

Another one of our traditions is to go to a local tree farm to pick our tree.  This is our 12th year at the same farm and when I suggested that maybe we could find a tree in a different fashion this year--and I sweetened the deal with the idea of going to get gelato or coffee or even a meal after and creating a new tradition, I was met with an absolute and immediate "NO" from everyone!  Everyone promptly finds the tree of their choice, we snap a photo and then vote and take home the winning tree.  This year, everyone decided on one that was already cut.  A beauty if I say so myself...perfect in size and shape and species.  I quietly claimed a victory because this year rather than making a choice, I decided to just cast my vote and some of the kids chose what they probably considered a "mom-approved" tree and everyone followed suit--except Tim.  He had his eye on one that has been on the farm since the beginning I think.  It wasn't a reasonable choice due to the size of it.  We weren't equipped to take such a monster of a tree home, nor were were going to be capable of getting it into our home.  I was practicing patience and endulging my husbands quirky idea when another patron came in and quickly scooped up our beloved perfection of a tree and drove off with it.  

 This is what we do...and sometimes it is funny just the lengths we will go to keep it a tradition.  This year we had to plan around basketball and college schedules and Tim's work/travel schedule to ensure that we would all be able to go together.  It was freezing and despite how it looks in the pictures (the shirtsleeves and open jackets and no hats), our picture taking was short and sweet, but we didn't leave without the necessary pictures.
 We took home a lovely tree that seemed a consolation to me but I bit my lip and my tongue and pretended to be satisfied.  I guess I am petty that way.  It didn't make our trip less enjoyable as we still bought our jar of jelly and salsa and browsed all the locally crafted wares for sale, drank our hot cocoa and pocketed too many complimentary candy canes.
I guess our traditions are sweet and I'm glad the kids think so's how we make memories.  I am a little worried that Tim is going to be more prepared to bring home that gigantic 30 ft tree next year!
 The big kids and I went out for dinner together to celebrate Christmas break beginning...
 ...and the next morning spent the day reveling in the fact that there was nothing going on and my whole family was under one roof again.   These are the kind of fantasies that play out rather nicely.

I always have all of these fantasies about making all kinds of really fabulous memories, and while they never quite look like they do in my head, I guess they're pretty reasonable.  We're not in the right place to indulge in things like ice skating and going places and doing adventurous things because let's face it, I'm not sure I could handle it.  Our phases of being more capable of doing those things come and go.  We managed gingerbread houses and making sugar cookies and greble and going to a movie on Christmas Eve which is a tradition that we started before kids but haven't done for several years.

The greble looked great but I think the over eager helpers worked the dough a little much and we had sugar dipped rubber toys.  My grandma and grandpa have given us butterballs and noodles most years, but this year we didn't have any so we had to make our own.  I've helped my Grandma before but never made them myself.  Success!  
It excites me to be able to pass things down to my kids.  I want them to remember things beyond our immediate family.  Chicken noodle soup and butterballs at Christmas is certainly one of those things.  

 Mathilda set a beautiful table and folded napkins into Christmas trees, and we hosted Tims parents and our parish assistant priest for dinner.

 Midnight Mass followed by opening a few gifts at home on Christmas morning, but in the wee hours before everyone went to bed.  We celebrated Christmas day with Tim's family...another photo mishap...

 ...and to wrap up the weekend that began our Christmas celebration we went out for breakfast after Mass on Sunday.  Even though Jakob isn't far away and we see him periodically, it felt so much more complete for us to spend the beginning of this beautiful holiday completely together.  I love Christmas, and the tradition around how we celebrate the birth of our Savior.  All of these little things that don't mean anything in the way of what we are truly celebrating but have a way of making the reason for the season even a bigger center focus.

Christmas Blessings!