Apologies in advance for a super long post, but I've not done much posting during the holidays and want to make sure and document it all.
This Christmas season has definitely been a magical one. I feel like I blinked and it was over and now here we are getting ready to start what will hopefully be another blessed year in just a week. Much like everyone else, the holiday season had us hopping from one party and event to another, which is part of the reason it goes so quickly, the business. I’m not really one who likes to be busy and have tons of commitments on our calendar.
We spent the weekend right after Thanksgiving with some very dear friends in the mountains of North Carolina, but before we headed out of town, I got our Christmas tree put up and decorated. I literally count down the days until I can put my tree up as soon as Halloween is over. I love Thanksgiving, so I don’t want to rush it by getting things all Christmas-y before it’s passed, but you better believe that as soon as we finished that turkey, I was hauling the tree up from the basement. I feel like that was just last weekend, but I‘ll be spending this weekend taking it back down.
Once we got home from NC, it was on to some Christmas festivities, including Juston’s work party and his family party down in Harlan. While Caroline has gotten markedly better when it comes to riding in the car, she was not happy about the ride to Harlan at all. Constant whining and crying. I think it’s her K9 teeth working their way through; she’s just having a tough time with them. I feel like she has been teething non-stop since age six months.
On the way home from that trip, we stopped in Lexington to meet my parents who had my sister’s kids at the Southern Lights. Definitely a fun tradition that we have done for the last few years, but we’ve never waited until so close to Christmas to go and it was a nightmare just getting to the entrance. We traveled about ½ mile in just over an hour to get in. I will absolutely be going earlier next year. Since the lights don’t open until it gets dark and we waited so long in traffic, it was dangerously close to Caroline’s bedtime by the time we even got into the Horse Park. She didn’t really seem all that interested in the lights, but once we got out of the car and she was able to get down and explore the petting zoo (cringe), gift shop, reindeer tent and some other cool things, she woke right up. We wrapped that evening up around 9:30 and still had an hour’s drive home. It made for a long day in the car, but I was glad we stopped in the end. Memories made.
Next came Christmas cookies for Santa at Mamaw and Papa’s house with the cousins. I love that Caroline and my sister’s kids are so close. I hope they’ll always be more like siblings than cousins. They had a great time getting messy and throwing flour, but again, another activity that she’ll probably enjoy more next year. She pressed a couple of cookie cutters in the dough and that was that.
She was a big help in my bread baking. She loved stirring with her 'patla'.
On Christmas Eve, we were back at my parent’s house to open our traditional matching Christmas pajamas. I don’t really remember when this tradition started, but I know that as long as I can remember, my sister and I were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and it was always pajamas. I was probably twelve years old before I figured out that it was always going to be pajamas. Not to swift on the uptake I guess haha. Juston and I took Caroline back home to do her bedtime routine and I headed back down to my parents to pick them up for our Christmas Eve service at church which starts at 11. It didn't used to seem so late!
On Christmas morning, we opened presents at Mamaw and Papa’s with my sister and her kids, had a wonderful Christmas breakfast that mom makes every year, and then headed back home to open our presents for Caroline and see what Santa brought her. She was relatively well behaved this year, so Santa brought her some goodies. We started last year with the plan to give Caroline three gifts to represent the gifts the Wise Men brought baby Jesus. It keeps us in check too from over-spending on a bunch of things she won’t have much interest in anyway. Her favorite was a puppy dog sleeping bag. I never would have thought she’d have been so enamored with it but it was hands down her favorite of the day. I make Christmas dinner for everyone at our house so I was a busy bee cooking and baking the afternoon away before everyone came out to our house to wrap up the day of celebration. I kept my menu simple and it was probably my favorite yet. I did a fresh cut fruit tray, roasted red pepper dip and mixed nuts for snacking until everything else was ready. I did the sides; mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni and Juston deep fried the turkey. And then there was my Caramel Layer Cake from Southern Living…I’m pretty sure I ate like half of it in the last two days. Not sorry. I regret nothing.
She has been loving this toothbrush! Carries it everywhere and never stops gnawing on it. It must feel good on those sore gums.
Overall, while presents under the tree are an amazing blessing to have, it’s the family stuff that makes Christmas for me. It’s easy to get lost in the ‘busy’ of Christmas, but the fact that we were able to spend so much time with the family over the Holiday and enjoy every bit of it is what I am most appreciative for above everything else. God has blessed my family immensely and my heart is so full J Hope y’all had a magical Christmas with the people you love most. I'll leave you with a little Flashback Friday, Christmas Caroline style...
Lord, I sure do miss that chub and love this baby! What a difference a year makes.