Christmas 2016 was a lovely one. Ava – at 14 months old – was old enough to realize that something special was going on, but too young to understand what exactly that special something was. She basically ignored the tree and we didn’t put the presents under it until Christmas Eve, so she couldn’t get into too much trouble with bags and boxes and tissue paper.
My mom and sister came to town on Christmas Eve and Craig and Sue and my great aunt and great uncle and a family friend came over for dinner. We served up tamales and posole which Kevin had ordered from our traditional spot. This is the fourth consecutive year we have done this with basically this same group of people and we love the tradition.
Earlier that afternoon Kevin, Craig, my mom, and my sister had set up the luminarias around our house. They were especially beautiful this year and a lot of our neighbors set them up as well so the neighborhood looked lovely. After dinner my mom, Kevin, and I walked a few streets in the neighborhood, admiring the lights and chatting with a few neighbors we saw out.
When we got home from our walk, Elf #1 (Lisa) was hard at work, setting up the little play kitchen we’d bought Ava for Christmas. Mom, Kevin, and I dove in to help and it was quite an undertaking! I think it took us about 3.5 hours to get that kitchen operational.
We are so grateful that Lisa and Mom were there to help. Otherwise Santa and Mrs. Claus probably would have moved the million parts into the garage and sent Rudolph to deliver it in the spring.
The next morning Ava woke up at her regular 6:30 and Kevin brought her into our room. While she nursed he brought our gifts to each other and her up into our room and turned on the fireplace. It was so cozy! We started to open gifts near the fire but Ava was a girl on the go and promptly crawled into the bathroom area. So we opened a few presents in there. :) Marginally less cozy, but she was content dropping things in the tub, so everyone wins really.
We moved downstairs and my mom and Lisa had woken up. Nibbled on a bit of food for breakfast and then moved to the gift area. Ava loved her play kitchen and it made our trials the night before seem worthy. Her current favorite activity is to open the cabinet doors and shut the cabinet doors and put things in the cabinets and take things out of the cabinets. She discovered the phone that came with the kitchen and really enjoys holding it up to us and grunting an urgent grunt to let us know there’s a call. We take the phone, hold it up to our ear, and have a pretend conversation. She gets a real kick out of it and let me tell you, that phone has been ringing off the hook since Christmas.
Kevin went to his parents’ house to start the prime rib and when he got back home Craig and Sue came over and we began opening gifts. Then Dale (my stepdad) arrived and the gang was all there. It was a lovely, joyful time and while I know it’s not at all about the gifts, I’m always humbled by the generousity and thoughtful love and care that goes into the selection and exchanging of gifts.
Kiki laid low all day, but Rue hung out with us. The cats got a few new toys and a bag of treats, but Rue was most interested in the boxes.
Craig and Sue left to tend the prime rib and the rest of us finished getting ready and napped (Ava) and watched John Wayne on AMC and started preparing some of the side dishes. We went to Craig and Sue’s and met up with the other lunch guests. The food was all so delicious – prime rib, green chile mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and kale, two types of bread (including my favorite rolls that my mom makes), green beans… Such a hearty meal! We had frozen cherry pie and Craig’s sugar cookies for dessert. No one left hungry!
Mom, Dale, and Lisa hit the road and Kevin, Ava, and I headed home ourselves. Ava was too wired to take a second nap so we basically just hung out and played and fielded the phone calls coming into her play kitchen. :) She was a busy little bear.
It was a lovely holiday and I am so grateful for Jesus and that God blessed me with this family.
How was your holiday?