My trouble with Christmas is that every event is worth writing about. The Nutcracker, the birthdays, the two school Christmas programs, the shopping, the meals, the food, more food, Christmas Eve service at church: I've wanted to write pages and pages about them all. But when I sit down to write, I'm either missing out on a moment, or I'm missing out on sleep, and neither one is worth sacrificing.
So I try to capture as many real and mental photos as I can so that I'll remember this moment, and that moment, and all these other moments. I'll never remember them all--my memory isn't that good--but to my future self who will look back on this post (when I'm doing the photo albums) to see what happened in December 2010, I say this: it was busy. It was very busy. But somehow you didn't fall apart. You loved it. The baking. The events. The girls. The late nights.
It wasn't relaxing, but it was joyful.
It wasn't always peaceful, but it was almost always purposeful.
It wasn't perfect, but I'll remember it as perfect.
And, so, in a ridiculously long post, I give you the Twelve Days of my Christmas.
♪ Twelve family members gathering...
...for our annual Family Christmas Shopping Day (also referred to as FamChrShoDa). This year, we didn't really do much shopping and instead just did the Spaghetti Factory and the Oregon Zoo Lights (it's amazing how they put Christmas lights on the animals...*ha*). We missed having my two younger siblings along, but the little cousins had quite a lot of fun anyway. And they were so well behaved at the restaurant. There was some serious Peace on Earth in that corner of the restaurant.
♪ Eleven o'clock snoozing...
...thanks to Christmas break and a hubby whose body clock wakes him up around the same time the oldest two girls wake up. Oh, such sweet sleep. Addie and I snuggle in bed, and she'll sleep as long as I sleep. I love sleeping in late with a baby beside me. It feels like such a gift.
♪ Ten days straight of events...
...made us feel a little crazy at times, but it was worth it. The church events, the school events, the birthday parties, and The Nutcrackerkept us on our toes, but it was fun. I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons why I enjoyed this holiday season more than I have past holiday seasons is because of the meds I take to keep me sane. I'm okay with that.
♪ Nine cousins smiling...
...for the Nativity photo. I'm still giddy about how that turned out. And if you'd like a little behind-the-scenes peek at that crazy photoshoot, here's a video I put together (courtesy of my dad's video footage). Bonus: all the kids singing "Away in the Manger" despite my ridiculous micromanaging in the background.
♪ Eight hours time difference to Glasgow, Scotland...
...but thanks to the magic of Skype, we got to visit with my sister during our Christmas dinner.
Oh, how I wish she was here to go shopping with me and help me plan parties and make food and wrap presents! But I'm happy that she's following her dream, and thanks to her landlady, Andrea didn't have to spend Christmas alone. Love you, Sis. Meow.
♪ 7 dozen cookies...
...to make for all the many events that required cookies. I made chocolate mint cookies, sugar cookies, lemon rosemary shortbread, and something else I'm forgetting. And Jason made gingerbread cookies. We got our cookie on, that's for sure.
I do not like my sugar cookie recipe, so I will have to keep trying out other ones.
I did however find a fantabulous recipe for chocolate mint cookies from Cooks Illustrated. They were delish, and my always present kitchen helper thought they were super fun to make (though she didn't eat them because she doesn't care for cookies unless they're marshmallows in the shape of cookies).
♪ Six Nutcracker performances...
...if you include the two dress rehearsals. And since those rehearsals were 3 hours long (on a school night!), then I count them. Sydney has been wanting to be in The Nutcracker for the past couple of years, so I finally found her a ballet school that puts on a production. I had been hoping the rehearsals would be integrated into the regular ballet classes, but no. The rehearsals were every Saturday afternoon. For 10 weeks. Whew.
Fortunately, Sydney loved every minute of it.
She was a Bon Bon (a role not usually seen in the European versions of The Nutcracker), and a mouse (hence the mouse on her shoulder...a gift on the last night of the production). She did fabulously and wished she could perform every night.
Here she is with the Mouse Queen.
And here she is with Clara.
It will be nice to just have regular ballet classes and have our Saturdays back.
♪ Fiiiiiiiiive Golden Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiings...er...Rinks!
We took Sydney ice skating for the very first time.
Girlfriend LOVED it. Wants to go skating every. single. week. "Just like ballet! Please please please, Mom?" Uh, no. I couldn't believe how brave she was, wanting to go faster and faster. She's such an adrenaline junkie. She got soaked from falling down (only a few times), but we still had to drag her off the ice. At which point she hopped into a hurricane simulator next to the rink. The "winds" got up to 80 mph, and Sydney was smiling and laughing the whole time.
♪ Four years old...
...is our sweet Julianne. I do have to get a proper post up about this, but for now, just pictures.
She wanted a rainbow reindeer unicorn cake. And this is what I came up with. I actually had created different antlers using big pretzel sticks, but Jules vetoed that idea. She wanted the antlers on a frosted sugar cone. She was happy with it, and so was I. Hooray for another horse birthday cake.
♪ Three French Hens
Jason's mom turned 60 earlier this month, and her best friends threw a lovely party for her. I think as the only local daughter-in-law, it might have been my obligation to organize the event, but fortunately Sharon's best friend stepped in and did the whole thing. I did do the invites, sang a birthday song, and made sure the girls were there, but that was all easy stuff.
♪ Two turtle doves
Despite our wickedly busy schedules, Jason and I managed to have a day and night out on our own. Well, Addie was along too, but she's such an easy baby. The girls stayed the night with Grandpa Chuck and Grandma Sharon, and Jason and I shopped, went out to dinner, and even saw a movie (The Tourist--a fun film with beautiful people). It was wonderful.
♪ And a partridge...er...baby at her first Christmas!
She loved it.
It was a wonderful Christmas, and other than my sister being gone, it was just perfect.
Hope your day was sweet and filled with wonderful memories.
PS: Addie's "O" photo won't be posted until Monday because we have another family Christmas party tomorrow. Let the good times keep on coming!