First things first, I'm the realest. Wait, no - that's not what I was going to say...but bonus points if you can continue rapping that song (which I lip synced part of with a friend at an event last year, ha!) First things first - it was not as dramatic as that title implies. It certainly *could* have been a recipe for disaster:
- we closed on our house on the 5th
- we moved into the house on the 12th
- we spent a week unpacking (and trying not to lose Christmas presents in the mix)
- then we flew off to NYC for 4 days,
- coming back JUST in time to finish putting things away - aka hiding them in closets - before Christmas!
Now I am typically a very over-organized person. NOTHING gets done at the last minute for the holidays, for me - I hold to several different to do lists at all times, ticking things off as I complete them and aiming to have things done early. That simply was not possible this year, with all that was going on. So this holiday season felt a little hectic overall...but it was still wonderful!
My mom came over on the 23rd to make sugar cookies (cutouts) with me, so I would have some baked goods in the house justincase anyone dropped by (she's the best!), and then on Christmas Eve I played all day with Bug because M had to work a full day. Luckily he's been working from home ever since we went to NYC, so although he worked every day except Christmas and New Year's Day, we've at least had him in the house and not in Toronto! After Bug went to bed, we finished wrapping the rest of the presents and placed them all under the tree, excited to see her reaction when she woke up.
Bug woke up at 5am - a pattern that seems to have arisen in the last week, ouch - but we managed to coax her back to sleep by tucking her in between M and I. When she woke up at 7 she sat straight up and said, "Hi Daddy! Santa??" because we said before she went to bed that Santa would be coming while she slept. :) M popped downstairs to turn on the Christmas tree lights and the fairy lights on the banister, and he carried her down....oh my goodness, the wide eyes and the little shuffle-run to the tree with all the presents underneath...I'm not sure I've seen anything so adorable! She took it all in, pointing at things and squealing with delight - and then she saw the little red rocking chair that M had put together for her the night before, with Peter Rabbit sitting in it, and she ran to it, tossed poor Peter out, and sat right in it, swinging her tiny legs. Pure delight! We spent some time opening gifts, then when she tired of it we played and made coffee, took our showers and got ready for family time. My parents came over for our traditional waffle breakfast - thankfully bringing the waffle iron as I haven't bought a US one yet! - and we all enjoyed a lazy start with waffles, strawberries, fresh whipped cream, bacon, and gads of coffee. After we ate, it was Round 2 of presents! Bug was definitely spoiled this year :) She received so many wonderful gifts from everyone, and it's been a lot of fun watching her play with things in the last week - and dressing her in all the adorable outfits she received! We had a lovely, relaxing day with my parents - they shot off midday when Bug took her nap to take care of the animals at home, and came back for dinner. We had spiral-cut ham (courtesy of my parents as I hadn't bought one big enough!), mashed potatoes, peas, and flaky biscuits - simple but delicious!
The next two days were pretty mellow as well - me playing with Bug while M worked, we looked at some furniture and purchased a gorgeous desk for M's home office, cleaned the house for our upcoming celebration, and hit the grocery store. On Sunday we went to church where my parents play music because my dad was leading worship for that week, which was a lovely treat as I hadn't seen my parents lead worship in a number of years! My brother, niece and nephew were there as well, and Bug had a brilliant time playing in the nursery with a few other toddlers - she had a pretend tea party with 2 other little girls, so cute. We headed back to the house so I could put the lasagnes together and Bug could nap. My sister and her family arrived first, so we gave them the tour and let the kids all open their gifts - then when my brother and his family arrived all of the kids ran around and played together while dinner finished in the oven. Right as we were sitting down to eat dinner, the doorbell rang - it was my parents! They'd said a bunch of times that they wouldn't come over, that we'd have a siblings celebration because they were seeing everyone else on different days - but they had been throwing me off the trail so that I would be surprised ha! They came with a birthday cake and presents and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me - it was great! So the WHOLE family on this side was here, and we had dinner and opened more presents, ate birthday cake and this amazing lemon cheesecake my sister had made, and laughed and watched the kids run around together. It was pretty perfect, as first times entertaining in a new house go. :)
Monday was my actual birthday, and I spent it with my niece and nephew who had stayed the night with us after the family celebration. They're about to be 15 and 14 which is a total shock to me. I can remember them both being born in my first years at university! We had a blast playing Clue, being silly with Bug, and catching up on what's going on in their lives. I feel like I've missed so much because of my time abroad, and now that I'm back in the same city, this is my chance to reconnect with everyone and build up those relationships again. I loved having them both here and I think they enjoyed it too. I dropped them off with their grandfather and then my parents came around again that evening bringing dinner (SUCH a treat to not cook - and to get my mom's chili!!) and we polished off the rest of the cake. (Not so shocking, reading all of this, that I've gained 4 lbs over the 2 weeks surrounding Christmas....eek.) I have to say, I'm loving that my Mom and Dad are only 20 minutes away. I worried that we wouldn't see them very much after we moved out, but the distance is completely manageable! Bug's not a happy car passenger but even she can handle the drive - as long as we repeat The Wheels on the Bus and Row, Row, Row Your Boat the. whole. way. there. ;)
All in all, it was a truly brilliant Christmas season!! Full of family and laughter, delicious food and really thoughtful gifts (I got so many lovely things from everyone - beautiful necklaces, new books, energizing foot lotion - so needed in these last weeks of pregnancy, some great things for my new kitchen, and the coolest gift from my hubby: a TYPEWRITER!!). I couldn't have asked for a better time than the one we had, and I'm still feeling very blessed about it all.
*On a side note - our box of Christmas decorations has been FOUND! I should have known better than to assume that the one box that didn't make it into our shipment on the UK end or somehow got misplaced in the US end was the one holding ornaments, candles, and mantle decorations for Christmas. Turns out, it was one of the first boxes off the shipment but the movers had it labeled "Tools" so I stuck it in the garage for M without opening it. And he just assumed the box was rubbish to be broken down because all of the other boxes had been unpacked, so he hadn't even looked inside. Well, 3 days after Christmas, he opened it and discovered all of our Christmas stuff! I'm so relieved - Bug's first Christmas ornament was in there, and all of the ornaments my parents had given M and I the last few years - the really sentimental valued ones. So I'm happy that it isn't lost! :)
Linking up with Nicole for Treat Yo'Self Thursday