So, Christmas! My favorite holiday has come and gone and it was wonderful. Simple, happy. Filled with family, silly traditions, puzzles, wine, and even a few presents.
We woke on the 24th to the most beautiful weather we'd have all week. So of course we packed up the cars and headed back to Kingwood. The boys were sad, but the ladies (i.e., my mom and me) were adamant that Christmas is not Christmas without Christmas Eve dinner in the dining room we've had EVERY Christmas Eve dinner since 1988 or without Christmas Eve service in the same church where we've had Christmas Eve service for nearly the same amount of time.
So we wrapped up the red neck chariot rides, put on our fancy clothes, and drank wine out of cut crystal goblets instead of plastic cups for a few hours.
Our delicious Christmas Eve dinner has evolved over the years, and is eaten in a room that has changed wall paper, furniture collections, chandeliers, and candle stick holders (particularly after my mom nearly burnt down the whole room when a taper candle ran amok during a bunko Christmas party in the 1990's), but you can always count on asparagus casserole and the reading of the Christmas story from the Bible before eating.
After dinner we headed to church, where I ran into old friends and new readers, and reminisced about getting married at the altar before me, 7+ years ago (while paying careful attention to the sermon, of course).
After chatting in the church foyer as long as the men and children could handle, we changed into our Christmas pj's, piled the dogs and children back in the car, and headed back to the lake for the Christmas Eve eating of cookies and opening of presents.
We take turns opening presents. This was Claire's turn.
It appears to be Claire's turn again. Landon was generally as excited when Claire (or anyone else) was opening a gift as he was when it was his own turn.
The kids each got a photobook from me. They may cost less than $30, but they are truly my most costly and special gifts.
Claire seemed to appreciate hers.
Fun was had by all.
We finished with the presents close to 10 p.m.- the kids had a blast but were so wiped out at the end, they forgot to put out cookies and milk for Santa, or even mention Santa at all! Luckily, he found them anyway.
And then, because we are gluttons for punishment, we stayed up way too late completing a jigsaw puzzle. Mom and I tried to convince the boys to go to bed, but the lure of one more piece kept us all crowded around the card table past midnight.
Christmas morning came rather soon, but what a lovely morning it was. Happy kids, surprise stocking stuffers, and very large glasses of loose leaf tea.
There was much caring for babies and building of legos.
There were foot races, scooter races, and the zooming of tiny remote controlled cars.
There was puppy wrangling.
And a lot of laughing, eating, and playing.
Cousins came over bearing gifts, more eating and puzzling and playing was had. The temperature dropped below freezing (it snowed in Fort Worth!) and we headed back to the more insulated walls of the Kingwood house. My mom and I went to see Les Miserables, sharing popcorn slathered in butter as she prefers. JP and I went out on a date, sharing margaritas as I prefer. We drove home today, spent a whirlwind 4 hours unpacking, finding homes for new treasures, and putting away all the Christmas decorations. Our house looks like our house again, and JP and I are cudddled up on the couch watching Season 1 of Downton Abbey on our new wi-fi enabled blu-ray player like the modern couple we're supposed to be (until tonight we'd never "streamed" anything; never used Netflix; never owned a blu-ray player; and never seen Downton Abbey.) It is exactly like 50% of the books I read and I can answer every single one of JP's questions regarding the English aristocracy. I believe he is now marginally more impressed by my reading material. I'm taking off work until Wednesday and little has felt more indulgent in the past week than pressing "next episode" when the last one ended at 11 p.m. on a Thursday night.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and may 2013 be merry and bright for us all.