Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  We hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours.  We had a very busy Christmas Eve and a very relaxing Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve was a bit of a whirlwind.  For years we have spent Christmas Eve with our friend Jim.  Over the years we have had a variety of dinner menus and occasionally a houseful of family and friends, but Jim is our one constant.  Last year I was so worn out with our non-sleeping baby G, that I made Indonesian Beef Stew on Christmas Eve and we went out for Chinese on Christmas Day.  This year I decided that I dearly missed a good turkey dinner and was craving the turkey sandwich leftovers.  Much of my Christmas Eve was spent cooking and quickly cleaning our house.  Travis took the boys shopping for the majority of the day so I could work in peace.  We always go to Christmas Eve services at church.  When it was just the two of us we generally went to a later service, 9pm or later.  Once we had kiddos we started usually going to the 5pm or 7pm service.  This year however, Jack was singing in the 3pm service.  We had to be at church at 2:30pm.  It really cut into our preparation time, but it was great.  Jack sang with about 7 or 8 other 3 and 4 year olds in the Cherub Choir.  His best school & church buddy, Hayes, was there and they were very excited to see each other.  Their choir actually opened the service.  He did well and for the first time ever we kept both boys in the service with us.  They were great!  I volunteered for nursery duty for the 5pm service, so I was committed at the church for several hours.  In between the two services, Travis dropped me and the boys off for some last minute Christmas shopping.  Mama was dropping the ball and hadn’t gotten ANY gifts for Daddy.  I get a little bit of a pass because Travis is 1)EXTREMELY difficult to buy for and 2)his Birthday is December 21st– I get tapped out on the gift front for someone who always just goes and buys what he wants!  The boys and I did a super speedy shop through Marshall’s and actually did really well.  We booked it back to the church and Trav dropped us off so he could run home and check on the turkey.  Jim came over around 7pm while I was finishing all the food up.  We had turkey, homemade GF cornbread stuffing, homemade GF rolls, fresh cranberry relish (if you need an easy and excellent cranberry relish, let me know.  This one is great!), mashed potatoes and green beans with almonds.  I also made a sweet potato for the boys because they don’t like mashed potatoes.  Everything was delicious.  I stuff my turkey with fresh herbs, lemon & orange wedges and onion and then rub it with butter and herbs de provence.  You cook it with chicken stock and more fresh herbs in the bottom of the roaster.  It has the best flavor and stays so moist.  Apparently the drippings make the best gravy, but I’m not a gravy fan.  Our dinner was very good and the boys behaved so well.  The boys were asleep and Jim had gone home by 9:30.  Just in time for Travis and I to clean up the kitchen, turn on A Christmas Story and begin the parental marathon of wrapping and assembling presents.  I made it to bed at 2am, Travis not until 4am.  Geesh, you’d think we’d figure out a way to not stay up all night!

I was sure we’d be awoken at 5am by a very excited 3-year-old.  I was wrong.  Jack woke up about 6:30am and I think he didn’t really even realize that it was Christmas morning.  We had put cookies and milk, gluten-free of course, out for Santa but it still didn’t register for Jack.  When he woke up I told him he had to stay in his bedroom until Brother and Daddy woke up.  He didn’t understand and then finally said “wait Mom, is today the day I get to open my stockin’?”  Once he understood, he was excited but did a great job staying out of the living room.  He helped me make sticky buns and by the time we put them in the oven G was up.  Garrett is NOT a morning person.  He was especially grumpy for Christmas morning.  I think we were out of our normal routine and he pretty much does not perk up until he gets his “eggys” in the morning.  He was scared to death of his stocking because it has Santa on it.  He wanted nothing to do with his new kitchen, his big Santa gift and he basically just nursed through the first 30 minutes of present opening.  Jack was super excited for his stocking and loved his Santa gift, a Caps equipment bag filled with hockey gear, most of which is the authentic CCM Alex Ovechkin gear.  Jack really like G’s kitchen too.  We open presents for hours, not because we have that much stuff, but because our kids do not tear into gifts.  Jack loves to open a present and then figure it all out.  If it is a toy he plays with it, if it is a book then it must be read in its entirety at least once.  I end up trying to keep the whole process moving by giving a few minutes to play and then attempting to take away the gift so he’ll open a new one.  G had no interest in opening gifts.  Sometimes he would bring them to us but if you tried to help him open it he would freak out and run away.  I opened the majority of his gifts.  Towards the end Travis was trying to help him open a present for him and Jack.  It was a play airplane set (like Little People).  G saw that it was an airplane and dug in.  He finally opened a gift and then made Travis get it out immediately.  After that, he at least helped us open presents.  The boys were spoiled rotten as usual and we really enjoyed all their new gifts.

Everyone was pretty exhausted.  G took an early and long nap and Jack took a pretty good one too.  I talked to family on the phone for a while, blogged and Trav got a nap.  I took a short nap late in the afternoon and then we finally decided we should get dressed for the day around 5:30pm.  After our awesome Chinese food last year, we decided going out on Christmas Day is the best plan.  This year we had Hibachi and it was wonderful.  The boys ate so well and there were no restaurant breakdowns.  Garrett discovered soup and more importantly soup spoons.  I think I need to invest in a set of asian soup spoons so he’ll eat soup all the time! All and all it was a perfect Christmas!

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