Today I give thanks for...
The abundant blessings of Christmas. It has been a festive few days filled with so much goodness. I love it all: the traditions and rituals, the time with family and friends, the giving and receiving, the carols and cookies and the church service that always puts me in the best spirit. Here are just a handful of the brightest joy moments.
1. We had to wake them on Christmas morning. It wasn't easy as Christmas Eve was long and lingering in the way that all the best nights of the year ought to be. Despite the fulfilled wish lists from the night before, they had more presents to receive and were made even happier as if that were possible.
2. Christmas is for cats too. The boys loved everything, but especially the ribbons, boxes and sleds.
3. Miss Bit patiently waiting to open presents (if you can call that expression and stance patient). You should have seen her after presents when she wanted to get home before Santa.
4. Cookies for Santa. Even T. Bone helped do a little decorating again this year. Lily is my side kick in the kitchen, but it is nice when he too joins in on the fun.
5. We fancied up a half batch of gingerbread because we are working with a small interim oven. Still we ended up with dozens of Rudolphs, doves and candy canes. A few red squirrels too...don't judge. It's one of our unique traditions. I pared down the cookie list this year, but we still made about ten batches and 5 different varieties.
6. I wasn't sure Fred would be back this year. The kids are growing up, but then Lily reminded me with a twinkle in her eye that he usually arrives with St. Nick. Lo and behold she was right.
7. My Nanny tree. I love having this bright shining reminder of my mom. I managed to not feel too sorry for myself until late on Christmas night when Coach and I watched The Family Stone. I laughed and I cried and then I slept the sleep of the dead.
8. Another tradition: the annual Li Bien ornaments. My mom started buying them for Teddy and Lily when they were born, and I carry it on as I know she would want me to.
9. Christmas morning with just my four. My six really. We get coffee or cocoa with lots of whipped cream, turn up the carols and take our time opening our gifts. It doesn't have to be much. It just has to be right.
10. After opening gifts, T. Bone confessed that he couldn't think of one more thing he wants or needs for his birthday. His birthday is in a few hours. He is fortunate. He both knows and appreciates this.
11. It was a tacky Christmas Eve. The guys all got into the theme. I'm pretty sure I gave my dad the ugly sweater he's wearing. I'm pretty sure I gave it to him in the 80s.
12. The girls. Lily is actually wearing the vest my mom wore every Christmas Eve. That made me smile with my heart. I knew I saved it for good reason and although it wasn't tacky, she donned plenty of accessories to ensure she fit the theme.
13. Christmas Eve mass is not the most convenient, but it is the most beautiful. I love it more than any other and especially when Father Tim is presiding. The take away from his homily this year was stand up, make peace and give love. When he rhetorically asked the congregation if we didn't agree that the world would be a much better place if we reacted with love and hugs instead of anger, the three year old in the front pew loudly answered, NO! The whole church cut up as Father went straight to the alter and got down on his knees to pray. He's part comedian part spiritual leader and we all love him for the lightness he brings to the levity.
14. A horsey Christmas for my equine loving little lady.
15. A sporty Christmas for our resident all American. His bases were covered: baseball, football, golf and skiing.
16. This guy headed back to the North Pole with Santa on Christmas night. I was ready.
17. Ugly sweater selfwies. I regretted not buying the selfie stick for someone.
18. Tigger should have enough cat nip to last until 2016.
19. Coach made the Christmas morning cinnamon buns, and they were the best! He made the traditional Polish sausage too. I am so passing the baton on this one.
20. Christmas treats like candied cranberries and other seasonal goodies not pictured but also often consumed like Tom and Jerrys, homemade Irish cream, peppermint bark and fairy food.
21. These gingerbread cakes were not easy, but they were worth it. They tasted as good as they looked. I went to put them in the oven at midnight on Christmas Eve Eve only to realize that my muffin pan didn't fit in my new Easy Bake oven. I don't know what I was thinking to take on dessert this year. At least I didn't have to bake the panna cotta.
22. The most longed for gift of Christmas 2014, and the very last one she opened. She handled it well though and resigned herself to asking for it for her birthday if need be, but Grandma and Grandpa Wags came through. Her birthday is in August btw!
23. Cousin GiGi put together a touching video that we laughed and cried through after Christmas Eve dinner. It was such a thoughtful gift and one we all needed. Ugly sweater snark and holiday cheer aside, it's good to get a little touchy feely during the holidays.
24. Tigger is counting the days until the Epiphany. That's when the tree can come down and the bench he sits on 12 hours a day gets moved back.