Christmas arrived so quickly this year! I guess it always does, but with a new baby in the house, I felt like it was here before I was ready. Even so, we pulled it off, and it was a lovely holiday. I've always loved Christmas and all the traditions that go with it. The shopping, the cookie-baking, the decorating, the music, the family time, and the general chaos. Even if I did do most of my shopping online this year, since Ian was so small, and even if we did have to save some of the cookie-baking for the days after Christmas, because we ran out of time, it still ended up feeling just like Christmas - a little bit magical and a reminder of all our blessings. Kevin and I are so lucky to have each other, the girls, and now our new baby boy and to be able to share little pieces of our childhoods with our own children.
My mom had to leave on the 16th, and I missed her before her plane even took off. Kevin and the girls finished school on the 18th, and we left for a quick mountain getaway on the 19th. The plan was to get away for some fun in the snow before Christmas, but it turned out that there wasn't any snow this year. It was still a fun trip, and we got home late on the 23rd. We had lots to do on the 24th, and we actually got most of it done! Ian was very helpful - he had a pretty good night's sleep the night of the 23rd, so I felt more rested than usual on Christmas eve and was able to rush around with last minute details. We had a very mellow Christmas day. We didn't travel back to the States this year because Ian is so small; it's always hard to be so far from family, but we had a quiet, sweet, holiday as a family of five (or eight, if you count the pets, as Serena insists that we do). There are some pics from our mini-Christmas with Mom, our Christmas eve, and Christmas morning, below.
Christmas morning in our new pajamas!
^^We had a mini-Christmas before Mom left...it included hummus with veggies and chips, cheesy-potato perogies, parmesan-green onion pinwheels, and asian chicken skewers. Then we exchanged gifts and watched Elf. We really wanted to keep mom here for the real Christmas, but she had to get back to the rest of the family.
On Christmas Eve, we had lots of wrapping to do and we also had big plans for in the kitchen. Kevin went to the store in the morning to pick up some of the ingredients for our Christmas breakfast, while I got the sugar cookies in the oven (luckily, I had mixed up the dough before our trip, so it was ready and waiting in the fridge). Later, Kev and I wrapped presents while the girls made a gingerbread house. It didn't go quite as they'd planned, but they're adaptable, and they turned it into the Weasley's crazy house from Harry Potter! In the evening, we watched Miracle on Thirty-fourth Street (the original), and then Kevin found a bag of presents from Santa out in front of the house. We opened those and the gifts from Kevin's parents before heading off to bed.
Santa brought us all Christmas pajamas! Bea changed into hers right away.
^^Dahlia was worn out after playing with all the ribbon!
On Christmas morning there were presents under the tree (even a few more from Santa!), and the stockings were filled. There was even a stocking full of treats for Mia, Gemma and Dahlia. We had our traditional Christmas breakfast of coffee cake (I've been making it for Christmas morning since I was twelve!), and we got down to business.
^^Ian didn't quite get what was going on, but he was a good sport!
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!
Moving from America to France with two preteen girls, two dogs and a cat was an incredible adventure. After four years living just outside of Paris, the Family McLean headed back to the U.S. (minus the cat, but with a new baby boy). Four years later, we're leaving Raleigh, NC, and heading to Egypt (with another little boy in tow...)