Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Eve (and Christmas Eve, Eve)

Merry Christmas Eve, Eve!

December 23 was a quiet day for the Party kids - Anna was home from Grandma and Grandpa's house, the boys were home from school, I took the day off, and we spent it lazing around in our jammies for most of the day. We lounged around, made cookies, watched Christmas movies, and had a few arts and crafts activities to keep little fingers busy.

Even Jack loved coloring his stand up Santa Claus. It's funny, his vocabulary has really grown in the past few weeks, going from a few words to more than I can count. And because of the holiday season during which he started putting things together, his favorite words are all holiday related - "no man" = snowman, "santa", "reindeer", "man" = gingerbread man...
James carefully colored in his Nutcracker - recognize this Kathy? I'm telling you - we were separated at birth...
Of course Anna loved this activity - she spent significantly more time at the table finishing up her craft, perfecting each ornament and bow on her tree.

James was quite proud of his Nutcracker...

As was Jack....

Christmas Eve was a whirlwind of activity. I'm so glad that we had the 23rd to relax and enjoy some uninterrupted quiet time - because starting on the 24th, it all changed. As soon as everyone was up and dressed, I whisked the Party kids off to Aunt Mary's house in Batesburg. We had word that Santa's elves might be up to something at our house - so it was important to keep the kids out of the house for the day.

Which ended up being loads of fun - Anna and James got to help Aunt Mary make some super yummy hazelnut cookies that I can't wait to make myself. They tasted so good (what little I could taste, that is - as my Christmas gift of the wretched cold settled in on the 23rd - making everything sound like I was underwater and everything taste bland.)

The kids did such a good job rolling the cookies in powdered sugar - I know they'll be big helpers whenever I can get around to making them. As a side note, the recipe calls for an entire container of Nutella spread along with chopped roasted hazelnuts. What can be bad about that?

Anna and James 'rested' and watched some of the ABC Family Christmas special marathon while Jack took a nap, then it was time to get dressed to make it to church by 3pm for the children's program. Both Anna and James participated - singing sweetly "Sing Hosanna, Sing Hosanna"and "Away in A Manger" - complete with hand motions that just about made me cry when they put their little heads on their hands pretending to sleep during the stanza "the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head."

Like the halos? I made all thirty of those (with help from Deonne.) It was so incredibly sweet to see the expressions and hear the remarks from the little girls who I helped "halo" before the program. The most adorable was from a little tiny girl named Mary Lee. Her big brown eyes grew huge when I pulled her halo out - and she said "oh, my, it's beautiful! Can I keep it? Can I wear it all night? Oh, thank you so much!" So precious!

After the service we headed to Deonne's brother's house where Aunt Carla prepared a yummy dinner. Burke (the eldest nephew) snapped this picture of us. Isn't this typical? Trying to get a picture of three kids the night before Christmas is just about impossible - I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did!

After enjoying the company of family, and a great dinner, we bundled up the kids (it was freeeezzzzing cold - something I welcomed greatly!) and headed for home - me with a fresh cup of hot coffee in hand (thank you Carla!) And upon arrival, the kids got to open their one gift on Christmas Eve - their traditional new Christmas jammies. (James, of course, complained that he didn't want new pajamas - he wanted a toy...) Sigh.
...and then it was time to prepare for Santa - by putting out egg nog and cookies - which was no small feat - with little Jack who was more interested in carrying around Santa's plate and eating the cookies himself... and reading the Christmas Story from the book of Luke and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas...

...then saying goodbye to Happy - see him perched in the branches of the tree? Both Anna and James ran in in to say goodbye - as Happy flies back to the North Pole with Santa on his sleigh - per the terms and conditions of the book. It was absolutely adorable to hear Anna say "thank you for all the treats Happy" in reference to the chocolates he left daily in the windows and doors of our advent house - and to hear James say "yeah, thanks Happy - hope to see you next year"...

...and then head up the stairs with one last peek before the children literally ran to their beds. Anna in James' top bunk, James in the bottom bunk (and little Jack back downstairs to the safety of his crib.)
And late in the night... Santa came!!!

And made a big mess - knocking over his egg nog, leaving cookie crumbs on the floor, and on the pages of the book he paused to read....


  1. Thank you for your work with the Christmas Eve music. It was just precious. Mary Lee actually slept in the halo!! She loved it! I could see nothing from the back of the church, so email the pics if you have any more. THEY WERE SO STINKING CUTE! Happy New Year to the Longs!

  2. That is too funny about the Nutcracker. :) Dan remarked about the Christmas card too--that was really something! Out of all the christmas cards online--we chose the same! I have to say, I liked the way you did yours better. I'll send my proof to you next year so you can edit. :)

    Seriously, it is just so unfair that you live so far away ~ oh, the fun we could have with you here!

    I hope 2011 brings many blessings to the Long family.

    Oh, and I love the family photo & your Christmas morning jammies. :) Your kids are so cute. And don't feel bad--I had to prepare my boys on Christmas Eve when they were opening their PJs "This is NOT a toy." I knew they'd be disappointed just as James was. :)