It is difficult living away from our families. But circumstances are what they are. And this is our home, even though it is not our extended family's home. But the reverse is also true... Colorado is no longer MY home, nor AB's. I look forward to visiting my family in Colorado sometime soon, but the holidays weren't it this year.
We have had a fantastic holiday so far. So the Polar Express wasn't all I built it up to be in my head, but since returning, we couldn't have asked for a happier, better Christmas.
Christmas Eve was spent with friends. They are our family here. We went to Christmas Eve service where Skadi entertained the entire congregation by giggling at the most inopportune times (or the best times). Leif enjoyed the lighting of the candles and the procession. We headed out to celebrate Jesus' birthday with the other children (and M and N) complete with bounce houses and treats. M and I decided we would haul the kids back into the congregation hopefully in time for the singing of Silent Night and lighting of the candles. We succeeded and the kids were wide eyed and quiet at the beauty. We were leaving and one of my favorite moments was when A asked Leif what day was tomorrow? Tuesday, he replied.
I really do love Christmas Eve services. Almost enough to make me want to consider going to church regularly...
After the service we all headed to our K&V's house for appetizers (including sushi), wine and the kid's gift exchange. Leif was lucky enough to find himself sandwiched between the girls for a group hug. I am sure someday he will look back fondly... though he did seem to be enjoying it at the time too. It was a lot of fun and a great Christmas eve.
Christmas morning we got up to much excitement. Rudolph had eaten the carrot we left out, only the stump remained. And Santa had enjoyed his cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and milk. (Note next time to not leave out quite so much food for Santa... his sleigh gets weighted down.)
Leif pulled everything out of his overloaded stocking and then opened his present from Santa. The one, the only and highly coveted... Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
We pried him from Buzz long enough to remind him of the other presents under the tree. It took two sittings, a long break for breakfast in between helped to rejuvenate us. Leif is still at that point where he didn't easily dive from one gift to the next. It was nice to see him stop and enjoy each gift and with all heartfelt desire, ask to open it and play with it now. We had time and nowhere to be, so we abided his request.
Skadi? Indifferent to it all.
Me? AB did extremely well with me. Extremely. There were a few surprises I wasn't expecting, like the Turkish bath sheets. Pure luxury. Then there were the ones that weren't real big surprises, but much appreciated; the Ginger bath candy (from Leif since he begs and begs to use them when he bathes... sometimes I give in), the earrings (AB always gets me earrings, these were aquamarines - Skadi's birthstone - from Sundance... woohoo!). Then there were the things I actually asked for and got! (AB doesn't like buying things I ask for... he finds them boring.) Adobe PhotoShop is my biggy... and I have had A LOT of fun playing with it today. I told AB it is better than playing Civilization (sshhh... I didn't admit to that)... so if you wonder why my blog goes on neglected after today, you know where to find me... I am doing things like this:
And well, this one didn't need editing, but I had to include it...
We had a great day playing with our gifts. AB loved his carabiner watch from Leif... maybe as much as Leif loves it.
AB smoked a good sized prime rib. I made mashed potatoes and gravy and a salad for dinner and we ate well. (CR Sandridge's Tri*umph accompanied) We topped it off with a nectarine pie I made and froze earlier this fall and Sonoran's Full Moon Kerner Ice Wine. Mmmm. (Excuse me while I go get a glass...)
Today Leif told me he is ready to go back to school tomorrow. So his lunch is packed and Skadi and I have plans to hit the after Christmas sales.
Looking ahead we have New Years Eve to be excited for. Yes... it's true... AB and NM are going out for New Years Eve! I wondered for a moment if we should decline the invitation out of politeness to the hosts since everywhere we go on New Years Eve we bring hmmm... what do we bring? Well not much good. As recanted here... I keep telling myself the hosts don't know us THAT well yet.
Though I do see where it could at least get a little weird... Their best friend is my ob/gyn. I know, I am weird. AB and I have even talked after he delivered both of our kids that we really like him and he is the type of guy (and presumably his wife too) that we would get along well with. And he even gave us his home e-mail address after the birth of both kiddos. But then I get weird... my ob/gyn!! Apparently this may come to pass and I will learn to get past the whole "he has seen me there" thing since we have become decent enough friends with his and his wife's best friends.
But back to the point... will we break the curse that is sub-par New Years celebrations? Stay tuned to fine out!