Christmas Eve was spent largely preparing for the following day, and our trip to Cleveland to come on the 26th. We really kicked off our festivities that evening, however, with a 5:00 church service at a nearby Baptist church. The service was great, with lots of carols and of course, candlelight. Ellie was as good as gold during the service, and particularly enjoyed the candles, which, thanks to recent birthday celebrations for Eric and cousin Zazi, she now associates with cake. When the congregation extinguished their candles after singing "Silent Night," Ellie responded with an, "all done, cake!" Ha.
In our Christmas finery
Ellie and Eric at church
After church we returned home and just spent some time admiring the Christmas tree. We also continued our tradition of exchanging Christmas ornaments. This year I bought Eric a Santa Claus teacher ornament, and we bought Ellie a Cozy Coupe ornament to commemorate what was probably her most favorite toy this year. As for me, Eric outdid himself: he bought me a sweet little vintage tea cup and saucer ornament, which he filled with flowers, reminiscent of the centerpieces I made for Ellie's Alice in Wonderland birthday party. And, as if that weren't enough, that was my "decoy" ornament to throw me off the scent of another one I had coming the following day: the Peabody Duck ornament we saw during our stay in Memphis this year, but ultimately decided not to get because of the price (despite how much I liked it). That Eric - he's too much!
Happy Christmas Ellie
Hugs for the Christmas tree
Ellie opening her ornament
Excited about her little Cozy Coupe!
Opening my teacup ornament
On the right, my teacup ornament from Eric, and his inspiration for it (from Ellie's party) on the left! Didn't he do a fabulous job?
Then we got our child nestled all snug in her bed and spent some time relaxing. And, of course, Santa came to visit!
Santa outdid himself this year!
On Christmas morning, we woke up and went right out to the living room to check out the tree.
Scoping out the goods
Achilles is also eyeing the tree
Of course, we have a toddler whose schedule is pretty predictable, so before we could dig in to the pile o' presents, we had to have breakfast (I realize this will not always be the case). We lit up our Advent wreath and dined on monkey bread and other delicious breakfast foods.
Then, at long last, it was time for gifts. Ellie was really into it, and enjoyed both pulling everything out of her stocking and unwrapping the big gifts. We all received some very nice gifts! Most notable for me (besides the aforementioned Peabody ornament) was a new purse stocked with cash and gift cards to replace my old (too wintery) maternity wardrobe. Eric especially liked his bald eagle golf club head cover from Santa, and his Cookie Monster pajama pants from Ellie. Ellie's big gifts were a doll accessory set (crib, high chair, car seat, etc.) and a set of plastic golf clubs, both of which she loved. It was a great Christmas indeed!
With my kids on Christmas morning
My sweet little Santa girl
Looking for treasure in her stocking
Achilles finding some goodies in his stocking
Ellie checking out my Peabody ornament
Achilles testing out his gift from Santa: a new bed to keep on the porch so he can relax in the sun in comfort
Ellie opening her golf clubs
Impromptu golf lesson!
Eric opening his head cover
Ellie putting her baby to bed in her new doll crib
We spent the rest of the day just hanging around the house, mostly. Eric made us a delicious dinner of ravioli with homemade sauce and meatballs, and after dinner we took Ellie's baby doll for a walk in the stroller to the playground for a bit.
Chef Eric slaving over a hot stove
Meanwhile, Achilles and I held down the fort on the couch
Ellie taking her baby for a walk
Playing at the playground
She is already so much cooler than I ever was.
And that was our Christmas! We got Ellie to bed as usual and then Eric and I spent the rest of the evening running around, finishing up all our packing and car-loading in preparation for our departure to Cleveland the next morning. We finally collapsed into bed at midnight, only to be kept awake most of the night by the dog's abnormally loud snoring. That's the way it goes before embarking on 14-hour road trip, eh?
We had such a nice Christmas at home as a family, and I couldn't help but think how different next year will be, with a new little one added to the mix. I can't wait!