This Christmas Eve was perfect! Nearly...
My day started with my sister ringing the doorbell. I told her I would meet her at the YMCA for a workout but she came by "just to make sure" I was getting up and around. True to my word, I was already in sweat pants and sports bra when she showed up. It's always more fun to sweat with a friend, and my sisters truly are my best friends.
After the workout, we stopped by her house so I could borrow my neice's karaoke machine. I'm a karaoke junky but my machine is apparently dead. However, I have 80-some CDGs that have just been waiting for attention!
When I got in, the kids were up but still in their pajamas and eating cereal. I made some toffee bars as the twins played with their Webkins. I knew that Todd would be getting home earlier than usual, so we all got around and popped "Wall-E" in the DVD player. Dad showed up about half-way through--while all of the girls (including mom) were snuggled together on the couch dozing and Andy played on the computer.
With the movie over and naps taken, it was time to make sure that the karaoke machine really worked! Although I hogged it for several songs, the kids soon took over. I went upstairs and helped Todd make the menu that was requested by our children, Chicken Fried Steak. In reality, I just heated up the corn and mashed the potatoes. Todd loves to cook (and is very good at it) so I usually try to stay out of his way. Dinner was absolutely delicious!
After cleaning up the dinner mess, we loaded up the kids and went on a Christmas Light tour. Several neighborhoods have beautiful displays and we always like to take the time to look. Then we got called home for our next activity...
When we pulled in the drive, my sister's family was bundled up in their vehicle with sheets of words to Christmas songs. Yes, we went caroling! We actually went to our friends' doors and sang to them! All of us! Of course, we made the obligatory stop for hot chocolate. Andy, however, chose a blue slush. As he shivered later in the evening, he commented, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." My kids will always remember this special evening with their aunts, uncle, and cousins. Our friends are probably still laughing.
After making our last stop, our oldest son and his wife called from San Diego. I said that it was nearly perfect--Heath and Stef were not able to join us for Christmas this year. Heath is in his 2nd year in the Navy and could not get away over the holidays. However, there is something to be said for the satisfaction that comes with knowing that your child is happy, content, and enjoying the company of the love of his life. It is hard to be sad knowing that they are so happy and just a phone call away. Each of us took a turn wishing them a Merry Christmas and letting them know how much they are missed.
We then came home to prepare for the candlight Christmas Eve service at our church. Our church home is beautiful on a normal day, but tonight it took our breath away. As mentioned earlier, the girls all took naps earlier in the day. Poor Andy fought exhaustion, but his lolling head finally hit the pew. After switching the kids around so that he could lean against me, he settled into a more comfortable sleep. In fact, he was so comfortable and soundly sleeping that he proceeded to "rip a good one" that vibrated our pew. The girls and I fought the giggles for quite a while! He did, however, wake up when our candles were lit and we sang Silent Night.
Upon our return home, we tucked our tired kids into bed with hugs and kisses. I retrieved some unwrapped gifts, wrapping paper, tape, and gift bags from my office then grabbed Love Actually, one of my favorite Christmas movies (about love--first love, unexpected love, love against odds, love weathering a storm, lust, moving on after losing love to death, jealous love, love of family, and love of friends). If you haven't seen this one, it's worth watching but it is NOT a family movie. Then I settled on the floor to wrap while Todd snuggled under the covers to keep me company.
Although he was soon fast asleep, I relished this quiet time to reflect on a beautiful day. I finished the wrapping at about 2:00 and finally turned off my lamp at 2:30. My day ended listening to the peaceful, deep breathing of my incredible husband and maybe even the sound of some reindeer waiting on the roof.