Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Wonderful Start to the Christmas Season!

Mark me down for another great Christmas! Steven and I got to my parents' house around noon on Christmas Eve. My brother, SIL, niece, and nephew came over and we had lunch, the kids opened their presents, we talked, played games, watched tv, and of course ate a lot! The bigger our family has gotten, the louder it has gotten, but I love it! It is so different from just 5 or so years ago. 

Christmas morning, we opened our 'couple gifts', so mom and dad opened theirs from each other and Steven and I opened ours from each other. I'm most excited about the water wrap I got! I practiced it on a stuffed animal and it wraps like the Moby, so it was pretty easy to do. It will be perfect for short jaunts into the water at the beach next June! 

 Penny was large and in charge Christmas morning.

 Mom had to pause playing Santa for kitty love.

Maggie custom made Avengers peg dolls that I gave Steven for Christmas!

Because we didn't want to miss out on time with the kids (they were at their dad's Christmas day), we decided to go to Mass on Christmas morning. Do you know I've never gone to Mass on Christmas day!? We have always gone on Christmas eve. I had mixed emotions going into it. I felt like I should go Christmas day (hello!) but it is also so different from our tradition of going from last night's jammies to clean jammies on Christmas day and literally not going anywhere. So I wasn't sure what I'd think.

I walked into the church and as we sat in our pew, I looked at the baby Jesus in the manger on the altar. Throughout my prayers, I was having to conciously will myself to not cry. I was so flooded with emotions; probably all the emotions I was seeking during Advent and sort of missed out on. I was thinking about the blessing of baby Jesus to the world, and then the blessing of our baby to us. I was thinking of Mary's long trek on the back of a donkey at 9 months pregnant, and how 4 hours in the car is rough on me! I thought about the hope brought into the world with the birth of Jesus, and how our Lord humbled himself to become a helpless infant. And then of course, I went back to thinking of the sweet little helpless infant we'll bring into the world in 10 short weeks. Oh man, I was such a mess! I tried to tell Steven that I was emotional, and almost cried just saying it, so I just sat there with my thoughts for a little bit. We had arrived about 20 minutes early, and it was perfect for giving me a little time to absorb my feelings, pray, compose myself, and then join in the Christmas carols they were singing before Mass. That part was awesome, too. The sun was shining, we were singing Christmas carols, and it just felt SO Christmassy. During the consecration we sang "Oh come let us adore him; oh come let us adore Him; Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the King" and that was possibly the most emotional moment I've ever had with the Eucharist (I have some teen adoration experiences that rival it... but it certainly ranks up there!).

Probably needless to say, I walked out of church telling Steven that I would LOVE to always go to church on Christmas day. What better way to help our kids, and us!, focus on the true meaning of the day. Not to mention there was no rat race for parking, seats, etc. The church was mostly full, but nothing like Christmas eve. It also makes sense because Steven will often work Christmas eve and I don't know how late Mass will go with kids, plus his family does a Christmas eve get together which we'd like to be able to go to at some point. So I think we just added a new Cash family tradition!

After Mass, we went home and my brother and sister in law came back over. We opened our Secret Santa presents (I had my brother; my mom had me) and proceeded to hang out, talk, and eat the rest of the day until we all headed home around 6pm. Our baby got supremely spoiled by both his/her grandparents and aunt/uncle... books and clothes and toiletries and crazy awesome thermometer and mattress cover and bumbo OH MY! Steven and I laughed as we talked about how we didn't get our own baby anything, as we figured we'd just wait til next year! Driving back home on Christmas day was a little sad, but it was also nice to have today to unpack (read: get excited all over again about) our gifts and to get settled in for a little bit of time off of work. We're going to work harder this year to celebrate Christmas in the actual Christmas season. Last year we left our lights up til 3 kings day, but this year we're going to do some other things like build our gingerbread house. Merry Christmas! 

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