Well hello there! I didn’t plan on taking a break over the last few days, but it ended up being that perfect little thing that was right. What a whirlwind the past few days have been… full of new traditions, old traditions, shouts of glee, kindness for strangers, thoughtfulness, love, and so much, much more.
We are very blessed indeed.
One of our new traditions this year was to go to the 10 pm Christmas Eve mass last night after our big dinner. As I walked into the church, with the adult choir singing before mass even started, we were greeted with smiles from one of the parish priests and the joyful holiday decorations. I felt a giant exhale and knew it was the right place to be at that moment.
I feel it merits an entire post on its own, but Madeline has become fiercely religious with the start of her new school this past September. Last night, I smiled while watching her try to follow along. And smiled even bigger as she recited the Our Father. I didn’t realize she knew it, and it was just the most adorable thing ever. She caught me looking at her and gave me the biggest grin ever.
And then we had a debate about whether she could or couldn’t get Communion.
The service ended with Joy to the World, which is my all-time favorite holiday song.
Our Christmas Eve dinner? Regular readers know that we do the Feast of the Seven Fishes (for our Italian background) and thirteen desserts (as is the French tradition). A few days before our meal, I conferred with my mom. I wanted to buck tradition
a bit a lot, but only if she agreed. We have done those traditions for as long as I can remember. Well, at least since I’ve been hosting Christmas Eve. Although I love it, I didn’t want to do it if it was a tradition out of a sense of obligation. So this year, we did something different. I made two lasagnas, one more traditional and one that was seafood (recipe coming soon). So a slight nod to our former fish feast, and a huge nod to our Italian background. I made another Zucchini Pie, both because it’s delicious and easy, and because I was determined to replace the picture I originally used in this post. My sister brought an assortment of appetizers, I added garlic bread and my Mom brought dessert (a few, not 13).
And it was perfect.
Because although it’s about the food, it’s also about coming together and being in the moment.
And it so was.
Christmas Day, after the kids opened their presents, we headed to my parents’ house for Round 2. And then from there, Nick and Madeline went to their Dad’s house. Which means that they will be exhausted by the time they get home tonight, poor things.
And even though it’s been four years, I still hate that they have to do that, and we’re not all together.
A few weeks ago, after picking Madeline up from school, she hopped in the car and said, “Mom, did you know that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday?!”
Why yes, yes I did.
And so, one of our new traditions this year was a birthday cake for Jesus. She carefully helped me choose what she wanted me to make, and we scoured many stores to find just the right topping. Of course, by the time it came to have a piece, she ate it as fast as she could to scurry from the table and go play with her cousins.
But I love that she was so exuberant about this from the get-go.
One of my favorite things on Christmas Eve is when the fire truck brings Santa around with candy-filled stockings. Of course the kids know that this is Santa’s “helper,” for the real Santa is far too busy.
When we were at mass, the kids were concerned that Santa wouldn’t deliver presents if they weren’t home. As soon as we got back a little after 11 pm, Nick quickly checked Norad to find out where Santa was. Once he found out he was in Canada, they high-tailed it to bed, willing themselves to fall asleep as fast as possible.
Madeline was beyond thrilled to see the Baby Butterscotch Magical Show Pony at her grandparents’ house, which one of the things she wanted most on her list.
She is too much.