Since we did so much over the Christmas holiday, I'm blogging about it in a few parts.
Part I is what we did first: Hunt Christmas.
It started on the Sunday before Christmas, with Grandma and Grandpa's annual Carol Sing party. There were around 24 people there, including some talented musicians to accompany our singing. There were a handful of children there, but the one I remember best is a little boy from our church named John. Well, he's not really little. He's like 9 or 10. He was very sweet and really enamored with Olivia. Every time Olivia started to fall as she practiced walking, he would try to catch her and keep her safe. I told her that it was okay if she fell, but he didn't believe me.
John and his brother Lars were shooting a nerf gun type thing and laughing as Olivia laughed when all the balls shot out. John said many entertaining things, best of which were, "Olivia is an awesome baby. Most babies don't like me, but she plays with me." And, looking at me, "Olivia looks like you," and then, turning to JB, "But she doesn't look like you." Pause. "Except for her red eyebrows." (Out of the mouth of babes--she's going to have red hair!! :) )
On Christmas Eve we were back at G&G's for dinner. I wasn't sure we were going to make it because freezing rain had been coming down all afternoon. Many many churches had canceled their evening services and the cars were covered in ice. But we made it! After dinner we hung out while we waited to go the church's midnight service. Olivia provided some entertainment:
The midnight service is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. The chapel is filled with candles and we sing all the good hymns with our awesome choir. We have a great new worship leader at Thornapple and apparently the service this year was excellent, according to Grandma and Marian. I cannot vouch for this because JB, O, and I did not go.
...please pardon me while I wipe the tears from my eyes...
JB and I had to admit to ourselves that we cannot do everything we used to do, now that Olivia is in our lives. She was not doing well by 10:15, even after I had tried to get her to go to bed until we had to leave for church. She was too riled up to sleep in a new place. On top of that I was feeling like crud (I got better!) and JB was exhausted. So we went back to the Hilton and went to bed. We were really bummed about missing the service.
But THEN, we woke up, and it was CHRISTMAS! Jesus had been born in the night and it was time to celebrate.
We celebrated with a hot fire in the woodstove, Mark's famous delicious eggnog, a cute baby in her green velour leisure suit, egg souffle, family, happy dogs, and by singing Joy to the World.
Oh, and with PRESENTS.
Here is the tree. It looked larger when it didn't have presents under it. Then it got dwarfed as we started putting boxes under it.
I love giving presents more than getting. I love taking several months to think of the perfect gift for someone and then making it happen, which often involves me making it. I did a lot of making this Christmas but foolishly forgot to photograph my creations.
I made Austin some recipe cards. For Grandma's birthday earlier this year I had self-matted (double mat with two openings--hard!) a fringed gentian photo of mine and included a gentian poem that someone had written out for Grandma. For Christmas we got it framed and it turned out beautifully. Then JB and I put our creative heads together and made a Spring felt table runner for Marian. It has flowers on it with bunnies jumping over the flowers. And it has a sun. And the flowers have roots and bulbs. Lots of sewing. It's folk-art-looking. JB created the pattern, and then I sewed it. It took 2 months from start to finish. Eee! But it was fun. Maybe one day I'll remember to take a picture of it.
Olivia, JB, and I were blessed with many wonderful gifts. Here is Olivia on her Rody horse from Austin and Lauren, wearing the hat that Grandma Hunt knit for her. I got a matching hat. We're totally stylin'.
Okay, so I'll name some of my presents. MSU hooded sweatshirt (I've never had a nice one!). Custom shades for our front living room windows. Friendly Village pattern tea set. Turquoise earrings. Folksy vase from Colonial Williamsburg. iTunes. L.L. Bean cardigan. Lotto tickets (not winners, but I had fun scratching them!)
JB, O, and I enjoyed ourselves. We went home and packed our bags for rounds 2 and 3 of Christmas, which I'll publish later... :)
(The driveway on Christmas morning:
We were very concerned about Grandma and Grandpa making it into the house safely, so Austin went out to assist. Our elders made it in just fine, but Austin's feet slipped out from under him and he bit it hard. But he's okay.)