Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was busy, busy for our family this year. We spent the morning doing last-minute prep for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Olivia and McIver were supposed to sing with the choirs at church during the family service at 3pm. Since McIver has opted out of singing the last few times, I tried to get them there in plenty of time to avoid the craziness that comes with lots of children trying to get choir robes/costumes on in a confined space.

Here's Olivia in her choir robe/angel costume. (At this point, McIver was MIA - he had run off and I had no idea where he was. Apparently, it didn't matter how early we got there, he was NOT going to be singing.)

Once I found McIver and got him dressed, I was able to leave the kids in the choir room and make my way downstairs to the nave. Since it was raining, there was some confusion over where Greeters would welcome people. So, I joined the crowd in the Narthex of the church for a little while to welcome people to Palmer. At one point, it seemed like maybe there were too many of us, so I found Will and settled in for the service.

The Netherys (Shannon & Reagan were in Olivia's kindergarten class last year and have been coming to church and choir with us lately) joined us for the Christmas Eve service. We were fortunate to be able to sit on the same pew together. We also had other good friends, the Butlers and the Stricklins, in front of and behind us. It is very unusual to be able to sit so closely with so many dear friends - God was at work during our last Christmas in Houston!

As the choir processed in, we noticed that McIver was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, he opted out and chose to sit along the altar rail facing the steps. Here he is most-definitely NOT singing with the Cherub Choir.

Here's a shot of Olivia on the steps with other shepherds and angels.
After the service, we took a few pictures with Shannon & Reagan on the steps. McIver, again, was not interested in having his picture taken.
After a brief stop by our house, we dropped in at the Netherys for a little while. The kids were so excited to see gifts under the tree and play with their puppy, Checkers, for a little while. Blakely, Shannon & Reagan's mom, and I have become really good friends over the last year. I will miss her immensely when we move.
The Butlers invited us over to their parents' house for Christmas Eve. Scott is one of 6 children, all of whom have three children each. As you can imagine, the house was packed. Scott's parents cover the garage floor with astroturf and fill it with kid-friendly activities (nerf guns, playdough, food and drinks, movies and more) so the kids were happy. We were welcomed again with open arms and incredible hospitality. It was nice to be surrounded by family on Christmas Eve, even if they weren't our own.

Chloe Butler and Olivia

Santa, who, according to Chloe, sounds 'a lot like my Papa,' stopped by for a quick visit. McIver was happy to climb up in his lap and remind Santa that he wanted some more tools and some race tracks for his cars. Smart Santa that he was, he looked to me before agreeing to bring McIver what he wanted. (The last time we were there for Christmas Eve, McIver had just turned 3 and asked for a motorcycle. We have a video of the next morning and a sad, sad McIver because he had only received a bike from Santa.)
As is their custom, after everyone ate dinner, the gift exchange/white elephant part of the evening started. Even though we had discussed how it would all work and both kids seemed to understand, McIver ended up in tears. I was able to appease him with my gift - some sort of robot/Transformer-type creature. After we said our good-byes, we made one more stop at the Wight-Meyns' house. We caught the tail end of their Christmas Eve celebration and then headed home.

Olivia tossing our reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter) for Santa's reindeer so they could find our house in the dark and the rain.

McIver insisted that the food needed to be on the front steps because Santa would need to know where the front door is. We have a special, magical key that we hang on the door so that Santa can let himself in since we don't have a fireplace.
Believe it or not, we almost forgot the cookies and milk for Santa. Thank goodness we remembered! And, we also left a few bites of cheese for Santa Mouse. Then we all settled in for a long winter's nap, although I would have liked it to have been about 2 hours longer and twenty degrees colder!

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