Christmas Continued

9 Feb

Let’s see…I left off on Christmas Eve, with us having decided to stay in Richmond till Christmas morning.  A hard decision–but ultimately, we wanted to try to preserve some time for our little family to make Christmas memories before we headed off to spend time with my family in Lynchburg.

We went to an early kid-friendly service at our church, BUT we barely made it on time because of this:  for the first time, probably ever, both of my children had been napping for a good 2 1/2 hours  (at the same time, people!) when it came time to leave for church.  I had been so darn shocked by all the free time that I even managed to paint my nails!  And Philip and I literally sat around wondering when these crazy children were going to wake up.  It sort of saddens me to tell you that we actually woke them up so we could get to the service before it was over–it was Christmas Eve after all.  So, we will never know how long both children would have continued to nap at the same time…alas.

Here are my offspring at church displaying their affinity for straying from the pack, if you will.

{please note my sweet, disheveled daughter’s missing shoe, a very typical display for her, I might add.}

Does Wade not look like he stepped right out of a Charles Dickens novel?

Once we returned home, Wade and I got to work finishing up the birthday cake we’d been preparing for Jesus.  I am hoping this may become a new family tradition for us each year. And can I just tell you how much it warmed my heart to see how much Wade enjoyed baking together?  He truly loved it!  The measuring, the pouring, the mixing, and even the tasting!

You may be wondering how in the world we managed to make a cake that little Wade could eat.  This is a fair question.  Unfortunately, our cake was anything but tasty (though I do have an excellent recipe for cupcakes that Wade can eat), but in some ways, I feel like that fact is just so fitting.  It seems to me that our dense, not-so-appetizing cake with overly sugary artificial frosting is not such a bad metaphor for how we relate to Jesus after all.  If it’s true that even our best efforts are but filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) then I just love how our little cooking endeavor reminds me that the things we bring to God that we think may please him might as well be as yucky as that cake we made was.  Because He is already fully pleased with us in Christ, we can bring nothing else to the table to improve our standing.  And while Jesus himself was not around to tell us he loved our cake all the same, I feel certain that he did, and that he was delighted by our heart’s desire to celebrate Him.  Can I get an Amen?  🙂

It does my heart some kinda good to see my boy get to eat treats he thinks are really yummy and special.  {On a side note, did you realize that store-bought frosting–the kind you purchase next to the boxed cake mixes–does not contain any dairy?  While I consider it rather troubling that this is the case, especially for something like buttercream frosting, it comes in handy for us, I must say!}

Another treasured Christmas activity was opening a “door” each night, as Wade called it.  I got this Advent-y thing from a White Elephant gift exchange years ago, and I sure am glad I hung onto it because Wade adored it!  Each day the highlight of  the day (really!) was getting to open his door.  Such delight, I tell you.  Even if he only found a cookie or piece of candy he’d already seen from around the house, he was just thrilled to find out what was behind each door.  So very sweet.

After the kids went to bed, Santa and Mrs. Claus got busy wrapping the gifts and setting them up.  I grew up with very few presents wrapped (I thought it was so fun to walk in the room and see everything right away!), whereas Philip grew up with all of his presents wrapped.  So, we met in the middle like any good marriage does 🙂 , and we wrapped some and left one for each child unwrapped.

Holland and Wade each received three gifts (you know, just like Jesus received when he was a baby from the wise men).  Inspired by parents I consider far wiser than myself, we decided to try to intentionally keep the gifts from feeling overwhelming.  It struck us that our children are so young–and have such simple (and beautiful!) expectations, why rush into giving them reason to expect more?  It’s hard enough as it is to focus on the gift of Jesus coming to earth as a human!  I have to admit there was a part of me that was inclined to think that if we give them more, they’ll have a better/happier/more perfect Christmas, but the reality is, this is just not true.  I know it’s true because I know it myself–I think I will be happier when I get more things, but I never am.  Anyway, we certainly don’t presume to be doing things perfectly; this was just something we tried. (post edit:  I guess  Wade technically got four gifts, since he received two books.)

After everything had been tended to and I headed up to bed, I remember looking out at our living room softly aglow with the evening light, with the stockings hung and gifts displayed, and thinking to myself, “this is the last year we’ll celebrate Christmas in this house!” Clearly, I’m gonna be a wreck come summer…

I totally forgot to take a picture of the food we left out for Santa and the reindeer (one of my favorite parts growing up!) on Christmas Eve, so I snapped one first thing Christmas morning.

Santa must have been hungry! (Wade’s great-grandparents gave him this little wagon for his first Christmas.  It was the perfect spot for the goodies!)

Santa also gave the kids a play kitchen (we have actually since returned it because we weren’t in love with it and neither child has so much as asked about it…maybe we were a little off in predicting they’d like it?  We wish we could afford this one.)

They were excited to open their gifts though for sure!

A puzzle!

pots and pans! (her little hand on that lid makes me melt!!)

A Mater sticker book!  (you may recall this was basically the only thing Wade asked for!)

Next up is Christmas with my family, but for now, I am off–baby girl is up from her nap (I’m convinced she’s programmed to wake up after an hour and a half every single day, I can pretty much set my watch to it!)


4 Responses to “Christmas Continued”

  1. Lucy February 9, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Anne! I’m telling anyone who I think would understand and appreciate it about this book that outlines exactly what you said above – that less is more. It’s terrific and it came highly recommended to me, too. Anywho, if you’re looking for something to read in your spare time (ha!), below is the link:

    Adorable pictures of your adorable children! I hope to see you again before your big move : )

  2. Kristie February 10, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Does Wade have issues with flour too, or just dairy? I can’t remember. Anyways, if it’s just the dairy you should try crazy cake ( No milk, butter, or eggs, and soooo delicious. I started using this recipe because I have a good friend who is vegan, but it is so good and so easy I almost never make another kind of cake. I use half the sugar called for and will often just pour a little coconut cream on top instead of frosting. It works just as well as cake or cupcakes.

  3. Kimberly February 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Wow….I love the simplicity and wholeness in giving 3 gifts. What a wonderful idea! And your babies look delighted with their Christmas treasures! They are so cute all dressed up for church. Just precious!

  4. Mary February 10, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Anne! Loved this post – especially that play kitchen from the RVA Etsy seller. Adorable. Teller also found a play kitchen for little Virgina this Christmas. I’m going to forward this post to her as I know it will make her day.

    Looking forward to seeing Christmas in Lynchburg.
    xoxoo Mary

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