Hello and good morning; it’s Wednesday, December 28 in case you’re also in the in-between fog that happens before new year. 🙂 I feel like people fall into one of two camps- one, this week is an extended holiday to rest and relax. Or two, this week is a great time when you can knock a bunch of stuff out because nothing is expected of you in the real world. I fall into the second camp, so I’m working on packing up Christmas, organizing and cleaning the house. But first, let me back up a bit and share some of our highlights from Christmas!
It was a peaceful Christmas for our crew. With all the germs flying around, I felt like we really lucked out that we were all well and able to be together! We kicked things off on the 22nd, getting to spend some time with David’s parents in the morning, which was a real treat!
They came up for a quick Christmas visit and to pick up David’s old car to surprise my 16 year old niece with for Christmas. I wish I could have seen her face! It was a great little visit, but just not long enough. Once Mema and Grandpa headed out we switched the finalizing the details for the rest of the crew to arrive.
I discovered this year that the kids can sincerely HELP with prep and I think it’s going to be life changing. Hailey and Kaitlyn set up the kids’ sleeping quarters, from inflating the mattress to putting sheets on the bed, allowing me to focus on setting up snacks and other details.
There was some traffic on the roads (obviously, as the nation all braced for a bitter cold snap), but everyone made it safely by late afternoon. The four girls wasted no time running off together in a fit of giggles, while the adults kicked things off in true Stathas fashion, Kris being our family’s martini maker.
On the 23rd we had debated going ice skating or snow tubing at the Knights baseball stadium in Charlotte. But we woke up to frigid weather and some wicked wind gusts, and concluded a day around the house sounded like a better plan.
We didn’t lack for entertainment! The kids found the whipping winds to be an exciting novelty, bundling up and playing outside for a lengthy period of time. I tried my hand at sourdough bagel making (spoiler alert, they were great!). We filled the day decorating cookies, playing spades, playing Catan, watching Christmas vacation, and enjoying each other’s company.
We woke up on Christmas eve to boil and bake bagels and found Star and Rudolph (the elves) celebrating their last day with us with a spaghetti, syrup, and pop tart party. Messy little buggers!
We went to a 2:30 church service that was able to be a candlelight service and it was beautiful. Something about singing Silent Night while watching the candle flame flicker across my kids’ faces really drives home the meaning of Christmas to me.
Once home, we were all changed into pajamas within 15 minutes and settled into the evening. Per tradition, the men made gumbo (though most credit will go to Kris, as with the winter storm that rolled through, David was quite busy helping our rental guests with weather-related issues). We kicked off our spades tournament, ate snacks, and geeked out when Santa gave the kids a call from the sleigh in the evening! The kids scattered the reindeer food and some carrots in the yard, then tucked in for the night.
Christmas morning was so peaceful. We made an agreement that the kids aren’t allowed out until 7:55, though mom could hear them shouting “let us out of here” way before then. So we made coffee, popped the casseroles in the oven, and let the kids loose. Shrieks of Merry Christmas and exclamations over seeing what Santa brought lit up the living room as we all settled into a morning of present opening.
We go one at a time, so it lasts quite a while, including a pause for some sustenance. There were a lot of wonderful gifts, but the highlights that really stick out to me were with the kids. Hailey sewed me a sincere Christmas quilt and when I asked how she knew how to do it, she said she just guessed! I will cherish it forever.
And Kaitlyn had saved her money to buy Hailey a $35 trash can that she thought she’d like for her room. I struggled with how to parent that one (do I let her spend that much on a trash can?), but ultimately me staying out of it was the right choice; Hailey was very appreciative and Kaitlyn was so proud to have given a real gift all on her own.
The afternoon filled itself with a lot of cooking from the adults, and a lot of playing with the new treasures with the kids. We played more spades and feasted on a delicious tenderloin. It was all wonderfully relaxed.
We got to savor one more day together. We took a long walk, which felt great after I had pulled my back somehow on the 22nd and spent a lot of Christmas leaning against a heating pad, trying to make it stop spasming. We played more games, participated in Nana’s boxing day white elephant game (always a hit with the kids), and ate the fridge. Dips and snacks galore, with soup and chili from the freezer to boot. More on the food in tomorrow’s post.
I hope if you celebrate that your Christmas filled with love, laughter, meaning, and good food. I hope you are enjoying this week of the in-between in the way that best fits you! David had to drive to Tennessee yesterday to help with the rentals (Gatlinburg has been chaos over the past few days, but fortunately it’s all worked out for our guests just fine). So I’m off to take Finley for her sniffari then baby my back and gently bring down the storage boxes and start packing away all the décor I have piled on my dining room table.
Time to transition my focus to a new year, but I’m glad I got to spend this morning reflecting on the time we got to spend together as a family, something I never ever take for granted. Thank you for stopping by! <3