Thursday, December 24, 2009

a perfect Christmas Eve

There. I've said it. But it really has been a perfect Christmas Eve.

This morning the kids delivered our neighbor gifts. (I made toffee yesterday and it is a new family favorite.)

Then they opened and unloaded the packages that arrived from my mom yesterday. I can't think of anything more exciting to my children than the arrival of my mom's packages, and who can blame them? Our tree is now overflowing.

One package with my name on it said, "OPEN NOW!!" The kids, of course, found this hugely exciting. It contained six miniature wreaths to hang on the back of my dining room chairs (something I have been pining after for about two years). Thanks, Mom!

Eva begged me to get my camera and take a picture of her with Jack. I don't often get photo requests, so I couldn't ignore that.

I spent the rest of the morning baking bread and doing a little last-minute wrapping. Then we headed to Salt Lake to go to Marc's sister Michelle's house.

{detail from Michelle's tree}

Michelle's family has a tradition of eating an Italian feast on Christmas Eve. Not only was it delicious, but the reds and greens were very festive, as well. She made lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, tortellini with chicken and vegetables, and plain spaghetti for my picky Lucas and Eva. Bob & Mim brought a beautiful salad.

Nicole made this delicious appetizer, I kept going back for more!

I made two loaves of the Rosemary Artisan Bread (minus the rosemary), and I must say, they turned out exceptionally well. It's fun to have a showstopper recipe, and particularly gratifying when said recipe is so easy! If you haven't made this yet, do not delay!

Michelle has 12 place settings of her husband's grandmother's china. Isn't it pretty? What a wonderful heirloom!

After our (early) dinner, Marc gave Michelle a little Photoshop tutorial.

Grandma got down on the floor and played with Eva, Eva's very favorite thing in the world.

Lucas and Kristen went outside to sled down the slide. I never would have thought of that!

The rest of us were sitting around chatting. Nicole was texting a boy she likes, while wearing possibly the cutest shirt in the world that she bought while visiting us in Paris. Even though this picture is blurry, I think it captures her so well!

After we had waited sufficiently long to be able to eat again, Michelle served her Italian Cream Cake. (I will post the recipe soon, I forgot it at her house...) It has pecans and coconut, two of my very favorite things. It is reeeealllly good, and check out that covetous cake plate!!

Michelle and Nicole played us two duets they performed at a recent recital. There's not much I love more than family duets. Kristen played her harp as well.

We played some games, with even Eva getting in on the action.

Finally, I said that we had to go home so I could finish up my last Christmas preparations. We drove home in the dark, looking at all the lights and listening to Christmas CDs.

Marc read the story of the first Christmas from Luke 2, and then we gave our traditional gifts to the Savior. I really did not fare so well with the gift I planned to give Him last year, so I had to repeat. I'm hoping the shame of that will give me the boost I need to put it into action.

Then the kids opened their one gift on Christmas Eve. Lucas chose one of the gifts Landon gave him (a Bionicle), and he had it assembled before I could blink. Eva chose the gift Whitney gave her (a Littlest Pet Shop fish) and was totally thrilled. Max chose his gift from Lucas ($15 towards a new ipod) and was, I think, happy and touched.

I put Eva to bed -- she was almost too tired for stories, but then couldn't go to sleep until after 10:00 because she was so excited.

Marc and the boys went down to watch a show on Marc's new giant TV.

I made overnight cinnamon rolls and overnight regular rolls.

Now everyone is asleep and I am getting ready to assemble the stockings! I think the stockings are my favorite part of Christmas day. And I love the quiet anticipation of this night, with everyone tucked in their beds and all in preparation.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


Jill said...

Wow, that really was a perfect Christmas Eve and such a beautiful one as well (complete with a new blog banner even)!

Michelle must have been cooking forever to provide so much food for all of you, everything looks so good!

I love the shot of the hands on the piano!

Your tree/living room is always overflowing with gifts, it's rather amazing. Opening a box from your mom anytime is like Christmas morning!

Natasha said...

Tell your SIL I would kill for that China! How special to have that.

Looks like a perfect Dec 24 indeed.

We went to Mass at 4 (arrived at 2:45 to get good seats!)and the kids each opened 2 gifts.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Your step by step details make it such a magical moment for anyone that reads. Thank you Michelle and a very merry Christmas.

Michelle said...

I agree...perfect Christmas eve! I am so happy you came...and the cooking was fun and easy.

I will email you the cake recipe later today.

I love having you back in Utah!!!!!

{natalie} said...

1. i love the china. i have my grandmom's too and i love having it.

2. those wreaths from your mom are awesome

3. did marc tell you i helped him with his return at costco. i said, "this is weird but i read michelle's blog. (not weird that i read, but weird i was telling him)"

4. i think i have read your blog for over a year. though i have just recently started commenting.

merry christmas

ps these comments are for this post and your christmas.

rebekah said...

Man, I really wish I was your neighbor.

I love wreaths! Wreaths of all sorts and colors and make. I'm adding chair wreaths to my, 'One day...' file.

Wow, Jack if huge! I don't think I ever realized what a big dog he is!

Michelle's Christmas Eve dinner is definitely a tradition that I can get behind. Wow.

I love show stopper recipes, and easy ones to boot! I think any successful bread baking is impressive, though.

I love the look of rising dough. The closeup shot of all the little air pockets forming is delicious.

Claudissima said...

wow we always celebrate on christmas eve and yours looks truly amazing and awesome. i love love love love love it. ALL OF IT. and one wish if I could have, would be to start the rolls with you at 10:00 PM for christmas eve...that would be amazing and fun to bake with you. What joy is too me to be in the kitchen. LOVE LOVE THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND ALLL THE PRESENTS...........i think I am taking down my tree on sunday early early morning probably at 4am so I CAN HAVE IT LIT UP WHILE I TAKE THE ORNAMENTS OFF....10 OF JANUARY PRETTY GOOD TIME, although the missionaries are comming for dinnner maybe on Monday early early morning would be best...........we had to wait till after REYES.....on the 6th....

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