This year we celebrated Christmas on our own, just the four of us. Which seems to be the case more often than not on the odd years. We are learning to embrace this scenario, and are thankful to wake up in our own beds on Christmas morning which allows our boys to open their presents at a pace that works for us.
In the days leading up to Christmas we took the boys to visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop (Isaac was clearly not impressed with Santa), and also made a quick trip to Manchester to visit Daniel's Grandmother (the boys great Grandmother). She was tickled to see the kids and visit with us. The boys loved their gifts – a robotic building set for Jack and Lincoln Logs for Isaac.
Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, so we hurried to church to worship with friends. Afterward we had lunch with friends who are really like family. Everyone needs these type of friends in their lives, and we are very grateful for ours.
After lunch, we headed across town to go bowling. This was a new thing for us, but a tradition I can see us continuing in the future (Jack would have loved to play laser tag too, but we ran out of time). Jack has been begging to go bowling since he was around the age of three, and this year felt like the right time to introduce it.
Isaac had us cracking up. He liked rolling his ball down the tower, but became upset when the ball rolled away from him. Jack tried mastering throwing the ball in various ways... he has some more practice to do. Daniel and I haven't bowled since college and I discovered that I was great at throwing strikes and gutter balls.
After bowling we headed to Daniel's dad's house. This was the first time we have ever spent Christmas Eve with him –– in the past we have typically met up for a meal on Christmas Day (typically Hibachi). That changed after he remarried, but we have kept the Hibachi tradition for us.
Anyway, Daniel's dad and his wife had a house full of family and they organized all of the children to perform a Nativity play for the grown ups. It was really sweet, with the little ones stealing the show. Isaac was quite the ham and had us laughing the entire time. Jack took his job of being one of the Magi very seriously.
When the play was over, we had to scoot so that we could do our own traditions at home. We stopped to pick up Papa Johns Pizza on our way, and Daniel dropped his wallet in the parking lot. A good samaritan called to report the loss, and Daniel had to go back and get it. Thank goodness for good people in the world.
We ate our pizza while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. And then the kids opened their Christmas Eve present of pajamas, before settling down to drink hot cocoa and eat popcorn.
Once the kids were in bed, I set about wrapping all of the presents and getting them under the tree. Daniel and I normally would watch a favorite Christmas movie, but we were too tired this year.
The boys slept in until a reasonable time of 7:30am. They were excited to discover their stockings under our little Christmas tree.
The kids were really excited and grateful for all of their gifts. Jack's favorites were a fishing pole and a BB Gun. Isaac really liked his collections of mini construction trucks and a pop gun.
We enjoyed pinwheel sausage biscuits for breakfast and then the kids played and helped Daniel move firewood.
That evening we went for a quick (frozen) walk to Signal Point before heading out for Hibachi.
This year it was just the four of us. Normally we have other family members meet up with us, but that wasn't in the cards this year. We enjoyed watching our kids enjoy the Hibachi experience. It is one of our favorite things each year.
The day after Christmas, Daniel's dad and his wife dropped by for a quick visit. We had missed out on presents with them on Christmas Eve, so the boys enjoyed seeing them and opening a couple more presents.
Before they arrived, Isaac helped me make a batch of Cherry Yum Yum (a Moore family favorite) to share with them. I didn't have enough graham crackers, so I improvised with HoneyNut Cheerios. It wasn't exactly the same, but still delicious.
The weekend after Christmas, we met up with some of my extended Canadian family in Ashland City, TN for an afternoon of visiting (much like we do every two years or so).
Jack remembered visiting here two years ago and that my cousin Andrew had Super Mario Kart. He asked if he could play again, and was thrilled to find out he could!
And it's always a treat to see any of my Canadian family whenever we get the chance.
Afterward to made a stop in Smyrna, TN for dinner at Chick-fil-A with Daniel's mom and one of his sisters. Jack and Isaac were thrilled with the additional, unexpected presents. Especially the Magic Tracks from their Nana – it made their day!
Christmas and time with family is what we make of it. Some years it is big and extravagant, loud and boisterous. Other years it is quieter, more peaceful, and just the four us.
Both ways of celebrating are something to be embraced. We see family when we can and are thankful for time together, no matter what it looks like.