Thankfully, I’d made almost everything for Christmas brunch with my family before I got sick, and my family still braved the germs to join us at our house on Christmas morning. It was lovely, even though I didn’t feel great, and even though Will missed most of the celebration because he was so tired he practically begged for an early nap. And most importantly, the boys had a wonderful Christmas and got lots of things they loved (their favorites gifts: Spiderman pajamas with a web under each arm and the foam swords I found at Five Below). I got some fun gifts too -- new sheets for our bed (400-thread-count, Egyptian cotton, chocolate brown, HEAVEN), some new running clothes, and lots of kitchen gadgets I’ve been wanting and would never have bothered to buy for myself. Also a giant bottle of wine from my husband, who knows me very well.
I guess more than anything, being sick over Christmas just made me take notice of what truly matters: our health, our family, the joy of seeing the holidays through the eyes of innocent children. For all of those things, I am so very grateful.
For the first time this year, the boys decorated their own cookies for Santa. In past years we’ve made chocolate milk cookies, but this year I just couldn’t resist the idea of letting them decorate their own sugar cookies. We did this on Christmas Eve (incidentally, the plague hit me immediately afterwards, when I had them in the bath tub cleaning the icing off of them), and it couldn’t have been more fun. I just adored how intently they decorated the cookies and how excited they were about them once they were finished. They set out a plate of about eight cookies (plus eggnog) for Santa. On Christmas morning, they were thrilled to see that Santa ate most of the cookies (and drank all of his eggnog).
(Andrew's are on the left, Will's are on the right.)
And thus ends the festive Christmas pictures I have to share with you today. But can we talk about the Elf on the Shelf for a minute? This was our first year doing it, and the boys absolutely loved it. They truly, honestly believed that the elf was magical, and they loved seeing what he was doing each morning. I think Elfalfa (which Andrew named our elf, which I could not be more tickled about) did a nice mix of things -- some simple, some a bit more elaborate. None of the positions I put him in took more than five minutes to assemble or disassemble, and none of them made a huge mess. It seemed counterproductive to me to tell the boys that Elfalfa was making sure they were good, and then to have him wreak havoc around the house.
I thought I’d share the photos I took of the elf in his various positions, more for myself than anything so I can avoid repeats next year (and also intentionally repeat the ones the boys particularly enjoyed). This year’s hits were the North Pole breakfast Elfalfa made on the day he arrived (oh geez, I’m talking about him like he’s real) and the cookies that sprouted from the “elf seeds” the boys planted in sugar. I missed one weekend entirely, because that was my cookie baking weekend and the boys were with my mother-in-law most of the time -- and I wasn't about to move that damn elf when they weren't even there. (You can enlarge it to see the pictures better, if you're interested.)
Speaking of cookies...I made a lot of them -- way, way more than we needed. I ended up throwing the rest out on Sunday because no one could bear to eat another one. Next year, I'll be scaling way back (yeah, I say that now). Here's a glimpse of this year's cookie
And I know that I’ve already rambled on enough, but it’s the new year now so I feel like I need to share my resolutions -- or lack thereof, in my case. I didn’t make any specific resolutions this year, other than that I just want to have a wonderful year. So, I guess I want to resolve to do everything to fulfill my definition of a wonderful year: be more patient and less plugged in, challenge myself in the kitchen, spend less and save more and finally pay things off, keep at the whole running thing, record more of my life here, spend consistent quality time with Joe, be the best mother I can possibly be and forgive myself when I am not. I turn 30 years old in March, and everyone’s always saying that your 30s are the best decade. I want my first year of them to be amazing.